Individuals in California and throughout the country may choose to sign cohabitation agreements or prenuptial agreements. Cohabitation agreements are typically designed to define the rights and responsibilities of unmarried couples who live together. Prenuptial agreements are crafted and signed by individuals who are seeking to get married in the near future. Prenuptial agreements often cover topics such as spousal support and property division, and they are generally seen as a tool to override the standard marriage contract.
Ideally, couples will talk about what they want or need out of such an agreement before they decide to live together or get married. This can ensure that one person doesn't feel pressured to accept terms that they may resent or regret in the future. It can also help to improve the level of a communication in a relationship, which makes it more likely that the relationship will last.
It is important to note that the terms of a contract can change over time. For instance, the terms of a cohabitation agreement may change if a couple decides to get married. This may allow a spouse to share ownership in a home that he or she lived in prior to a marriage taking place. Contracts can also have clauses that allow them to expire after a certain amount of time has passed.
An individual may be able to insist that spousal support or other terms be included in a divorce settlement. An attorney may help craft an argument based on state law to maximize the chances that a person gets what he or she wants or needs. If a couple created a prenuptial agreement, an attorney may review it to ensure that it's valid. If it's not, a new settlement may need to be reached.