When Should You Consider a Postnuptial Agreement?

You and your spouse didn’t put a prenuptial agreement in place before your wedding. Perhaps you didn’t think you needed one, perhaps one of you was strongly against the idea or maybe you just never got around to it.

Now things have changed in your finances and/or your life in general. It’s too late for a prenup, but not for a postnuptial agreement. Postnups can serve the same purpose as prenups. Couples can designate how their assets will be divided should they divorce. They can be used for other purposes as well, such as designating spousal support terms.

You and your spouse can decide to get a postnup any time and for any number of reasons. For example, perhaps you have built a successful business since you married, and you want to make sure that the business goes solely to you in a divorce. Without such a stipulation in a postnup, your spouse may be entitled to a percentage of it in a divorce, even if they had no involvement in building or managing the business.

Maybe you received an inheritance after you got married. While that would typically be considered an individual asset that you’d keep rather than a marital asset that you’d split in a divorce, inheritance funds can easily become commingled with marital funds in joint bank accounts. A postnup can help you leave a marriage with the full amount of money you inherited.

Of course, when things change in a marriage — like one spouse getting a high-earning job or perhaps taking time out of the workforce to raise the kids — they may seek to protect their financial interests in case the marriage ends. The same is true if one spouse has taken on considerable debt.

If you’re considering putting a postnup in place, it’s wise for you and your spouse to have your own California family law attorney involved in the process. This can help ensure that your interests are protected and that the agreement is fair to both of you.

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