When couples living in California get engaged, they generally don’t want to think about the possibility of divorce. However, the reality is that many first-time marriages do end in separation and second marriages have an even higher rate of failure.
Many people are well aware of the idea of a prenuptial agreement, also known as a “prenup.” These agreements are negotiated and signed before a marriage takes place and carefully detail spousal ownership of assets as well as any expectations of ongoing support should the couple divorce.
These agreements are often used to help engaged couples clarify their financial positions and expectations. In addition, they can protect the assets of both partners and help ensure that one party will not be expected to provide permanent financial support to the other.
Some couples fail to complete a prenuptial agreement before they get married but eventually decide that they would like some kind of a formal financial arrangement. For these individuals, a postnuptial agreement would make sense. A postnup is similar in structure to a prenuptial agreement but is executed after a wedding has taken place.
It should be noted that relying on a postnuptial agreement can be a risky proposition. For one thing, marriage is a legal contract and types of income and property may become marital assets as soon as the couple is wed.
However, some protection may be better than none. Postnuptial agreements may also be used by spouses who are having marital problems and want to clarify their expectations before agreeing to work on their relationship. Individuals considering a prenup or postnup may benefit from speaking with an experienced family law attorney who could provide advice on the terms an agreement should include.