California Postnuptial Agreement Attorney

A California postnuptial agreement is similar to a prenup in that it defines each party’s separate and community property interest in the event of a divorce or legal separation. Some couples may seek a postnuptial agreement if there has been a breach of trust, substance abuse issues, a significant increase in a spouse’s financial position, or a large inheritance by a spouse. At San Diego Esquire, we can help you develop a postnuptial agreement that meets your needs. We provide affordable flat fee postnuptial agreement review services starting at $1200.  Our postnuptial agreement drafting services start at $1500.

We highly encourage you to work with an experienced California postnuptial agreement attorney instead of relying on a do-it-yourself approach.  We do not provide dual representation. Sign up  to get started.

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Frequently Asked Questions

As mentioned above, a postnuptial agreement is similar to a prenuptial agreement. A prenuptial agreement is executed before parties get married. Like a prenup, the postnuptial agreement will address how a married couple’s income and assets are to be divided in the event of a divorce or legal separation. A postnuptial agreement can also define specific assets as separate property and specific assets as community property.  Most couples find it is easier to discuss these issues while they are on good terms rather than wait for an ugly divorce.

There are a number of reasons why a couple would sign a postnuptial agreement.  A common reason for signing a postnuptial agreement is that the couple never signed a prenuptial agreement, and now want an agreement in place. A postnuptial agreement is also useful if a couple’s finances have changed significantly since signing a premarital agreement, making the original terms of the prenup no longer fair.

Postnuptial agreements can be a way to protect the inheritance of children from previous relationship, or it can ensure a treasured family heirloom remains in the family, or it can protect a business from having a spouse become an inadvertent partner.  Essentially, a postnuptial agreement is a form of an insurance plan.  In the event of a divorce, the couple can settle most matters quickly without an expensive, drawn-out negotiation.

There are few things a couple is prohibited from including in a postnuptial agreement.  The postnuptial agreement cannot have provisions for child custody and support.  A postnuptial agreement can include provisions for spousal support, but there is no guarantee that a court will honor those terms.  If the couple does end up divorce, they will need to figure out these issues during the divorce process.

In contrast to a postnuptial agreement, a legal separation is a document created when then couple is already living apart.  It is a similar to a divorce agreement, but unlike a divorce agreement, a legal separation will not dissolve the marriage.  Many couples who legally separate wish to remain married for religious reasons or to continue receiving health or government benefits.  Unlike the postnuptial agreement, which is a private document between the couple, in many states legal separations are filed with the court.  Like a postnuptial agreement, a legal separation will contain specific provisions for property and debt allocation.  If the couple are living apart and have minor children, the legal separation agreement will need to contain the terms of a child custody, visitation, and support issues.  A legal separation can have provisions for spousal support.  Some couples who get a legal separation do eventually divorce.  If they do divorce, the divorce process is fairly simple.  They just follow the terms of the legal separation agreement.

A postnuptial agreement is a contractual agreement between spouses, similar to a prenuptial agreement.  The main difference between a prenuptial agreement and a postnuptial agreement is that a prenuptial agreement is signed before the wedding, while a postnuptial agreement is signed afterwards.

Couples often obtain postnuptial agreements to aid in the process of reconciliation after a period of marital conflict. A postnuptial agreement can be drafted to address financial concerns while the couple continue to rebuild trust. A postnuptial agreement, or prenuptial agreement amendment, can also change the parties initial intent regarding financial divisions of income in the event of a change in economic circumstances not initially anticipated at the time of marriage.

Work with an attorney to develop a postnuptial agreement. Do not rely on do-it-yourself websites. San Diego Esquire provides flat fee postnuptial agreement drafting and review services for California residents. You can work directly with our attorney to make sure your separate and community property interest is best protected in a postnuptial agreement.

A California postnuptial agreement must meet the following criteria to be legally-binding;

  1. The postnuptial agreement must be in writing;
  2. Both spouses must voluntarily sign the agreement;
  3. The agreement must be notarized;
  4. The postnuptial agreement must be fair; and
  5. Each spouse must fully disclose their financial information (ex – income, assets, debts, and property).

Postnuptial agreements cover the same things as prenuptial agreements, including:

  • Determining which property is considered separate property and which is considered community property. This is useful when both parties bring their own assets to the marriage, or when one of the parties sells separate property and uses the proceeds to purchase something during the marriage. The newly purchased property would normally be considered community property, but the parties may agree to keep it separate.
  • Determining the amount and duration of spousal support. California courts, however, are suspicious of any postnuptial agreement that eliminates or limits spousal support, especially when there is a large disparity in income or assets between the parties.
  • Making a plan for the disposition of a family business upon the divorce of the parties or the death of one spouse.
  • Deciding how to divide assets upon the death of a spouse. This is important when one or both spouses had children before the marriage. In blended families, spouses may agree to divide some or all of their property between their children and their spouse upon their death. A postnuptial agreement may supersede a last will and testament if that is clearly stated in the agreement.
  • Determining who is to be the beneficiary of a life insurance policy.
  • Determining who is to have custody of a family pet.

While couples may include a provision for spousal support in a postnuptial agreement, there is no guarantee that a court will honor it.  Spousal support provisions in pre and postnuptial agreements are heavily scrutinized by California courts.  A clause that waives spousal support entirely will not likely be enforced.  In California, child custody, visitation, and support issues are handled during the divorce process, and should not be included in a postnuptial agreement.  The agreement cannot contain any provisions that would be considered “unconscionable,” for example it cannot encourage the couple to divorce.

In California, for a postnuptial agreement to be enforceable, it must meet four basic conditions.  These are the same conditions for a prenuptial agreement: it must be voluntarily signed (e.g. one spouse cannot threaten to divorce the other unless the agreement is signed); there must be a full disclosure of assets, debts and income before signing; the agreement must be in writing; and the agreement must be fair.  In many states, a voluntarily signed pre or postnuptial agreement is one that both spouses had reviewed by their own individual attorney.  If an agreement contains too many provisions that are invalid, the court may void the entire agreement.

There are many reasons why a couple might want a postnuptial agreement.  One common reason for a postnuptial agreement is that the couple never signed a prenuptial agreement.  Another reason for a postnuptial agreement is that the couple signed a prenuptial agreement, but their financial situation has changed dramatically and now the original terms of the prenuptial agreement are no longer fair.  If one spouse starts a business, a prenuptial agreement can clearly define the ownership and the valuation of the business, and can protect the business in the event of a divorce. If a spouse is taking on a substantial amount of debt to start a business, the couple may opt for an agreement that defines large assets, such as their house, as separate property to protect it from creditors.

Work with an attorney to develop a postnuptial agreement. Do not rely on do-it-yourself websites. San Diego Esquire provides flat fee postnuptial agreement drafting and review services for California residents. You can work directly with our attorney to make sure your separate and community property interest is best protected in a postnuptial agreement.

Postnuptial Agreement Review & Drafting Service

$1200Flat Fee
  • Attorney Drafted Agreement & Review
  • Spousal Support Calculation

California Postnuptial Agreement Drafting & Review Service

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