What’s The Difference Between Prenuptial & Postnuptial Agreements?

A prenuptial agreement is a contract created by two people before they get married. A postnuptial agreement is almost identical to a prenuptial agreement, but it is created by a couple once they are already married instead of before they are married.

A prenup can help protect each spouse’s premarital assets since property and income in a marriage would otherwise become community property. In prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, the couple determines how they will divide their financial assets and allocate debts should the marriage ever end.

These agreements may also outline each party’s responsibilities during the marriage. However, pre and postnups cannot address the allocation of parental responsibilities or the amount of child support that will be paid if the couple has children and gets divorced.

In case of a spouse's death, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements can also outline financial distributions. This can be particularly important for couples with children from previous marriages.

Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements can also outline the amount and duration of maintenance/alimony payments should the couple ever get divorced.

Do You Need A Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreement?

The state of California is a community property state. This means that in the absence of a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement saying otherwise, all property– including earnings acquired by the parties during marriage– is presumed to be community property.

Prenups are crucial for couples if at least one of them has significant assets, a large estate, or expects to receive a large inheritance or distribution from a family trust. A prenuptial agreement can also keep a spouse’s property separate to protect it from a new spouse’s debt, or to protect pre existing children’s inheritance rights.

Married couples often choose to create a postnuptial agreement if one of the spouses recently received a large inheritance or a gift, such as a family home, and wants to claim it as their own. Couples may also decide on a postnup if their marriage is struggling and they want the the agreement to serve as an ultimatum.

It’s important to know that spouses can amend or revoke their prenuptial agreement at any time after they are married.

Contact A San Diego Attorney For Prenup & Postnup Agreements

Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are not guaranteed to be enforced and can sometimes be discarded by the courts if they are determined to have been signed under duress, or if they don’t meet certain requirements. That’s why it’s critical to have an experienced attorney draft your prenup or postnup.

San Diego Family Law Attorney Anton L. Georghiou is experienced in both prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. Contact him today for a free consultation.