Prenuptial agreements in California often have a bad reputation and are frequently misunderstood. They can be important tools to use to protect yourself and your assets going into a marriage. What's more: they offer transparency, and that's a good place to start a marriage.
At Compass Legal Group, APC, our family law attorney in Los Angeles, Ventura, and Santa Barbara Counties can help you understand if a prenuptial agreement is right for you. Contact us online or at (805) 852-5141 to schedule a Free 30-minute Consultation and learn more.
Prenuptial Agreements in California
When two people are about to head down the aisle, they sometimes enter into a prenuptial agreement first. A prenuptial agreement is a before-marriage contract that outlines what will happen to the property they own should the marriage fail.
Prenuptial agreements in most states can be used to address many different issues, including:
- What property should be considered marital, and what should be considered separate? Instead of having a judge decide this matter pursuant to the laws of your state, you can decide beforehand.
- Protections for certain property. For example, if the engagement ring is a family heirloom on the spouse's side, the parties may agree that the ring goes back to the husband in the event of divorce.
- You may agree that should one or both spouses want a divorce, the parties are required to go through mediation or arbitration.
Prenuptial agreements in most states cannot be used to address certain issues, including:
- Custody and child support issues cannot be addressed in prenuptial agreements. The court will determine what is in the child's best interest, not the parents.
- Courts do not like provisions that address personal rather than financial issues. For example, a prenuptial agreement should not contain a provision stating where the parties will spend their Christmases.
- A prenuptial agreement should not be used to address anything that is illegal. For example, if the family earns money through the sale of illegal drugs, who gets that business in case of divorce is not allowed to be addressed.
To be sure your prenuptial agreement is enforceable, it is best to make the terms as fair as possible to both parties.
Who Should Have a Prenuptial Agreement in California?
While many people can benefit from the use of a prenuptial agreement, it is especially beneficial for people in the following situations:
- If you own a business, looking into a prenuptial agreement is a good idea. This helps protect the business in case of divorce.
- If you own significant assets, a prenuptial agreement is a good idea to protect them.
- If you have children from a previous marriage, a prenuptial agreement can protect those children's inheritance.
Contrary to popular opinion, prenuptial agreements aren't just for the wealthy. They can provide needed protection to people from all walks of life.
Do You Need a Family Law Attorney in Los Angeles, Ventura, and Santa Barbara Counties for a Prenuptial Agreement?
While you may be tempted to draft your own prenuptial agreement before getting married, it is a good idea to speak with an attorney regarding how these contracts work in your state, including what you can and cannot address. Courts tend to look for reasons to find these agreements unenforceable, so the help of an attorney is almost necessary to ensure your prenuptial agreement is upheld in case of divorce.
Postnuptial agreements in California are not as widely known or used as prenuptial agreements. Still, they are just as important regarding the protection they offer and just as damaging when not entered into fairly.
At Compass Legal Group, APC, our postnuptial attorney in Los Angeles, Ventura, and Santa Barbara Counties handles these contracts. We know what red flags are, what language to use, and how to ensure our client's interests are considered and their rights are upheld. Contact us today at (805) 852-5141 to schedule a Free 30-minute Consultation and to learn more about how a postnuptial agreement may or may not benefit you and your marriage.
Postnuptial Agreements in California
A postnuptial agreement is a contract between two married people addressing what will happen to their property in the event of a divorce. Postnuptial agreements are very similar to prenuptial agreements, with the major difference being that they are entered into after the parties are married.
Some of the matters that may be addressed in postnuptial agreements are:
- The division of debts should the parties divorce
- How property, or assets, will be divided in case of divorce
- If/how monetary support will be provided in case of divorce
As long as the provisions comply with your state's laws, most marital issues may be addressed.
Do Postnups Hold Up in Court?
When contracts are entered into, it is typically because two parties are bargaining over something, such as a piece of land. If one party does not agree to the terms, they have the ability to walk away from the agreement. With postnuptial agreements, the parties are already married, so there really is no bargaining power. Because of this, courts tend to look down on postnuptial agreements. However, if the agreement is fair in its terms, abides by local laws, and both spouses entered into it voluntarily, the court will usually uphold a postnuptial agreement.
Who Needs a Postnuptial Agreement in California?
A postnuptial agreement is recommended for many situations, but it is especially important in the following scenarios.
Business Owners. If you own a business and want to protect its earnings, even those that have occurred during the time of the marriage, a postnuptial agreement can help.
Fear of Financial Talks. If you and your spouse were worried about discussing finances prior to your wedding day, but now that you are married, you see how a mutual agreement could be beneficial, a postnuptial agreement may be the route for you.
Inheritance. If you or your spouse has received an inheritance that you don't want to be considered a joint asset, a postnuptial agreement can help keep it separate in case of divorce. Also, if you begin to see that there may be inheritance disputes between the children you each had in previous relationships, a postnuptial agreement can prevent that from happening.
Do You Need a Family Law Lawyer in California for a Postnup?
In short, yes, you should have an attorney to represent you in a postnuptial agreement for several reasons:
- To be sure you are treated fairly in the agreement
- To have the agreement upheld, a court is much more likely to say it is a valid contract if both parties were represented by counsel when they entered into it
- To be sure the terms of the agreement are something the laws in your state allow
Remember, when you hire an attorney, their job is to look out for your best interests.
Contact a Prenuptial & Postnuptial Agreements Lawyer in Los Angeles, Ventura, and Santa Barbara Counties Today
Protecting your assets and family are important. Make sure your prenuptial agreement in California is designed to do just that, but in a way, it complies with the law. At Compass Legal Group, APC, our family law lawyer will review, draft, and negotiate a prenuptial agreement on your behalf, ensuring that your interests and rights are heard and upheld.
Postnuptial agreements in California do not have to be something to fear but can help you and your partner prepare for the future for whatever may come. It's about being proactive with the caveat that the agreement is fair and mutually agreeable.