Do I Need a Post-Nuptial Agreement?

Circumstances Where You May Need a Post-Nuptial Agreement

A post-nuptial agreement can cover property division, inheritance rights, debt payment, retirement benefits, and spousal support, but it cannot include provisions about living or unborn children, such as custody or financial support.

Here are several of the most common reasons couples choose to create a post-nuptial agreement:

  • A significant change in financial circumstances since getting married
  • One spouse has received a large inheritance or gift
  • Starting a business together after getting married
  • One spouse has accumulated significant debt after getting married
  • One spouse is considering quitting their job to raise children
  • To simplify the divorce process if it ever happens
  • Clarifying property rights and asset division in case of death or divorce

If you do get divorced, a court may refer to your post-nuptial agreement when determining marital property division and alimony; however, there are circumstances where a judge may not enforce the agreement. For example, if either spouse signed it under fraudulent circumstances or under duress or has a history of domestic violence or concealed assets.

What is a Post-Nuptial Agreement?

A post-nuptial agreement, or post-marital agreement, is a legal contract between spouses that is signed after the wedding ceremony. Like a prenuptial agreement, a post-nuptial outlines how assets and debts will be divided in the event of divorce or death. However, unlike a prenup, a postnup is created after the couple has already tied the knot. They can also be used to tackle unaddressed issues, such as spousal support, property division, and inheritance rights. Postnups can be useful for couples who did not have time to create a prenup before getting married or for those who experience significant changes in their financial situation during their marriage.

 What Makes a Post-Nuptial Agreement Legal?

In California, couples can create a legal plan regarding their property, finances, and asset division in the event of a divorce by signing either a prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement. Even if you have already signed a prenuptial agreement, you can still draft a post-nuptial one if your situation has significantly changed since getting married. While drafting this type of agreement does not mean that you are planning to divorce, it can simplify the process should that ever happen.

For your post-nuptial agreement to be valid and enforceable in court, it must fulfill several requirements:

  • It must be in written form
  • Both parties must sign the document
  • There must be a full disclosure of all assets, debts, and income
  • The language used must be clear with no ambiguity
  • Both spouses must voluntarily and fully consent to the contract
  • Terms included in the document must be fair and reasonable

Legal Assistance is Key When Developing a Post-Nuptial Agreement

While California allows couples to write their own post-nuptial agreements without an attorney's help, having your document reviewed by a legal professional is recommended. There are many requirements that must be met before a postnup can be accepted in court. If you are considering signing a post-nuptial agreement or have started drafting one with your spouse, you need to consider consulting with an experienced family law attorney to ensure that your contract meets all legal requirements in California.

Contact Cutter & Lax Today!

At the law offices of Cutter & Lax, we provide professional legal advice and services to ensure your legal documents meet your needs. Whether you need assistance creating a post-nuptial agreement or need to make changes to a prenuptial agreement, contact Cutter & Lax today! Our experienced attorneys will work closely with you to ensure you get the best advice when it comes to protecting your rights and interests. Call (818) 839-2533 or contact us online to get started.