A good number of married people in California are hesitant about introducing the subject of a postnuptial agreement to their spouses. Unlike the beliefs of many, these documents don’t necessarily predict a future divorce – they can actually save a marriage.
Misconceptions such as those believing that postnuptial agreements are for the rich and wealthy, or for people that had previously been married are slowly being debunked. It could be the reason Fresno family law attorneys in firms like Tomassian, Pimentel & Shapazian have recorded increasing numbers of people seeking guidance on postnuptial agreements.
What is the Role of a Postnuptial Agreement?
A postnuptial agreement is a great way for couples to explore various financial topics that might affect their marriage later on. It helps to relieve the tension, define the responsibilities of each spouse, and keep the spouses on the same page.
They can help you two establish:
- Who would get the family home in divorce
- Spousal support/alimony payments
- How infidelity would affect a divorce settlement
- Retirement account division in divorce
- Property division in case of divorce
- How assets would be allocated to children in a blended family
- The fate of a small business in case of death, incapacitation, or divorce
- Future financial priorities
- The spouse responsible for particular debts
Couples that need help in coming up with such arrangements can take advantage of the expertise of a Fresno postnuptial agreement lawyer. Notably, postnuptial agreements that are not properly prepared might not be enforceable in California. But your attorney will make sure that whatever you agree on meets all the threshold of a fair and acceptable postnuptial agreement.
What Can Make a Postnuptial Agreement Unenforceable?
Since post-nuptial agreements are written under strain, they are likely to be abused. That is why the courts tend to scrutinize and sometimes refuse to approve of it or even void it. It is advisable to ask a Fresno postnuptial agreement attorney to preview the document before signing it, to avoid the instance of it being unenforceable.
A postnuptial can be voided if either party proves that it was written under the following circumstances:
No Capacity to Sign
Someone could be let out of a contract if they were not in their right mind. For instance, having a severe psychiatric condition or being in the early stages of dementia makes you unfit to sign any contract, including postnuptial agreements.
Agreements that clearly favor one party might not be approved in court. This includes postnuptial agreements that leave one spouse with nothing and give the other spouse nearly everything.
It takes two free minds to enter into an agreement legally. Threats and coercion can make a prenuptial agreement void. It could be threats to cut them from accessing a joint account, or threatening to change financial arrangements for failure to agree to a particular arrangement.
Both spouses are required to fully disclose all the assets and liabilities during the negotiation of the postnuptial agreement. Fraud comes in the form of one partner failing to disclose some of the assets or undervaluing them.
What are the Common Reasons for People to Enter a Postnuptial Agreement?
Couples in the United States opt to enter into postnuptial agreements for various reasons. But the common reasons or inspirations include:
- Regrets for Not Having Prenuptial Agreements. Perhaps the realities of marriage start sinking in, or you didn’t have enough time to prepare the prenuptial agreement before the wedding. A postnuptial can work similar to the prenuptial agreement, just that it is prepared while already in marriage.
- Infidelity Incident. When one partner has infidelity tendencies in marriage, they might receive forgiveness on the condition that they put a postnuptial agreement in place. The offended spouse will have peace knowing that in case the infidelity happens again, the division of assets is already pre-determined.
- One Spouse Plans to Open a Business. Usually, any property acquired during the marriage belongs to the couple on a 50/50 basis. So, if one party wants to protect their business interests or that of a partnership they are in, they can use a postnuptial agreement.
- Financial Circumstances Changing. When a spouse misappropriates funds, or they win a lottery, the couple can decide to have a postnuptial agreement. They might clarify financial and debt responsibilities separately.
- One Spouse Stops Working. Sometimes, one spouse gives up their career to stay home and take care of the children. In such instances, they might want a postnuptial agreement to be assured that they will be taken care of in case of a dissolution of marriage.
- Prior Children. Postnuptial agreements can also work as an estate planning tool to ensure that children from previous relationships are taken care of.
Whatever your inspiration for getting a postnuptial agreement is, make sure that you don’t take the journey without the guidance of a California postnuptial lawyer.
How Do I Get a Postnuptial Agreement?
The first thing spouses need to consider before entering into a postnuptial agreement is whether it will help them achieve their goals. A Fresno family law attorney experienced in these types of agreements can help you evaluate whether your needs and interests will be safeguarded.
If you think a postnuptial is right for you and your marriage, you and your spouse will have to provide the attorney with a list of all your assets. Afterward, they can discuss their concerns and goals, and eventually reach an agreement.
A California Law Firm Protecting Your Family
Having a postnuptial agreement is a great way to have open conversations with your spouse, regarding properties and finances. It is okay to have fears about your partner’s reaction, but they might actually be receptive to the idea.
But due to the strict laws on postnuptial agreements in California, couples need to be keen about how they draft it and the related circumstances. The courts in Fresno do not hesitate in throwing out prenuptial agreements on the grounds of unenforceability.
Involving an experienced attorney is a great way to ensure that you get it right the first time. Book a case evaluation with us and let us guide you through the process.