Tag Archives: marriage

Premarital agreements need time

Celebrities are always getting engaged in the news. The latest “are they or aren’t they” is buzzing about Hollywood It Girl Jennifer Lawrence.

Once celebrities, like Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, are engaged, their legal teams clamor to draw up a premarital agreement to protect their wealthy clients’ assets.

But people don’t always have to be rich to have premarital agreements. Sometimes agreements are drafted to protect legacies or family inheritances.  Sometimes agreements are drafted to ensure present or future businesses don’t become family issues down the road.

California has several requirements for premarital agreements. One of these requirements is the premarital agreement must have been presented to the other party at least seven calendar days before the agreement was signed.  The other party also must have been advised to seek independent legal counsel when presented with the agreement.

One of the most famous cases that discussed the importance of giving the other party enough to time to contemplate and seek independent legal advice regarding a premarital agreement is In re Marriage of Bonds (2000) 5 P.3d 815, 99 Cal.Rptr.2d 252. The Bonds case involved professional baseball player Barry Bonds and his now former wife, Susann “Sun” Margreth Bonds. The day before Barry and Sun married in Las Vegas, she was asked to sign a premarital agreement. In the end, the agreement was upheld by the California Supreme Court, but the case placed every family law attorney on notice that parties needed enough time to review the agreement and seek legal counsel to help avoid an argument that the agreement was not voluntarily entered into.

So if you live in California and want to draft a premarital agreement, make sure you give yourself and your intended enough time before the wedding to properly execute the agreement. It could be the difference between a simple parting of the ways and drawn-out costly litigation.

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Love’s sometimes not enough

Anyone who was around in the ‘70s, or even a child in the early ‘80s, has heard of the song “Love Will Keep Us Together” by Captain and Tennille.

A buoyant song that exalted love and all of its trimmings, the anthem no longer applies to its performers, Cathryn Antoinette Tennille and Daryl Dragon, a.k.a. “The Captain.” After 38 years of marriage, Tennille filed for divorce in an Arizona court in January.

Arizona, like California, is a community property state. Community property is generally any property acquired during marriage, except for gifts or inheritances.

According to an Associated Press article, the divorce petition asks for any community property, debts and obligations to be equitably divided.

For many couples like The Captain & Tennille, who would be considered to have had a long-term marriage in California since they were married for more than ten years, an equitable division of their community property may be simpler than a more complex fight over assets, debts and obligations accumulated over the tenure of their marriage.

The good thing is it doesn’t always have to be a split down the middle. For instance, if the parties have one asset that is worth $250,000, such as a home in Phoenix, and they also have a luxury vehicle roughly worth the same amount, one party may take the home and the other party may assume the car, saving either from selling the asset and dividing the resulting proceeds. In order to accomplish the rather daunting task of taking inventory of the couple’s life together, it helps to have family law attorneys who help diffuse what could be an emotionally charged process.

While it is still too early to tell whether the marriage’s dissolution will truly be amicable – you never know how one party decides to respond once served with a petition for divorce – one can hope that, as the couple’s website promises, while love may no longer be keeping The Captain & Tennille together, they will always have their music.

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