Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements – What Are They?

prenuptial and postnuptial agreement

prenuptial and postnuptial agreement of coupleHave you ever wondered about prenuptial or postnuptial agreements and what they actually are? You might’ve wondered whether you even need a prenuptial agreement.  Or, you might be giving consideration to starting up a business and wondered if you require a postnuptial agreement to protect your property and spouse?  It is nearing the end of the year.  This means spring weddings are around the corner.  Also, it means several businesses are getting prepared to finalize paperwork to start businesses in the new year.  It is a good time to look at prenuptial and postnuptial agreements.  Therefore, what is involved?

Prenup Agreements

Prenups are merely agreements that alter marital property rights without getting a court involved.  They’re more common as one or even both prospective partners have assets or property coming into the marriage – like a marriage later in life or a second marriage.  Also, prenup agreement may address a payment of living expenses and support, a division of household responsibilities, sharing of child-rearing tasks, religious upbringing of kids, and processes for conflict resolution.  They aren’t allowed to adversely impact child support or defraud a creditor.

Prenups have to be in writing.  Both parties have to have had a chance to obtain a full disclosure of all financial obligations and property.  Best practice includes preparing and exchanging complete disclosures before signing the prenup.  The agreement has to be signed before marriage.


Did you not do a prenuptial agreement before you got married?  No need to worry!  A postnup agreement is like a prenup, it is just signed after both parties are married.  Spouses may, during any time, turn community property to separate property.  Why would you choose to do this?  Some prefer to have a “community free” marriage in order for each spouse to have her/his own property.  Also, spouses might want to partition separate income and property.  For instance, a spouse might begin a new business which carries risk.  A postnuptial agreement permits both spouses to protect the community estate and other partner from risk and tax/ income consequences posed by the fresh business venture.  Plus, a postnuptial agreement doesn’t have a pending wedding date which might be approaching and applying a lot of pressure to sign.

The collaborative process is perfect for prenuptial and post-nuptial agreements; clients have similar goals and what better way to reach an agreement than supported by a team?  It is important to remember these agreements are legal, financial and emotional, and each of your team members are experts in these areas. Negotiations may feel stressful at times and your team is there to support you and your spouse, or soon to be spouse, in the process no matter what issue arises. Collaborative Practice San Diego is a great resource of professionals with the specific knowledge and expertise necessary in these cases, please visit our website for more information.

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