Prenuptial Agreements and Postnuptial Agreements

Prenuptial and Postnuptial AgreementsWhen most people enter into marriage, they do not plan or expect for it to end in divorce. However, with today’s high divorce rates, no couple should enter a marriage without having a backup plan to prepare for the worst. For a fortunate many, these backup plans will never have to be enacted, but it never hurts to be prepared. When a lot of couples reach the point of divorce, they find themselves questioning what they could have done to better prepare themselves for this very difficult and highly emotional time.

Luckily, there are options for every couple, even those who do not ever foresee a divorce in their future. If you are getting married, there may still be time to prepare a prenuptial agreement. If you skipped this crucial step before your wedding day, a postnuptial agreement may be a very good idea for you and your spouse to discuss. There are no strings attached to these types of agreements, so even if you know that your love for your spouse will never waiver, it should not harm your relationship to prepare for the worst case scenario.

If you think that you and your spouse are ready to plan for the worst case scenario, you need to speak with an experienced family law attorney.

At the law office of Julie Clark, Attorney at Law, we know that marriage happens out of love and that no one wants to get divorced, but we also know that if the time ever comes for divorce, being prepared from the beginning can ease the process greatly. Call our office today to get started.

What are prenuptial and postnuptial agreements?

Before a couple gets married, they have an option to create a prenuptial agreement. This means that they would create a legal document determining what would happen in the event of a divorce. These documents can cover anything from real estate, personal property, financial assets, child custody, and even digital assets. If a spouse owns something before the marriage, he or she is almost always entitled to that property or asset upon divorce (however, there are certain exceptions to this rule). What gets tricky is when things are acquired during the marriage. In these cases, a prenuptial agreement can help ease the process of deciding how these things get divided.

A postnuptial agreement works the same as the aforementioned prenuptial agreement, except the main difference lies in the time that it is created. While prenuptials are created before the couple is married, postnuptials, or antinuptials, occur sometime after the marriage. From the enforceability standpoint, there are no proven benefits to choosing one over the other; however, it may be an easier topic to discuss before you enter marriage rather than when you are already set and comfortable in the ways of your relationship.

If you think that these types of agreements may be right for you and your spouse, California requires that each of you be represented by independent attorneys. It is important to work with an experienced attorney. The process should be smooth and easy, and having a lawyer on your side that knows the ins and outs of the entire process can make the whole thing pass as easily as possible.

Why plan for divorce?

Talking about divorce may seem taboo or like bad luck to a couple entering marriage, when in reality, this is the best time to go over these topics. In the event of a divorce, emotions are running high, and—more often than not—these are negative emotions. You are probably not feeling the same love and care that you once felt for your spouse. This can make the divorce process even more difficult if there is not already a plan in place. With these types of emotions, it can be even more difficult to make big and very important decisions.

When going through a divorce, you are often looking out for what is best for yourself and not necessarily what is best for your spouse as well. When you are entering a marriage, however, most of your emotions are positive. You care about yourself and the well-being of your spouse. If an agreement is made during this time, it is more likely that the two of you will be able to reach a fair and acceptable conclusion on most of your assets. This makes the divorce process infinitely easier, given that the worst-case scenario does unfortunately happen.

How do you choose which option is better for you?

Most people are somewhat familiar with prenuptial agreements. However, they are extremely difficult to create correctly. They cannot effectively be created unless each party has an independent lawyer of his or her own, and they must be completed far in advance of the wedding. This combination of factors makes a legally effective prenuptial agreement relatively rare.

But there is a low-cost and effective alternative. The postnuptial agreement avoids most of the strict requirements of the prenuptial agreement. If you and your spouse or partner wants to make agreements, you are free to do so. If this is a second marriage for both of you, and each of you wants your home to go the respective sets of children, this can easily be accomplished with a postnuptial agreement. A postnuptial agreement can outline a plan for property division and spousal support and can be a very valuable way of making sure that agreements between you and your spouse or partner are honored.

If you believe that one of these options may be the best thing for you and your spouse, or if you have any further questions, do not hesitate to contact us at the law office of Julie Clark, Attorney at Law today.

Additional Resources:

Can a prenuptial agreement be avoided?