Diehard romantics may question the motives behind pre- or postnuptial agreements, but for many couples, such marital agreements can serve a pragmatic role in separating financial from personal commitments. According to recent reporting, there has been a dramatic rise in clients who are seeking prenups.
Although prenups are more common in California, it is never too late for a married couple to protect their assets in the event of divorce. While the decision to share a life with another is momentous, so too is the realization later on that marriage is also a financial commitment. For Sonoma County residents who are interested in having the peace of mind that comes with creating clear expectations for their marriage, it is wise to have a legal advocate to help you decide the best path forward.
What are the differences between a pre- and postnuptial?
While a prenuptial agreement outlines a spouse’s separate property before entering marriage, a postnuptial agreement is entered into after marriage. A postnup will often have many layers of complexity, as separate property that is shared is harder to separate after years of marriage. Because California is a community property state, either document will help couples to make their own decisions regarding property division in the event of divorce.
Why are common reasons for entering into a postnup?
Couples decide to create a postnup for a number of reasons, especially if they wish that they had drawn up a prenup before marriage. Some other reasons include:
- A change in financial circumstances, such as financial irresponsibility or a change in fortune of one spouse which may require clarity on future debt responsibility or asset division
- If one spouse starts up a new business, a postnup will protect the business as well as any business partners during divorce proceedings
- If one spouse stops working in order to raise the children, a postnup can provide financially for the nonworking spouse
Postnups are also an effective estate-planning tool, and can be used to pass assets to children of a prior relationship.
A postnuptial agreement in California is a written agreement that must be signed by both parties and notarized. Both parties must enter freely into the agreement, with no evidence or coercion, deception or threats to signing it. And, it must be fair, honest and transparent.