When considering marriage, some couples contemplate a pre-nuptial agreement, especially if they have children and assets from previous relationships. Some couples decide after they are married that they want a similar document. A postnuptial agreement (also known as a post-marital agreement) is not necessarily related to divorce or separation. It’s a legal contract signed by a couple after a marriage.
Like a pre-nuptial agreement, a postnuptial agreement can be a complex document. The attorneys at Viola Law Firm believe that anyone considering a post-nuptial agreement, should at a minimum, consult with an attorney or hire a mediator to assist them through the process. This will help ensure that the agreement is valid and would be upheld in court if ever challenged.
Reasons for Making an Agreement After You’re Married
There may be many reasons why a couple decides to create a postnuptial agreement. Here are just a few:
- A spouse decides to reduce their work hours in order to care for children or other family members and it affects how finances are handled in the short-term and/or long-term
- Desire to designate specific assets to children from a previous marriage
- Need to officially support an understanding or arrangement, typically involving issues around financial spending or security, fidelity, willingness to participate in marriage counseling, etc.
- Wish to change the character of property, whether changing separate property to community property, or community property to separate property, which, by law, is required to be done in writing with very specific language
Considerations for a Postnuptial Agreement
Wondering if a postnuptial agreement is right for your situation? Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Do you own property, including real estate? Are they held individually or jointly? How assets are titled are important, especially in the event of a separation, divorce or death of a spouse. There are many reasons why you may want to make changes to how assets are deeded or allocated.
- How are finances handled? According to a study by the American Psychological Association, three-quarters of Americans experience financial stress. Money is one of the biggest sources of marital discord. It can be the one of the hardest issues to resolve in a relationship. One spouse may be more inclined to spend while the other wants to save for a rainy day. Your postnuptial agreement can outline how earnings are allocated, debts handled, who pays for what expenses, and how to save for the future. It can also structure how a business venture is managed.
- What are your marital priorities? Agreeing upon the goals you want to achieve together — in writing — can reduce stress and strife in a marriage. A postnuptial agreement can include such goals as saving for a child’s college education, pay off all debt including mortgages, planning for retirement, etc.
Consultation with a Family Law Expert
The attorneys at Viola Law have experience with all aspects of family law, including pre-marital agreements and postnuptial agreements. Your first step is to call us. We’ll begin with an initial conversation, gathering information about your situation. We will schedule an initial meeting at our office. We will determine and advise you on how best to proceed. As your legal representative, we always keep your information private and confidential.
Choosing Viola Law
Viola Law has a reputation for personalized service. We’re sensitive to our clients’ needs. We’ve helped thousands of families in San Mateo County and the surrounding Bay Area counties for over 28+ years, guiding them through all aspects of marriage planning (before, during or after). We have experienced family law attorneys available including a mediator and private judge.
Have more questions about a postnuptial agreement? Call us today and we can help.
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Photo credit: Malk Meid