Prenuptial & Postnuptial Agreements

Assisting Couples in California With the Drafting of Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements

Kevin Jamison Law, PC is committed to helping couples throughout California draft both prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. Our legal team understands the complexities involved in both documents and takes the time to get to know the couples we work with to ensure their needs and expectations are fully met. We carefully review each party’s individual assets and property, family inheritance, joint business endeavors and other factors so an agreement that protects both their interests can be drafted.

Prenuptial vs. Postnuptial Agreements: What Is the Difference?

Both pre- and postnuptial agreements are legal contracts that couples enter into which outline the responsibilities, obligations and rights of each spouse, as well as specify how individual and joint assets and property are to be divided in the event the marriage comes to an end. These agreements are similar in terms of purpose, but the main distinction between the contracts lies in the fact that prenuptial agreements are drafted prior to a couple getting married, while postnuptial agreements are established after marriage.

California Laws Regarding Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements

Because a prenuptial agreement is created prior to matrimony, it only becomes effective once the couple is married. Postnuptial agreements are entered into after marriage, so they become effective immediately. Many couples shy away from drafting prenups and postnups out of fear that they will set a negative tone for the marriage. However, these agreements can actually strengthen their bond because they encourage candor and flexibility among couples, as well as help couples establish a plan for their future together.

Prenups and postnups can vary in terms of the specific details outlined in the contract, but typically account for the following:

  • How the individual property and assets each spouse held prior to the marriage will be divided in the event of separation, divorce, incapacitation or death
  • How any individual or joint property and assets acquired during the marriage will be divided in the event of separation, divorce, incapacitation or death
  • The future of a business (individual or joint), including how the business will be handled, who will retain control and how profits will be divided among each spouse
  • The responsibilities of each spouse regarding individual or joint debt
  • General rights and obligations of each spouse throughout the marriage

The laws regarding both prenuptial and postnuptial agreements in California are identical and require the following:

  • The agreement must be in writing, signed by both spouses and notarized
  • The agreement must be entered into in good faith and by each spouse’s own volition (spouses cannot be coerced or forced into signing and both spouses must be of sound mind when the contract is established)
  • The agreement must be fair and protect the rights of both spouses equally
  • Full disclosure by both spouses (spouses cannot conceal assets, property or debt from each other or their attorney)
  • Sufficient amount of time for both parties to review the agreement (usually at least a week), make changes, if necessary, and discuss with their attorney

While prenuptial and postnuptial agreements should not create an unfair advantage for one spouse, a spouse may willing choose to waive their right to property, income or spousal support and include the waiver provision in the prenup or postnup. 

Factors That Are Not Covered in Pre- and Postnuptial Agreements

Pre- and postnuptial agreements generally focus on material matters and fiduciary responsibilities. Neither type of agreement can predetermine child custody and visitation rights, control a spouse’s behavior during the marriage (meaning they cannot require a spouse to dress or act a certain way, practice a certain type of religion or perform certain duties) or punish a spouse in the event of infidelity or another transgression.

Discuss Your Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreement With an Experienced California Family Law Attorney 

If you are considering a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, the California family law attorneys at KJ Law are ready to assist. Schedule a free consultation today by phone at (626) 314-1830 or online. For your convenience, house calls and after-hours appointments are available.