PRENUPTIAL AGREEMENTS IN SAN DIEGO: EXPERIENCED LEGAL COUNSEL
Award-Winning Family Law Offices of Beatrice L. Snider, APC
If either party has significant assets accumulated prior to marriage, or wishes to protect any later-acquired assets, a properly drafted Prenuptial Agreement is a valuable tool.
What is a Prenuptial Agreement or “prenup”?
A prenuptial agreement is a legally binding contract that outlines the financial and property rights of each spouse in the event of a divorce, legal separation, nullity, or death. It is typically created by couples before they get married and can cover issues such as asset division, spousal support, and the ownership of businesses or properties.
Prenuptial agreements cannot address issues of child custody or child support. These agreements can be helpful for couples who want to protect their assets and plan for the future, but it is essential for both parties to fully disclose their financial situation and seek legal advice before signing.
What is a Postnuptial Agreement or “postnup”?
A postnuptial agreement is a legally binding contract similar to a prenuptial agreement, but it is entered into by a married couple after they have tied the knot. Like a prenup, a postnup can outline the financial and property rights of each spouse in the event of a divorce or the death of one spouse. It can also address issues such as spousal support and the division of assets.
Postnuptial agreements can be useful for couples who want to make changes to their financial arrangements after they are married, or for couples who did not have a prenuptial agreement in place before their marriage and want to protect their assets. Everyone involved should fully disclose their financial situation and seek legal counsel before entering into a postnuptial agreement. However, unlike a prenuptial agreement, after marriage the spouses have certain fiduciary duties to each other. In order to be enforceable, care should be exercised to make sure that any postnuptial agreement is fair and provides benefit to each party.
What Can Be Included in a Prenup or Postnup?
Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements can address a wide range of issues related to the financial and property rights of each spouse. Some of the things that may be included in a prenup or postnup are –
- Division of assets: This can include the division of property, such as real estate, personal possessions, and investments, as well as debts and liabilities.
- Spousal support: A prenup or postnup can outline the amount and duration of spousal support that will be paid in the event of a divorce.
- Business ownership: If one spouse owns a business, a prenup or postnup can outline how the business will be treated in the event of a divorce or death.
- Inheritance: A prenup or postnup can specify how inherited assets will be handled in the event of a divorce or death.
- Retirement or deferred compensation assets: The parties can agree not only to the ownership of premarital retirement assets but also the deferred compensation assets that may be acquired during marriage.
- Other financial matters: A prenup or postnup can address other financial issues, such as the management of joint bank accounts, the payment of bills, and the distribution of income and assets.
What Cannot Be Included In A Prenup Or Postnup?
There are certain things that cannot be included in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. These include –
- Illegal provisions: Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements cannot contain provisions that are illegal or against public policy.
- Child custody and child support: Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements cannot address issues of child custody or child support, as these matters are typically determined by a court based on the best interests of the child.
- Unfair provisions: Postnuptial agreements must be fair and reasonable. If a court determines that an agreement is unfairly one-sided or creates an undue hardship for one spouse, it may be deemed invalid. Although there is no requirement of consideration for a prenuptial agreement, one that is too heavy-handed in providing a waiver of rights by the less advantaged party, may make the agreement more difficult to enforce.
Again, it is important that both parties are honest and forthcoming when creating either document. They are designed to be protective, impartial, and fair, but that can only be upheld if they are created with all available information.
How Can a Prenuptial Agreement Protect an Individual’s Assets?
A Prenuptial Agreement in California can provide that legally specified assets will remain the separate property of the spouse who owned those assets prior to marriage, regardless of whether or not additional contributions of work or money during marriage. A Prenuptial Agreement can provide that earnings or other assets accumulated during marriage that otherwise would be community property, will be characterized as the separate property of the spouse receiving these sums. A Prenuptial Agreement may specify how living expenses are to be paid or apportioned between the parties.
A Prenuptial Agreement may set forth how real estate or other assets will be acquired or titled in the future. The agreement may change the separate property of one spouse to community property in California. A Prenuptial Agreement should be coordinated with the parties’ estate planning experts. Frequently, a Prenuptial Agreement will provide benefits that are different in amount and nature if a party is the surviving spouse rather than a spouse involved in California divorce litigation.
A premarital contract can provide for a cash payment to one spouse in the event of a divorce, in lieu of any property rights. It is possible for a Prenuptial Agreement to contain provisions waiving or limiting spousal support; however, that provision may not be enforceable at the time of dissolution depending on the circumstances of the parties.
Preparing a Nuptial Agreement in San Diego
A Prenuptial Agreement should contain a full and complete disclosure of all assets and debts of each party. The Prenuptial Agreement should be prepared as far in advance of the potential wedding date as possible. There are certain specific time limits affecting the enforceability of a Prenuptial Agreement. Each side should be represented by competent family law counsel, who acknowledge he or she has explained to the client the meaning of the agreement including, any rights that may be waived, and that the agreement is executed without any pressure or duress.
In addition to an agreement that is entered into prior to marriage, the parties may enter into a contract for a Postnuptial Agreement. In a Prenuptial Agreement, there is no requirement that either party provide the other any consideration in exchange for the agreement. In contrast, in an agreement entered into by the parties after marriage, the San Diego Family Court may require that some benefit of value be conferred on a party who is giving up any rights, in order for the Postnuptial Agreement to be enforceable.
Can I write my own prenup in California?
Yes, you can write your own prenuptial agreement in California. However, prenuptial agreements are legally binding contracts, and it is important to ensure that the agreement is properly drafted and meets all legal requirements. If you choose to write your own prenup, be aware of the legal requirements for prenuptial agreements in California and seek the advice of a legal professional to ensure that the agreement is enforceable.
In California, prenuptial agreements must be in writing and signed by both parties. The agreement must also be entered into voluntarily, without any fraud, duress, or undue influence. It is important for both parties to fully disclose their financial situation and seek legal counsel before entering into a prenuptial agreement. This will help ensure that the agreement is fair and legally enforceable.
How much do prenups cost in California?
A prenuptial agreement can range from a few thousand dollars, on up, depending on the complexity of the agreement, the number of assets and the debts involved, and the time spent negotiating with the other side.
Keep in mind that the cost of a prenuptial agreement is often a worthwhile investment, as it can help protect your assets and provide clarity and peace of mind for both you and your spouse.
A carefully drafted prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can help to save attorneys’ fees in the event of a dissolution, legal separation, nullity action, or death of one of the parties.
Can Prenuptial Or Postnuptial Agreements Be Voided In California?
In California, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are generally enforceable if they are entered voluntarily and are fair and reasonable at the time they are signed. However, there are circumstances in which these agreements can be challenged or voided.
One reason a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement might be void is if it was signed under duress. This means that one party was forced to sign the agreement against their will. If a court finds that a party was coerced into signing an agreement, it may be deemed invalid.
Another reason a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement might be void is if it is found to be unconscionable, extremely one-sided, and unfairly favorable to one party. A court may choose not to enforce an agreement if it finds that it is not fair and reasonable.
Finally, a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement may be void if it was not properly executed. This means that it was not signed in accordance with the legal requirements for such agreements in California. For example, the agreement must be in writing, signed by both parties, and in accordance with the required time limits. If any of these requirements are not met, the agreement may not be enforceable.
Furthermore, even if a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement is enforceable concerning the ownership and assets, the California court reviews the spousal support provisions at the time of any dissolution, legal separation, or nullity action. Under certain circumstances, the court can refuse to enforce a waiver or other limitations on spousal support rights.
It is important to note that the laws surrounding prenuptial and postnuptial agreements can be complex and may vary from state to state. If you have questions about the enforceability of a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement in California, it is a good idea to speak with an experienced family law attorney.
How Will A San Diego Family Law Attorney Help With My Prenup Or Postnup?
A San Diego family law attorney can help you with your prenuptial or postnuptial agreement in a number of ways.
First, an attorney can advise you on the legal requirements for these agreements in California and help you ensure that your agreement meets all necessary requirements. This helps to defend your agreement, in the event that it is challenged in court.
Second, a family law attorney can help you understand the potential implications of a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement on your rights and responsibilities during your marriage, as well as in the event of a divorce. This can help you make informed decisions about what to include in your agreement.
Third, an attorney can help you negotiate the terms of your agreement with your spouse or partner. This can be especially important if you and your spouse or partner have significantly different financial circumstances or assets, or if you have different expectations about how you want your marriage to be structured.
Finally, an attorney can help you draft a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement that clearly and accurately reflects your intentions and agreements with your spouse or partner. This can help to reduce the risk of misunderstandings or disputes arising in the future.
Overall, working with a San Diego family law attorney can help you navigate the process of creating a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement and give you peace of mind that your interests are protected.
Schedule a Call With Our Award-Winning, San Diego Family Law Attorneys
The San Diego divorce lawyers at the Law Offices of Beatrice L. Snider, APC routinely represent parties in negotiating, drafting and providing advice concerning Prenuptial Agreements and Postnuptial Agreements. In addition, we represent clients in litigating the enforceability of these agreements.