Postnuptial agreements are less common than prenuptial agreements, but they can be a valuable means of defining legal rights and responsibilities in an established marriage, particularly among spouses who have acquired significant wealth, property or debt during over the course of their marriage. An experienced Los Angeles family law lawyer can perform any number of services involving postnuptial agreements, including drafting or reviewing an agreement for married couples, negotiating changes to a postnuptial agreement, advising clients on their best interests with regard to their financial future, and challenging the terms of a postnuptial agreement in the event of a divorce. For more information about drafting and implementing a postnuptial agreement, or challenging an agreement in court, contact our knowledgeable family law attorneys at Divorce Lawyers Los Angeles today for a free initial consultation.
Affordable Los Angeles Postnuptial Agreement Attorney
Many people see prenuptial and postnuptial agreements as a matter of distrust or discontent among wealthy couples. On the contrary, signing a Los Angeles postnuptial agreement is merely a legal and logical way for couples with significant assets or separate property to protect themselves and their financial well-being in the event of death or divorce. However, financial situations can change, as can marital relationships, and should a death or divorce occur, you may find yourself on the losing end of a legal contract. Our reputable Los Angeles divorce attorneys have extensive experience handling cases involving couples with substantial assets and complex financial situations, and we have the knowledge and skill necessary to help you prepare or challenge a postnuptial agreement in California. With our legal team on your side, you can feel confident that you understand fully how the terms of a postnuptial agreement can affect your family, your taxes, your business interests and other areas of your financial life.
Understanding What a Postnuptial Agreement Means for You
California is a community property state, which means that in the absence of an agreement stating otherwise, all property and assets, including earnings acquired by the spouses during the course of their marriage, and debts, are presumed to be community property and will thus be divided evenly in the event of a divorce. Much like a prenuptial agreement, or prenup, a postnuptial agreement is a legal contract designed to settle the couple’s assets and other marital issues that may arise during divorce proceedings. However, a postnuptial agreement is prepared and signed after the couple is already married, rather than before they marry. With the terms of a postnuptial agreement laid out before them, a couple can control the outcome of any potential disputes that may arise in the future, whereas without an agreement, the family code of law in California will control what happens to their property and assets in the event of a divorce.
How to Execute a Postnuptial Agreement in California
Under California law, married couples have the highest fiduciary duty to one another, meaning each spouse in a marital relationship owes the greatest obligation to act in the best interest of the other party with regard to financial dealings. In other words, because you and your spouse are married, you cannot take unfair advantage of one another when deciding on the terms of a postnuptial agreement. In order to be considered legal and enforceable in court, a Los Angeles postnuptial agreement must be voluntary and signed by both spouses and must not contain any terms that are either criminal in nature or that violate public policy. The contract must also be in writing, must be substantially fair when entered into, and must fully disclose the debts and assets of each party. Before entering into a postnuptial agreement, there are certain things you and your spouse should discuss, including:
- All separate and mutual assets and debts
- The current financial status of your relationship, including spending habits, any financial concerns, and each of your roles and responsibilities
- Your expectations regarding how property and assets should be handled in the event of death or divorce
- How significant changes in your lifestyle or financial status might affect the contract
When they are drafted and signed, most postnuptial agreements are not typically met with contention, as the terms have been discussed by the couple ahead of time. These types of agreements are a simple and legal way to define legal rights among married couples, especially for high net worth individuals who have accumulated separate property and other assets during the marriage, and those who have been married in the past and wish to protect their preexisting children’s inheritance rights. Postnuptial agreements can address a wide variety of marital concerns, including provisions for the division of property and even the payment of alimony or spousal support. They cannot, however, negatively affect a child’s right to child support, nor can they take away the court’s power to control child custody and parental visitation rights.
How an Experienced Postnuptial Agreement Lawyer Can Help
Couples about to enter into a marriage don’t often consider the future protection of their separate finances a high enough priority that they decide to implement a prenuptial agreement. After all, prenups are meant as a safeguard for spouses who divorce, and they are just about to get married. However, once married individuals begin to accumulate significant wealth or property – or significant debts – it may become necessary to draft a legal document that will protect their separate assets in the occurrence of any such unexpected events. Postnuptial agreements are legally binding contracts recognized by the California courts and must therefore be negotiated and prepared with the careful guidance of an experienced Los Angeles family law attorney.
Many couples who sign postnuptial agreements are able to openly discuss the potential terms of the contract so when they meet with an attorney to have the agreement drawn up, they both have a full understanding of how the contract will affect the future of their separate and marital property and assets. However, there are also situations in which a spouse may wish to challenge the terms of a Los Angeles postnuptial agreement during divorce proceedings. Even if the agreement is deemed valid and fair at the time it is signed, a spouse may decide to contest it later, claiming that he or she was coerced into signing it upon threat of divorce, a claim the court will take seriously. To challenge or uphold the terms of a postnuptial agreement in Los Angeles requires the expertise of a skilled California family law attorney.
Free Postnuptial Agreement Consultation in Los Angeles
Postnuptial agreements may be appropriate for couples who have acquired considerable assets or debts during marriage and have new wishes about how their separate or marital property should be handled if they divorce. If you are already married and you think it might be a good idea to protect your finances and the future of your children, contact Divorce Lawyers Los Angeles today at (213) 550-4600 to find out where to start. Our lawyers have seen the ways in which Los Angeles postnuptial agreements have been challenged in the past, and our attorneys can carefully review the terms of a postnuptial agreement you plan to sign, or can draft a postnuptial agreement in such a way that it offers you considerable financial protection. With the help of our qualified Los Angeles family law lawyers, you and your spouse can prepare and implement a fair and mutually acceptable postnuptial agreement that safeguards you both from future loss.