Post Nuptial Agreements: Three Things You Need to Know Before You Sign

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20 years ago, prenuptial agreements began to catch on as a way to protect property when entering marriage.  Today, post nuptial agreements are gaining momentum with couples that are already married.  Post nuptial agreements are a contract entered into by a husband and a wife regarding their community or separate assets and debts.  Unlike a prenup (which is signed before marriage), postnups are signed after the couple becomes legally married.

Couples enter into post-nuptial agreements for many reasons.  Sometimes the stress of marriage erodes a couple’s ability to discuss and come to an agreement on financial issues.  Other times couples enter into post-nuptial agreements because they want to protect themselves from their partner’s questionable choices.  Post-nuptial agreements are often difficult to enforce and should be drafted by an experienced family lawyer.  If you are considering a post nuptial agreement here are three things you need to know.

Get it in Writing

California law requires that post-nuptial agreements adhere to the same requirements as other legal agreements.  Thus, any post nuptial must be written and properly executed in order to be enforceable in court.  Despite being an agreement entered into between two married people in the course of their marriage, the agreement must be in writing. Talk to you family law attorney about drafting a valid postnup.

Hire an Attorney

While it is not required under California law, it is a good idea for each party entering into a post nuptial agreement to be represented by their own attorney.  Post nuptial agreements can be difficult to enforce because many times they may favor one spouse over the other. If both spouses have attorneys, they have an advocate who can review the agreement and make sure that it does not unreasonably favor one spouse over the other. Overall, you will also feel better about the agreement knowing that both you and your spouse understand what you are agreeing to.

Understand What You’re Signing

Finally, the most important part of deciding to have a post nuptial agreement is to understand what you are signing.  Post nuptial agreements alter the status of property that you may otherwise be entitled to if you do get divorced.  You improve the likelihood of your post nuptial agreement being enforced if both parties are very clear about the agreement they are entering into. Again, understanding your post nuptial agreement will also ensure that it will be enforced, should it need to be down the road.

For more information about prenups and postnups, contact the expert Los Angeles family lawyers at Walzer Melcher LLP today.