Postnuptial Agreements

When considering marriage, some couples contemplate a prenuptial 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 postmarital agreement) is not necessarily related to divorce or separation. It's a legal contract signed by a couple after a marriage.

Like a prenuptial agreement, a postnuptial agreement can be a complex document. At Viola Law Firm P.C., we believe that anyone considering a postnuptial agreement should at a minimum consult with an attorney or hire a mediator to assist with the process. This will help ensure that the agreement is valid and would hold up in court if ever challenged.

Reasons For Making An Agreement After You Are Married

Couples create postnuptial agreements for many reasons. Here are just a few:

  • A decision to reduce work hours to care for children or other family members and the effect on finances in the short or long term
  • A desire to designate specific assets to children from a previous marriage
  • A need to officially support an understanding or arrangement, typically involving issues around financial spending or security, fidelity, willingness to participate in marriage counseling, etc.
  • A wish to change the character of property, whether changing separate property to community property or community property to separate property, which, by law, must be done in writing with 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? Is it held individually or jointly? How assets are titled is important, especially in cases of separation, divorce or death of a spouse. You may want to change how assets are deeded or allocated for many reasons.
  • 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 are 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 on 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; paying off all debt, including mortgages; planning for retirement; etc.

Have more questions about a postnuptial agreement? Call us today at 650-532-9389 and we can help. You may also contact us online, and we will respond promptly. Based in San Mateo, our lawyers represent clients throughout the Bay Area and Northern California.