Prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement in place to lay out the provisions for critical financial issues like marital property division and spousal support, a divorce can become messy and more expensive than it has to be. Divorce may be a worst-case scenario, but it is a scenario many couples face, and being prepared with a postnuptial agreement can help prevent some of the stress and turmoil that typically accompanies a divorce proceeding. For more information about postnuptial agreements in San Diego, or to get help drafting a valid “postnup,” contact our knowledgeable attorneys at (619) Divorce today.
Experienced San Diego Postnuptial Agreement Lawyer
If you get a divorce in San Diego and you do not have a postnuptial agreement in place, you could end up turning half of your estate over to your spouse, even if you entered into the marriage with significant wealth and assets and your spouse did not. By negotiating and signing a postnuptial agreement, you and your spouse can come to a reasonable agreement on certain issues that often end up being contested in a divorce, such as spousal support and property division, and have peace of mind knowing that your financial future is no longer at risk. Once your San Diego postnuptial agreement is signed, the contract is legally binding and both spouses will be required to abide by the terms of the contract in the event of a divorce, and it is imperative that you have an experienced attorney on your side who can represent your best interests in negotiating, reviewing or disputing the agreement.
A prenuptial agreement is a sound legal option for married couples to create a plan for their future, but in order for a postnup to be enforceable during a divorce proceeding, it must be a valid contract and follow all relevant California laws. If you and your spouse are considering a postnuptial agreement, your first course of action should be to contact an attorney with experience drafting and reviewing postnuptial agreements. At (619) Divorce, our legal team is committed to providing expert legal representation, and not only will we do everything in our power to protect your rights and assets, we will also ensure that all the legal procedures for a valid postnuptial agreement are properly executed, to minimize the risk of any disputes later on. We understand that negotiating a fair and reasonable postnuptial agreement that both spouses can agree on is imperative, and we will listen to your questions and concerns and give you the individualized legal attention you deserve.
Postnuptial Agreements in San Diego
Similar to a San Diego prenuptial agreement, which is a legal contract spouses enter into prior to a marriage, a postnuptial agreement or post-marital agreement, is a similar legal contract that spouses who are already married agree to in order to lay out the legal provisions for property division, spousal support and other important matters that may arise in the event of a divorce, the death of one of the spouses, or a significant change in circumstances. In many cases, a postnup becomes necessary because the spouses were either not ready or not willing to sign a prenup before their marriage. In other cases, the circumstances of the marriage may have changed, making it necessary for the spouses to have provisions in place that protect them both should they end up getting a divorce. Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are most common among wealthy spouses who own businesses or have significant assets, investment income and high-value marital property. However, any couple that is married or has entered into a civil union in San Diego can get a postnuptial agreement, no matter what their finances look like.
Voiding a Postnuptial Agreement
Signing a postnuptial agreement can help protect couples and may even strengthen their marriage. However, there are certain circumstances in which postnuptial agreements in San Diego may be voided. If one spouse fails to fully disclose all of his or her assets during the preparation of the postnup, for instance, this would constitute fraud and the postnuptial agreement would be vacated by the court. Additionally, if it can be shown that one spouse was coerced, threatened, deceived or physically forced to sign the postnup, the contract would be nullified and the spouses would no longer be legally bound by the terms of the agreement. California law also requires that postnuptial agreements be reasonable and fair, and the court has the right to dismiss a postnup if the contract is deemed to be unfairly and unreasonably favorable to one spouse over the other.
Protecting Your Assets with a Postnuptial Agreement
Most people know about prenuptial agreements, or “prenups,” but few people realize that there is a similar legal contract spouses can enter into after they have already been married. A postnuptial agreement serves many of the same purposes as a prenup with regard to protecting the rights and assets of the spouses. For instance, a married couple can use a postnuptial agreement to make provisions for the division of marital property in the event of a divorce. A postnup can also be used to set forth the terms for other divorce-related items, such as who pays spousal support, who gets to continue living in the couple’s primary residence after the divorce, and who is responsible for marital debts, such as mortgages, credit card bills or loans. For many couples who divorce, the process is traumatic and costly and full of surprises, most of them not good. Couples with a San Diego postnuptial agreement that lays out all or many of the issues they might face in the event that the marriage doesn’t work out, can eliminate the element of surprise, minimize the potential for future conflict and avoid significant financial loss.
Community Property Laws in San Diego
California is a community property state, which means that all property and assets acquired by a couple during a marriage is considered community property and is therefore subject to division in a divorce. According to California law, spouses share equal ownership of community property and, absent a postnuptial agreement stating otherwise, all community property will be equitably divided between the spouses in the event of a divorce. This is one of the most common causes of disputes in San Diego divorce proceedings – when spouses disagree on the fair and proper division of their marital property – and that is why many couples with significant income and high-value assets decide to sign prenuptial or postnuptial agreements. Compared to community property, separate property is property owned by one spouse or the other prior to the marriage, and when a couple divorces, each spouse’s separate property is generally theirs to keep. In some cases, however, when separate property becomes combined with community property during a marriage, the division of marital property can become complicated and contentious. For instance, if a couple gets married and moves into a home that one of the spouses purchased prior to the marriage, the home would typically be considered separate property and would stay in the purchasing spouse’s possession in the event of a divorce. However, if the other spouse paid into the mortgage and helped maintain the home during the marriage, that spouse could potentially claim an interest in the house during a divorce if there is no postnuptial agreement in place that sets forth the provisions for marital property division.
Who Benefits from Postnuptial Agreements?
While many couples may not be ready to sign a prenuptial agreement before getting married, once they have been married for a time and have a better grasp on the status of their finances and the future of their relationship, signing a postnuptial agreement can be a great way for both partners to protect themselves and prepare for the future. There are countless reasons why a married couple may decide to sign a postnuptial agreement, including under the following circumstances:
- The status of the relationship has changed
- Financial investments or property investments have changed
- The spouses are planning to get a divorce
- One of the spouses is ill or terminally ill
- One or both spouses’ job status and income have changed
- The couple is moving to a non-community property state
- One or both spouses have started a business
There are many benefits to negotiating and signing a postnuptial agreement. Not only can a postnup open the line of communication between you and your spouse, it can also encourage you to discuss potential issues that may arise in the future, such as divorce or death, and reach a mutually agreeable solution to these issues. You can also use a postnup as an opportunity to organize the financial goals and priorities of your marriage, such as paying for vacations and your children’s education, while setting aside money for retirement, and discuss the best way to achieve these goals.
How a San Diego Postnuptial Agreement Lawyer Can Help
Drafting, negotiating and signing a fair, reasonable and valid postnuptial agreement in San Diego can be complicated, especially if the couple in question has significant property, investment income and other assets, and the process typically involves valuating all investments and businesses and disclosing all income, assets and debts, in order to get a clear picture of the couple’s finances. This process requires the legal expertise of a knowledgeable attorney who has experience drafting postnuptial agreements in San Diego and working with financial experts to accurately determine the value and fair division of marital property in the event of a divorce. At (619) Divorce, our attorneys have earned a reputation for honest and competent legal representation and we have a clear understanding of California postnuptial agreement law and how it applies to your case.
Talking about money, assets, divorce and death with your spouse can be awkward and uncomfortable, especially if the two of you disagree on certain items, such as who should take responsibility for paying off marital debt and which spouse should be named on the property. However, while most people see marriage as a romantic union, it is also an economic partnership, and any financial issues you or your spouse are concerned about should be dealt with before something, like a divorce, forces your hand and makes the process exceptionally more difficult. One of the easiest and most effective ways to express any financial concerns to your spouse, settle any potential issues and get a clear picture of your financial status as a couple is to form a postnuptial agreement. Attorney Steve Smith and our team of lawyers at (619) Divorce are skilled and experienced in all divorce and family law matters, including postnuptial agreements, and we can help you determine the best course of action for your specific situation.
Consult Our San Diego Postnuptial Agreement Lawyers
Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements carry a negative stigma, being that they only go into effect in the event of a divorce, but this type of legal contract does not have to be a black mark on your marriage. Rather, a fair and reasonable postnup is a healthy part of any happy marriage and the process of planning for a worst-case scenario like divorce may actually help prevent some of the uncertainty and unrest that causes marriages to break down in the first place. By working together to create a mutually agreeable plan for the future, you and your spouse could even strengthen your relationship and improve the quality of your existing marriage. If you are considering signing a postnuptial agreement in San Diego, it is imperative that you seek legal guidance from an experienced San Diego postnuptial agreement lawyer.