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Family law: New parents should consider postnuptial agreements

Prenuptial agreements are an excellent choice for individuals who are eager to protect themselves should marriage not work out. However, many people who have prenups do not realize that they may also need another important family law tool -- a postnuptial agreement. For expecting parents in California, creating a postnup could be one of the most important pre-parenthood duties.

Although a postnuptial agreement generally does not allow parents to specify child support or custody arrangements, it is still an extremely useful tool. So why should parents worry about postnups at all? While a welcome addition to most families, children can be a source of stress that some marriages simply cannot handle. If a couple did not sign a prenuptial agreement, then a postnuptial can still offer protections should they divorce in the future.

Having a prenup does not invalidate the need for a postnup. By the time a couple decides to have children, each person's assets, income and situation might be quite different. A postnup can address these changes to make sure that both parties are still protected no matter what. Also, it is possible for a prenup to be thrown out because one person did not fully understand his or her partner's finances before getting married. A postnup that clearly outlines marital assets after tying the knot makes it more difficult to throw out for this reason.

An expecting couple may still question why they should create a postnuptial agreement before welcoming their child into the world. Like with a prenup, addressing difficult topics while a marriage is good can make future family law conflicts much easier to resolve. Since California parents cannot forecast the future, it may be best to prepare for divorce in a manner that makes things like property division and other processes as easy as possible.

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