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Do I need a postnuptial agreement?

On Behalf of | Sep 1, 2023 | Family Law

Many couples in California draft a prenuptial agreement before getting married to protect the individual property each spouse acquired before marriage. However, similar documents called postnuptial agreements have become increasingly popular to protect one’s interests if a divorce occurs.

What postnuptial agreements cover

Postnuptial agreements outline how to distribute assets, provide financial support, determine who is responsible for debts and more if a couple decides to divorce. Your life may have changed considerably since you married, and your prenuptial doesn’t address your current circumstances. Many couples have never drafted one. Postnuptials are almost identical to prenuptials except that the former can occur any time after marriage. A postnuptial agreement focuses on a couple’s current finances instead of future ones. It is often used as an outline for a divorce agreement when a marriage is floundering.

Elements of a postnuptial can include:

  • Distribution of assets
  • Alimony
  • Division of inheritance assets
  • Child support payments

The courts heavily scrutinize postnuptial agreements, especially when it comes to child support. Generally, prenuptial agreements are considered valid as a couple enters their marriage. The courts examine postnuptial documents to ensure that one spouse was not taken advantage of during the negotiation process.

Drafting a postnuptial agreement

Many legal experts believe that waiting to draft a legal property agreement gives couples a more realistic view of their financials. If the spouses got married when young, they may have a more mature and confident outlook on their opinions about money when considering a postnuptial.

As with any legal document, consider your position carefully if you draft a postnuptial agreement as it can be challenging. Having a neutral party, such as a financial advisor who can look out for both spouses’ interests, can help remove some of the stress involved with coming to a fair agreement and ensure you understand how your assets can grow.