Nobody gets married with the belief that it will end in divorce. Planning ahead for all possibilities, however, is a smart strategy that can serve you well if things don’t turn out as planned. You cannot predict what will happen in the future of your relationship, but you can protect yourself financially with a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.
No matter how confident you are in your relationship, preparing for the slim possibility of divorce is wise. If you are interested in pursuing a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement in Redwood City, California, request a consultation with an experienced family law attorney at the Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C. We can help you create a valid, legally binding document that will be upheld in court should your marriage ever come to an end.
Why Choose the Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C.?
- We treat each client with respect, compassion and honesty. We have an unwavering commitment to exceptional client service.
- Debra R. Schoenberg is a certified specialist in family law with more than 35 years of experience. She can help you with your legal matter efficiently and effectively.
- Our law office has experience representing high-net-worth individuals and dealing with unique legal challenges. We can help you work through any legal issue.
What Is a Prenuptial Agreement?
A prenuptial agreement, often referred to simply as a prenup, is a legally binding contract between two parties that goes into effect when they marry. It is created and entered into prior to the marriage. A prenuptial agreement contains terms regarding financial and property arrangements should the marriage end in divorce.
The purpose of a prenup is to settle financial matters before the divorce, when the couple still gets along and is willing to compromise with each other. This can prevent a long, difficult legal battle in the future. It is also used when one spouse is entering the marriage with substantially more income or assets than the other, to protect that person from unfair property division in the event of a divorce.
What Is a Postnuptial Agreement?
A postnuptial agreement, or postnup, serves the same purpose as a prenuptial agreement – to plan out the couple’s financial assets in advance of a divorce. The difference is that a postnuptial agreement is drawn up after the couple has already entered into marriage, not before. Rather than going into effect when a couple marries, a postnuptial agreement goes into effect when both parties sign the contract.
Do You Need a Prenup or Postnup?
If you are unsure whether you need a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, consider all of the potential benefits. For example, it can protect your hard-earned income and assets if something changes and you feel differently about your spouse. This is especially important under California’s property division law.
According to California’s community property law, all assets that are classified as marital property will be divided in half with your spouse – 50/50 – in a divorce, whether or not this is fair to you. Marital property includes any assets acquired while you were married.
Another advantage is the peace of mind you can have during your marriage after obtaining a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. You will have more control over property division and other elements of your divorce in the event that your marriage comes to an end. This financial protection can give you mental and emotional peace.
What Can and Cannot Be Included in a Prenuptial/Postnuptial Agreement?
It is very important to make sure your prenuptial or postnuptial agreement contains only lawful and valid terms, or else you may be surprised to find that it does not stand up in court during a divorce case. In California, the courts will not uphold agreements that contain terms or provisions that go against the law or public policy. Examples of terms that are not legally enforceable in California include:
- Terms deciding child custody or child support
- Legal decisions for a child, such as religion or health care
- Terms that penalize a spouse for being at fault for a divorce
- Terms regarding a spouse’s physical appearance, such as weight or hair color
- Requiring a spouse to produce a certain number of children or a son
- Terms that promote or encourage divorce
- Terms requiring a spouse to engage in or allow illegal activity
Terms that are allowed generally focus on property division, the classification of community vs. separate property, and alimony. In general, any terms that are substantially unfair to one party or related to one party’s personal life are not enforceable. Even one unenforceable provision in your prenuptial or postnuptial agreement could invalidate the entire document. This is why it is important to work with an attorney to create your contract.
How to Create a Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreement in California
In California, the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act lays out specific requirements that must be met to create a legally enforceable prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. First, the document must be in writing. Second, it must contain the signatures of both parties. These signatures must be obtained voluntarily and without the use of force, fraud or coercion. Third, both parties must have adequate knowledge of its terms. Fourth, the signing party must have had the right to consult with independent legal counsel at least seven days before signing.
Note that postnuptial agreements are often scrutinized more carefully than prenuptial agreements since spouses have a legal duty to act for the benefit of one another with good faith after getting married. If any of the terms of the postnup are unfair to the other spouse, this can invalidate the entire document.
How a Family Law Attorney in Redwood City Can Help
Working with the right attorney can guarantee that your prenuptial or postnuptial agreement is legal, valid and enforceable in court. You will not run into any unwelcome surprises during your divorce case regarding the legality of your contract if you had an attorney draw up the document for you. A lawyer can also help you create the terms of the prenup or postnup for financial solutions that work for both of you.
Contact an Attorney in Redwood City, CA Today
A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement has the power to alter your future should your marriage ever end in divorce. Take it as seriously as it deserves. Invest in a family law attorney for professional legal assistance. At the Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C., we have in-depth knowledge about prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. We can break down California’s laws for you and help you create a contract that fully protects your legal rights. Request a consultation in Redwood City, California by calling or contacting us online today.