The Ins and Outs of Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements in California
Marriage is a big commitment, but it can come with its challenges. With the help of a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, couples can protect their assets and define their expectations in the event of a divorce. In California, these agreements are legal and binding. However, certain requirements must be met for them to be considered enforceable. Whether you are already married or planning to tie the knot, here are a few things to know about prenuptial and postnuptial agreements in California.
The Basics of Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements
A prenuptial agreement is a contract between two people who plan to marry. This document is signed before the marriage, specifying the ownership of certain assets and designating the responsibilities of each individual if there is a divorce.
A postnuptial agreement is also a contract between the couple but with one difference. The couple will sign the document after they have already been married. Once again, this agreement protects certain assets and defines certain parameters throughout the divorce.
What Should You Include in a Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreement?
Generally, these agreements will cover various provisions, depending on the couple’s circumstances and personal needs. Common provisions include:
- Division of assets and property
- Business ownership and control
- Alimony or spousal support
- Debt allocation
- Retirement benefits
Some elements, such as child support and custody, are not defined in the prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. The courts will handle these issues, with decisions based on the child’s best interests.
Enforcing These Agreements
Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements in California are legally binding. However, there could be times when the courts do not enforce them, especially if they are not documented in a written form or notarized by an official. If you want to implement the agreement, both parties must voluntarily agree to the terms without coercion or being under duress. Additionally, both couples must fully disclose all assets and debts at the time of agreement. Also, the agreement cannot heavily favor one spouse over the other.
A spouse can challenge these agreements in court, but they have the burden of proof proving that the prenuptial or postnuptial did not abide by the above mentioned conditions.
Why Consider a Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreement?
While no one wants to think about a divorce, it can happen to any couple. A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can provide peace of mind during a separation or divorce. Additionally, it can make the process smoother and less stressful for all parties since everyone will know what to expect. All assets and properties brought into the divorce are protected. This agreement also ensures that one spouse does not take on the other person’s debt after a divorce.
Get Assistance With Your Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements in California
A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement is an important tool for couples to protect their assets and specify their expectations in the event of a divorce. These agreements are legally binding in California but must meet certain requirements for the courts to enforce them. If you’re considering a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, work with an experienced family law attorney who can help ensure that the deal is valid and will be held up in court.
If you require the guidance of an experienced family law attorney, reach out to the Roberts & Zatlin Family Law Firm. We have been delivering comprehensive family law services across California for over 35 years. Our office in Temecula serves several areas, including Menifee, Hemet, Sun City, Lake Elsinore, Winchester, Wildomar, Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange County, Vista, San Diego, the Inland Valley, and other locations statewide. Contact us at (951) 381-8147 to schedule a consultation and obtain a free initial evaluation of your case.