The Benefit of Pre-Nuptial & Post-Nuptial Agreements

A pre-nuptial agreement (also known as a "premarital agreement" or a "prenup") is an agreement regarding the property rights of married couples. Even though marriage is a romantic, love-based relationship, it is also a legal relationship. It is important for each spouse to identify their interests and goals. Documenting those interests can bring comfort to both individuals in a marriage.

In California, a valid pre-nuptial agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties. There are many factors when considering whether or not to create an agreement. A prenup can protect the inheritance rights of children and grandchildren from a previous marriage. The agreement can also cover details of decision-making and responsibility sharing throughout the marriage.

More commonly, if one spouse has significantly more debt than the other, a prenup can protect the debt-free spouse from assuming the debt obligation of the other. ‘Getting on the same page’ is important, and a prenup can help couples chart a course. Prenups are not meant to be created out of fear and mistrust. However, even though no one plans it, divorce happens. In fact, nearly one million couples divorce each year in the United States.

If you plan to give up a career for your marriage, a prenup can ensure that you will be compensated for that sacrifice if the marriage does not last. Same goes if you own your own business. An agreement can protect the business so it is not divided during a divorce.

Typically, there are several conditions to create an agreement:

  • Financial information: Each spouse must complete a financial information document and provide it to their spouse.
  • Time to review: Each spouse has at least seven days to review the agreement before signing it.
  • Separate attorney representation: Unless one spouse has signed an affidavit waiving their right to separate representation, each spouse should have their own attorney.

  • While prenups can cover many aspect of your marriages, they cannot cover child custody or child support issues.

    While prenups are for couples planning to get married, post-nuptial agreements (postnups) can be used for couples who are already married. Marriage is a relationship that imposes the highest degree of good faith and fair dealing on the couple. According to California law, marriage is a fiduciary relationship. Like the prenup, the postnup can be used to sort out interests and marital goals.

    They also allow couples to sit down and decide on a fair division of assets while there isn’t any conflict. If the marriage ends, then many complicated decisions are already made.

    Prenups and postnups can be complicated and sensitive. They require an attorney who will understand your needs. We are experienced marriage attorneys and can help you through your marriage journey.