Postnuptial Agreement Lawyers in Los Angeles Can Help Protect Your Financial Future
Discussing a prenuptial agreement can be an awkward and difficult task before getting married. In fact, that’s one of the many reasons people don’t have these contracts in place even when such an agreement is appropriate. So, what is a couple to do when it becomes apparent that they could benefit from a document that details what happens in the event of a divorce? In such an instance, there’s still time to ensure your assets are protected. A postnuptial agreement lawyer in Los Angeles may be able to help.
At Kim Mediation and Law Center, you’ll work with a family law attorney with more than 20 years of experience in this practice area. California law doesn’t provide the same protections for prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, so it’s important that you seek legal advice before making any major decisions. Don’t sit back wondering whether you could benefit from legal representation. Contact us today for a free consultation to learn more about your situation. Even if the road ahead seems complex, a Los Angeles postnuptial agreement attorney can help.
What Are Postnuptial Agreements?
A postnuptial agreement — sometimes also written as “post-nuptial agreement” or simply referred to as a “postnup” — is a signed document that creates rules regarding finances and asset division in cases of divorce. This is very similar to a prenuptial agreement, but the documents are signed after the metaphorical knot has been tied. These contracts are meant to protect the assets of one or both spouses in case a divorce or separation occurs. Common issues covered when drafting these documents include:
Terms of spousal support
Family property interests
Responsibility for loans and other debts
Inheritance, premarital assets, and other separate property
Investment and retirement accounts
Custody of family pets
Property division in case of death
There are other issues that can be decided in a postnuptial agreement, but there are also certain things that will not be seen as valid if they’re included. For instance, decisions regarding child support and custody — along with most other issues involving living or unborn children — cannot be dictated by postnuptial agreements. This is strictly forbidden under California family law for both a prenuptial and post-nuptial agreement. Similarly, contract terms cannot involve activities that are illegal or against public policy.
Postnuptial vs Prenuptial Agreements
People often think of postnuptial and prenuptial agreements as being the same thing — just signed at different times. While going on this assumption may not always prove problematic, the fact is that they are two very different legal documents. More importantly, they are viewed under California law as completely different. That’s because prenuptial agreements are provided for under the state’s Family Code. This means there are distinct rules involved and a presumption of validity exists for premarital contracts. This isn’t the case with postnuptial agreements. In fact, there’s a presumption that these agreements are invalid.
If a document specifying what happens to community and marital property is presumed invalid, why would anyone go through the trouble of drafting one? Because a presumption of invalidity is not the same as invalidity. This presumption simply means you must prove to the court that the agreement is valid in the state. This is why it’s so important to speak with a postnuptial agreement attorney in Los Angeles before creating or signing such a document. If you make even simple mistakes, your contract may not be worth the paper it’s written on.
Contact Kim Mediation and Law Center today to make sure your postnuptial agreement is done right the first time.
How to Create a Valid Post-Nuptial Agreement
It’s not enough to simply sit down with your spouse and draw up a prenuptial agreement in California. As discussed in the previous section, you have to be very careful when drafting these documents to ensure their validity. Even if your decisions on community property and other assets are clear — and the document contains no disqualifying agreements — it’s possible that the contract could be invalid if it’s not signed under suitable circumstances. This is why so many people wisely seek the help of a law firm when creating these documents.
Here are the basic requirements of any postnuptial agreement:
Must be a written document. Although oral agreements are enforceable for many contract types, postnuptial agreements are not one of them.
Both spouses must sign the agreement. This must be done in front of a notary. Many attorneys serve as notaries as well, so this can be simple after drafting the document.
Spouses must voluntarily sign. No one can face coercion or experience force to sign such an agreement.
Full disclosure. Each spouse has a fiduciary duty to the other. Assets acquired, income, obligations, and debts of both individuals must be fully disclosed.
The agreement must be fair, clear, and transparent. Equitability is important for postnuptial agreements.
Other factors may certainly be considered during a separation or divorce. For instance, courts might be hesitant to approve agreements that seem unfair for one spouse in the area of alimony. However, it will likely still be seen as valid if both spouses knew their rights, responsibilities, and the consequences of signing the document. To ensure your best interests are served and that your postnuptial agreement is valid, though, you should contact a law office before moving forward. Kim Mediation and Law Center can help.
What Are the Reasons for a Postnuptial Agreement?
While a prenuptial agreement is certainly ideal, there are many reasons people don’t sign them prior to marriage. Of course, there are also reasons why such an agreement may become tempting for married couples. Keep in mind that issues like child custody cannot be decided in such documents — so having children certainly wouldn’t make postnuptial agreements ideal — but there are a variety of other reasons that may come to light. In fact, many of these contracts are only signed after years of marriage has made it apparent that they may be necessary.
Reasons for postnuptial agreements include:
Substantial changes to finances (e.g., starting a business)
There simply wasn’t enough time for a prenuptial agreement
Having children can make redefining asset rights necessary, but custody and support issues cannot be included
Your spouse develops habits that could endanger you financially (e.g., gambling addiction)
You want to avoid serious debts in the case of a divorce
Other situations where the defining of asset rights is ideal
This list certainly seems extensive, but any family law attorney can tell you that it’s far from exhaustive. Every married couple has their own issues and unique situations. And although it may seem strange, people in perfectly happy marriages do this all the time. Regardless of why you’re considering a post-nuptial agreement, your best interests will be served by contacting a respected law firm to assist you. You can establish your own attorney-client relationship or meet with a legal professional as a couple. Regardless of how you approach the situation, an experienced postnuptial agreement attorney can help.
Contact a Postnuptial Agreement Lawyer in Los Angeles
There are a million reasons you might want to sign a postnuptial agreement, but it’s important to recognize that these contracts are a complex area under California law. While they can certainly play a significant role in an eventual divorce settlement, this is only the case if you take the time to ensure they’re valid. This means two very different things between prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, so don’t fall into the trap of thinking you’re fully informed simply because you read a few blogs on premarital contracts in California.
At Kim Mediation and Law Center, we strive to simplify family law in every way possible. In many instances, this means creating an agreement regarding marital assets and other important issues — sometimes years after getting married. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking this is something you can handle on your own. Due to a lack of recognition under the Family Code, such agreements can prove very complex. Contact us at the Kim Mediation and Law Center today by calling (213) 351-1000 to speak with a postnuptial agreement lawyer in Los Angeles. Doing so could make a huge difference if your marriage starts to deteriorate.