Prenuptial & Postnuptial Agreements

San Mateo Pre & Post-Nuptial Agreement Lawyers

“If people knew how expensive and time-consuming a divorce can be, they might be more cautious and plan ahead before getting married. It is easy to pick up a marriage license. It is often far more complicated to get divorced, particularly without a premarital agreement. If you are planning to get married, I highly recommend you speak with a family law attorney to understand the local state rules and discuss what could happen, worst case, if you were to divorce or separate.”

Caitlin Ashton

A prenuptial lawyer will tell you that a prenup represents the conversation most of us would rather not have. And that’s why it’s valuable.
We don’t talk easily about money. How much we earn, how much we have, how much we owe, these are all difficult topics for the average American. The consequences of our reluctance to talk about money before marriage are played out in divorce courts every day. This is the value of a prenuptial agreement, a legal document signed by the couple before they are married that establishes expectations regarding the rights to property, income, inheritance, children, and debts. 

Transparency is a form of intimacy. 
We believe that having conversations about our expectations as well as our assets and debts is good for a relationship. A prenup is a smart financial family plan. It asks a couple to be very clear and intentional about what they own and how they’d like to share it with their spouse or children. It’s a template for their shared future. 

A postnuptial agreement lawyer will tell you that a postnup is better than no nup.
A postnuptial agreement is a legal document establishing expectations regarding the rights to both partners’ property, businesses, income, inheritance, children, and debts, and it’s signed by the couple after they’re married. In other words, if you couldn’t get your act together to sign a prenup before the wedding, this is the alternative.

Do not try do this yourselves. 
To make sure that your prenup or postnup is in compliance with California state law, we suggest you not try to do this yourself: Why? Without a prenuptial agreement lawyer, this is the sort of thing that can get missed: unlike prenups, postnups require full disclosure of all assets and debts, and failure to do so can nullify the validity of the agreement OR postnups need court approval; prenups don’t AND neither prenup nor postnup can contain binding provisions regarding child custody or support, etc. 

Though neither a prenup nor a postnup can guarantee a smooth dissolution – even the best prenuptial lawyer can’t make that happen – one or the other is far better than nothing. Should you decide to end your marriage, a strong agreement can greatly simplify the consequences when you divorce. Again, only work with an experienced prenuptial lawyer or postnuptial lawyer, one who knows how to make an agreement enforceable.

Terminology

California operates on the community property principle when it comes to asset division in divorce: each spouse is entitled to half the marital property unless there’s a signed settlement agreement to the contrary. There are two categories of assets. Community property is property accumulated over the duration of the marriage. Separate property is gifts or inheritances, or assets acquired either before the marriage or after legal separation.

According to selfhelp.courts.ca.gov, if you took out a mortgage to buy a house while married, that debt is community property. You’re both responsible for it. If you bought a car with money that only you earned while married, the car is community property even though the money used to pay for it was earned by you and not your spouse.

Case Story

A Child Custody Client In Their Own Words

“In January 2022, we were reading thru an AARP magazine about finances and it said, If you’re interested in a topic, write us! So I wrote, ‘We want to co-mingle, and we’re trying to figure out if we should keep our own houses or move in together, don’t know what to do.’ And they did an article on us!! And my meeting with Caitlin came out of my consult with the woman who wrote the article!

First and foremost I wanted a prenuptial specialist, someone who focused on premarital agreements. And secondly I wanted it to be something I could afford, didn’t want to be taken advantage of just because I live in the Bay Area and really wanted to know that that person would actually like to help people, that it’s not just about the money. Also wanted someone I could communicate with well who would not speak legalese and have to explain things to me 3 or 4 times. Proximity was also important. We wanted someone within the same county. An easy drive.

I felt their fees were reasonable, they were fair and responsive. And there wasn’t a lot of nickel and diming where I’d be afraid I might get a bill if I ask a question. There was a flat fee, no hidden surprises. Caitlin’s very good at what she does. Her interpersonal style is relaxed and kind. She probably just comes with those qualities as a human being but law school didn’t take that out of her! I just wish she specialized in everything because at some point in time there are other things I’ll need and would like to go back to her! The personal connection makes all the difference.

I think the fears that come with marriage are alleviated to a large degree by a premarital agreement. We wanted to get married last year and I had everything ready on my end pending the return of my husband’s attorney and we were a little nervous because we didn’t want to change our wedding day. Caitlin worked well under that pressure and prioritized my need to get it done the week before the wedding.”

PAMELA

Next Step

Book a FREE consultation.

How we can help?

If you need an experienced prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement lawyer in Silicon Valley or the San Francisco Bay Area, let’s talk. Call us at 650.343.3486 or email us here.

Let’s get started.

The FOREFRONT A divorce & family law blog

Think About It: Is It Really So Strange To Have A Transactional Real Estate Lawyer At A Family Law Firm? We find it

You’re in luck because you’re in California, a community property state. And that makes the division of assets simple in that everything acquired

Amy Laughlin, a divorce and child custody lawyer in San Mateo, knows better than most what’s at stake for the children of divorcing parents.