Premarital and Postnuptial Agreements

Premarital Agreements (also called prenuptial or antenuptial agreements) are written agreements entered into before a marriage, generally concerning property and support. With the divorce rate in the US at nearly 50% of first marriages and 60% for second marriages, these types of agreements are becoming more and more common. Prenuptial agreements are especially important when one or both parties enter into a marriage with substantial personal assets and/or substantial earnings. Individuals with substantial assets and/or earnings frequently choose to enter into a premarital agreement in order to protect their earnings and assets.

Prenuptial agreements are now also very common among young professionals and parties entering into a second marriage or a marriage where the other spouse has substantial liabilities.

Prenuptial agreements address the termination of a marriage, not only in the event of divorce or separation but frequently also in the event of death.

The attorneys at Marx & Duffy, LLP have extensive experience in drafting and negotiating prenuptial agreements. Parties considering entering into a prenuptial agreement are urged to contact counsel as soon as possible because careful drafting, negotiation, and execution of a prenuptial agreement require advance planning. Agreements that are entered into at the last minute may not provide a party with all the protection he or she deserves.

Postnuptial agreements are written agreements entered into by spouses during their marriage. These agreements can identify and characterize property as separate or community and can, if the parties agree, determine their property rights in a manner other than they would be determined under California community property law. In many cases, the parties can also define their respective obligations to provide spousal support (alimony) to the other spouse in the event of a divorce.

Both premarital and postuptial agreements must be prepared in accordance with California law so that they will be valid and enforceable. Both parties should have independent attorneys to represent them in connection with the negotiation and preparation of these agreements.