Premarital Agreements: Solving the Planning Issues Without the “D” Word

When a couple is planning to marry, either or both may be urged by friends, family and/or a financial advisor to consult an attorney to prepare a Premarital Agreement (also known as a Prenuptial Agreement). Many hopeful brides and grooms immediately reject the idea of a Premarital Agreement. The couple recoil from even thinking about potential problems during their marriage. Yet addressing their shared plans could be practical and strengthen their commitment.

What is a Premarital Agreement?

A Premarital Agreement is “an agreement between prospective spouses made in contemplation of marriage and to be effective upon marriage.” Family Code section 1610. Normally, the contract deals with straightforward financial and legal issues in the event of a divorce or a death — what will be done with the house, investments, retirement accounts, spousal support and/or other assets.

The Benefits of a Premarital Agreement

Getting married can affect your ownership of property, and more specifically, your business if you are a business owner. One way to protect an estate in the event of a divorce is to specify in a Premarital Agreement each party’s property ownership and clarify their respective property rights should the marriage end. A Premarital Agreement can reduce the conflict that is normally associated with divorce, avoid court intervention regarding questions of property division and also serve as an effective estate planning tool.

How to Bring Up the Premarital Agreement Conversation

It’s easy to put off important elements of wedding planning that are less fun. I’ll admit I’d much rather go to a cake tasting than talk to my future husband about money in the event that we decide to go our separate ways, and I’m a divorce attorney!

So here’s how to bring up the topic, WITHOUT using the words, “By the way, when we divorce I’m keeping the house, handsome.”

  • Timing

It’s all about the timing. Do a little planning and set the scene when you both will be in a positive frame of mind. It probably isn’t the best idea to bring it up when you are both tired after a long day of work or after a heated argument.

  • Be Straightforward

Show your fiancee that you’re behaving in a clear-headed manner about this potentially awkward topic. They’ll respect you all the more for it.

  • Take the Pressure Off

Sometimes it is easier to blame someone else and take the heat off of yourself. Suggesting that an attorney recommended a Premarital Agreement may help ease the tension.

  • Reassure Your Fiancee

Let them know that your intention is to protect his or her financial independence, as well as your own financial independence.

  • Keep Your Cool

Do not get angry. Your fiancee may not want to hear you but it is important to remain calm. He/she may feel hurt and insulted you “could even think of a divorce.” Your fiancee will eventually calm down.

  • Try Again

Do not give up if the first conversation did not go well. It is important that your wishes are respected in your relationship too. Allow your fiancee to cool-off and reevaluate your points to discuss at a later date.

If you have significant assets, a Premarital Agreement is a smart choice before entering into marriage. Contact Diacos Law today. We can help draft a plan that is compliant with the California Uniform Premarital Agreement Act.

Carolyn Diacos Qualified to Act as Minor’s Counsel

Carolyn Diacos understands how difficult divorce can be for every family member, especially children. Ending a marriage is hardly ever an easy process. When issues such as child support or child custody come into question, it is not uncommon for children to be thrust in the middle of an argument between parents. This can emotionally traumatize a child. Because of these reasons and many others, Carolyn Diacos decided to meet specific educational requirements in order to act as minor’s counsel in child custody and visitation litigation over the weekend.

What Is Minor’s Counsel?

Minor’s counsel is an attorney who acts as a neutral voice on behalf of a child or children. Children under the age of 14 are frequently not given a voice in court, but their best interests and well-being are explored by minor’s counsel. When a minor is received counsel, that attorney is only able to represent the child and is charged with representation of the child’s best interests.

Minor’s counsel must gather evidence that bears on the best interest of the child and present the evidence to the court. If the child desires, minor’s counsel should present the child’s wishes to the court. However, it is up to the judge to follow the child’s requests or not. An attorney designated to be minor’s counsel can be appointed by the Court or upon Stipulation.

When Minor’s Counsel May Be Necessary

Minor’s counsel is not necessary in every custody or visitation dispute. The Court may appoint minor’s counsel when children are negatively impacted by emotional or physical neglect, high-tension, depression or factors made worse by the parents’ breakup. The Court may appoint minor’s counsel when one parent is alienating the child from the other parent. The appointment of minor’s counsel may also be helpful when one parent is supportive of the child’s needs while the other parent has ideas about the child’s needs that are not in the child’s best interest.

Special Rights of Minor’s Counsel

Once appointed, minor’s counsel has special rights and responsibilities that are set forth in the California Family Code and California Rules of Court. Some of the rights of minor’s counsel are the following:

  • Reasonable access to the child;
  • Standing to seek affirmative relief on behalf of the child;
  • Access to the child’s medical, dental, mental health and other health care records as well as school and educational records;
  • The right to interview school personnel, caretakers, health care providers, mental health professionals and others who have assessed the child or provided care to the child;
  • Notice of any proceeding, and all phases of that proceeding, including a request for examination affecting the child; and
  • The right to assert or waive any privilege on behalf of the child.

Minor’s counsel is usually expected to prepare a written report for the Court setting forth the various issues, contentions of the parties, the child’s wishes and the result of the larger investigation into what counsel believes is in the best interest of the child.

If you have further questions regarding child custody or the appointment of minor’s counsel, please contact Diacos Law, at (805) 535-4227.


Trails for the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation

Carolyn Diacos is training for the trail marathon, “Red Rock,” in an effort to raise money for the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation. The 26.2 mile trail run occurs on November 25, 2017.

The mission of the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation is to strengthen disaster response in America by recruiting rescued dogs and partnering them with firefighters and other first responders to find buried people alive in the wreckage of disasters. The foundation recruits dogs from across the country that are rescued from abuse or abandonment. After passing stringent screening and testing criteria, the dogs are trained to harness their energy into life-saving skills.

Carolyn decided to raise money for the foundation after one of the most devastating storms occurred in our country’s recorded history, Hurricane Irma. A total of 16 Search Dog Foundation-trained Canine Disaster Teams deployed for Hurricane Irma, including five teams that were deactivated days prior from the Hurricane Harvey incident.

The National Disaster Search Dog Foundation is a non-profit, non-governmental organization based in Santa Paula, California. You can read more about the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation at