Many single people in California will no longer be single by year’s end. That’s because thousands of couples will “tie the knot” and get married; however, not every set of spouses will sign a prenuptial agreement ahead of time. There are benefits, as well as potential downsides, to entering a prenuptial contract. It is critical that a person considering signing a prenup should weigh both sides to determine if it is a good idea in his or her particular situation.

For business owners, for instance, protecting their companies’ interests is typically a high priority. Signing a prenuptial agreement before marriage is often the best way to retain separate ownership of a business. This way, if a marriage ends in divorce, business assets will not be subject to division during proceedings.

Other issues can also be covered in a prenup, not only those pertaining to finances. Decision-making authority or assignment of liability for debt are two other topics that many couples incorporate into their pre-marriage contracts. A potential downside to signing this type of contract is that it often limits the amount of spousal support available in a divorce, which could definitely have negative consequences for someone who is unable to independently sustain a financially stable lifestyle apart from the marriage.

The portion of a deceased spouse’s estate to which the surviving spouse may be entitled can also be limited by a prenuptial agreement. This is why it pays to seek legal guidance before signing a pre-marital contract. An experienced California family law attorney can help determine whether it serves a particular client’s best interests to do so.