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Postnuptial Agreements

If you’re already married, it’s not too late to make an agreement which addresses and resolves similar issues to those addressed in a prenup.  Because the agreement is entered into after the nuptial (wedding) ceremony we call them Postnuptial agreements.  Some call such contracts midnuptial or internuptial agreements and they are sometimes mistakenly referred to as Postmarital agreements.  The last is incorrect since the term “postmarital” means “after marriage” and the purpose of these agreements is to establish new conditions while the parties are still married.

Recently a couple came in together to discuss divorce mediation with us.  They said that they wanted to get divorced so they could put their financial differences behind them and start over again… with each other.  They wanted to get divorced so they could return to the relationship they had when they were dating each other.

Based on all of the information they shared and the goals they both expressed, I suggested that they enter into a postnuptial agreement instead of getting divorced.  First, they’d save money not having to file a petition for dissolution and not having to go through the legal service of process and subsequent mandatory filings.  Second, if their only issues were financial issues, we could address most of them* in a postnuptial agreement and avoid the stigma often associated with divorce.  They thought this was a splendid idea and we were able to complete the whole process at a fraction of the time and cost of a divorce AND they continue to celebrate their wedding anniversary without complicated explanations or justifications.

Case law on the issue of postnuptial agreements continues to evolve so in order to best ensure enforceability our experienced family lawyers advise that Postnuptial agreements be prepared and entered into with the same level of formality and financial disclosure as a prenuptial or dissolution agreement.  

If you think your relationship would benefit from the “reset” a postnuptial agreement might provide, contact our experienced family law attorneys at (818) 348-6700 or by sending us an e-mail.

* California Family Code section 1620 and case law prohibit a postnuptial agreement from addressing support issues or terms which would violate public policy.