Premarital & Postmarital Agreements
"‘Everyone should get premarital planning to understand what happens under law to married couples.
Then they can decide: would we benefit from a prenuptial agreement varying the standard marriage terms?"
Do I Need a Premarital Agreement?
What is the difference between a premarital and postmarital agreement?
When couples get married they enter into the equivalent of an “agreement” to share their assets and income provided automatically by California law. Many if not most couples don’t know what that agreement is because it is in the family law of the state, usually initially in the state in which they divorce.
That’s why I focus first on prenuptial education about the existing California law before determining the need for any new written agreements. When these assets (bank accounts, property, debts, etc.) and income are subject to a division in the divorce, how these assets, debts and income are subject to applicable state law, or to any enforceable marital agreement.
Couples can opt for Premarital Agreements which allow them to direct how their assets, debts and income should be divided in the case of a divorce. This helps them forgo potential complications in any possible divorce litigation.
The difference between Premarital Agreements and Postmarital Agreements are that Premarital Agreements are entered before the marriage or the State Registered Domestic Partnership (RDPs), and are more predictably enforceable, and Postmarital Agreements are entered after.
Marriage is usually one of the two most important legal decisions people make over their entire life; and almost always without consulting a lawyer or learning the law. Prenuptial planning also assists trust and estate planning, not just divorce.
What can be covered in a Premarital agreement?
Traditionally, a Premarital Agreement may cover the following topics and are useful in determining what property either spouse may subject to their wills and trusts upon death:
Division and ownership of property
Division and ownership of debts
Provisions for spousal support (alimony)