Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements
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Elaine L. Heine drafts, modifies and reviews all types of Marital Agreements and Related Contracts. Many couples choose to be proactive in their financial affairs and determine which assets should be joint and which assets should remain separate.
Protect your financial stability and take control, don’t let the state decide what to do with your assets! Absent a pre/postnuptial agreement, state law will typically control the division of assets and dictate any spousal support obligations in the event of divorce. The agreement allows a couple to decide for themselves what should happen in the event of divorce rather than relying on state law.
Prenuptial Agreements (Before Marriage)A prenuptial agreement allows you to gain control over your future financial situation and provide you with peace of mind. A prenuptial (or premarital) agreement is "an agreement between prospective spouses made in contemplation of marriage and to be effective upon marriage”. A Prenuptial agreement may deal with a wide variety of issues between prospective spouses including: the rights and obligations of each of the parties in any of the property of either or both of them acquired before the marriage; the rights and obligations of each of the parties in any of the property of either or both of them acquired after the marriage; and the disposition of property and payment of spousal support upon separation, divorce, or death. Elaine Heine has drafted hundreds of prenuptial agreements and can advise you on terms that are beneficial to your particular circumstance.
Prenuptial agreements may be particularly relevant in the following situations:
Marriage between partners with pre-existing assets and debts
The average age of marital partners is increasing.These partners typically enter into marriage with more assets, earning power and more debt. Talking about money is part of the commitment of getting married. An agreement can ensure both parties have control over their financial future and dictate how their assets and debts are to be divided and how the parties shall be supported, if necessary.
A Prenuptial agreement addressing the business will ensure there is no disruption to the business by either 1) the spouse acquiring a financial interest in the business requiring the other partners to buy that interest upon divorce or 2) the spouse gaining an ownership interest in the business and having voting rights in business decisions.
Prenuptial agreements are more common for couple entering second marriages, especially if they have children from prior relationships, assets and debts.
Expectation of inheritance
A prenuptial agreement may be helpful if one or both prospective spouses expect to receive an inheritance in the future.
Spouse to leave the workforce
If a prospective spouse plans to leave the workforce to care for children or other domestic responsibilities, a prenuptial agreement may be used to address the significant non-monetary value of this contribution.
Timing of a Prenuptial Agreement
A prenuptial agreement should be completed as early as six months to a year before a wedding date to ensure that both parties have had time to review it. California law requires that a prospective spouse has not less than seven (7) calendar days between the time that party was first presented with the agreement and advised to seek independent legal counsel, and the time the agreement was signed.
Postnuptial Agreements (During Marriage)
A post-nuptial agreement is a voluntary marriage contract between spouses that is created after their wedding. Many married couples create post-nuptial agreements to help resolve issues in their marriage by removing a source of disagreement over finances, assets, inheritances, children, etc.
Review and Amend Marital Agreements
If your prospective spouse has had an agreement drafted, we can review the agreement and discuss the important controlling parts of it with you - in essence interpret the contract for you and make suggestions accordingly. We can also amend a previously signed agreement if your intentions or other important circumstances have changed. It is recommended that you review your agreement every five years or so and make amendments to reflect changes in your income and asset holdings, or intentions.
Some of the areas in which Heine Law clients have chosen to protect their assetts through ownership percentages are: