Protecting assets after the marriage
In our last post, we discussed the benefits of having a prenuptial agreement in place before getting married. However, it is becoming increasingly popular for California couples to draw up a postnuptial agreement which is developed after the wedding.
Many people argue that they do not want to make plans for a divorce before they are even married so they do not want to draw up a prenuptial agreement. Even though this may be a bit of flawed logic, a postnuptial agreement is certainly a good alternative option for couples who have already tied the knot, but are starting to rethink their plans should the marriage come to an end.
As stated in the name, postnuptial agreements can be discussed and developed after a couple is married. While the timing may be different, postnuptial and prenuptial agreements can address the same topics. For example, they can both identify personal assets and lay out the distribution of these assets if the couple divorces. They may specify spousal support arrangements and can even assign responsibility for debt and shared bank accounts.
The difference between the agreements may be most evident in the motivations of spouses. In prenuptial agreements, a couple is happy and hoping for a lifetime together. This could make agreements fairer and less emotionally-driven. In terms of postnuptial agreements, a couple may already be arguing or focused primarily on individual security. The process may also require more compromise than prenups do.
However, as long as spouses, or soon-to-be spouses, are honest and upfront about with they have and what they want, the process can be beneficial for all parties. It can be helpful to work with a third party who can be objective when necessary and avoid taking sides. With effective support, an open mind and full disclosure, couples can draw up an agreement that takes into account each person’s financial futures.
Source: KABC-TV, “Postnuptial agreements becoming more common, signed after couples get married,” Ric Romero, Aug. 29, 2012
• Our firm works with those who are dealing with issues such as the ones identified in this post. For more information on how we help families, please visit our Huntington Beach Family Law page.