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I’m Married – Is it Too Late for a Pre-Nuptial Agreement?

I’m Married – Is it Too Late for a Pre-Nuptial Agreement?

An Introduction to Post-Marital Agreements

By Sanjay A. Paul, Esq.

Attorney at Law 

            For most couples planning their nuptials, discussions of pre-nuptial, or pre-marital, agreements do not arise.  After a couple has been married for a few years, they may begin to acquire more assets, either in the form of property, income, inheritances, or investments.  As assets grow, a couple may begin to ask themselves why they did not secure a pre-nuptial agreement before.  No need to fear, however.  There is a legal device called a post-marital agreement that acts similarly to a pre-nuptial agreement, however it is devised after the couple is married, in contrast to pre-marital agreements, which are devised to be executed prior to marriage.

What is a post-marital agreement?

A post-marital agreement is a written contract executed after a couple is married or has entered into a civil union, to settle the couple’s affairs and assets in the event of a separation or divorce.  Provisions of the agreement vary widely, but commonly included provisions are for the division of property, spousal support, etc.

Why would anyone ever need a post-marital agreement?

There are several situations that may give rise to the need for a post-marital agreement: one spouse may begin to consider what spousal support will be offered to them, one spouse may have received an inheritance that he or she wishes to protect from community interest, there may have been a sudden large increase in income or assets that one spouse may like to protect from community interest.  The list of possibilities is endless.

What are some requirements of post-marital agreements?

In California, there are some rules governing post-nuptial agreements that must be followed in order for the agreement to be effective.  The first is that the agreement must be in writing.  This is a great requirement as it helps for the spouses to be able to refer to the promises that they made to each other.  The second requirement is that each spouse must have a separate lawyer.  Each spouse having a separate lawyer helps to ensure that the rights of both parties are equally represented and no spouse has an unfair advantage over the other.  In addition, a post-marital agreement must also be entered into while the marriage is still intact. A couple cannot enter into a post-marital agreement when they are anticipating a divorce. For more details, consult with an attorney today.

How can one find a post-marital agreement attorney?

            To determine whether you require a post-marital agreement, or what your post-marital agreement should contain to be effective, please feel free to consult with Sanjay A. Paul, Esq.,  call (626) 325-0770 now!