Conceptually, there are several ways to work up a prenuptial agreement. The most widely used formats are as follows:

  1. The parties simply identify separate property assets they own before marriage and adopt the state marital laws which are often community property. As stated in paragraph 3 above, the community can acquire an interest in the asset because of comingling community property money with the asset.
  2. Everything stays separate after marriage. Normally after marriage earnings and efforts are community property. Under this concept, no community property is ever created.
  3. Everything stays separate after marriage except accounts or asset purchases that are designated community property. Under this concept, a joint account for living expenses would be set up to pay for communal living expenses. A house could be bought a community property asset under the title as joint tenants
  4. Everything follows the community property laws after marriage, but certain assets stay separate and do not accrue a community property component. For example, spouse X wants a house owned before marriage, to stay her separate property even if community property money and effort is expended on the house after marriage. The pre-nuptial agreement would read that money paid from the community property joint account to pay the house’s mortgage or upkeep or improvements are “transmuted” into spouse X’s separate property. The same idea could apply to a pension started before marriage.