Experienced Stockton Prenuptial Agreement Attorneys
As divorce becomes increasingly common, prenuptial agreements have gained popularity as a means of protecting each spouse against the financial and legal ramifications typically associated with a high-conflict divorce. Often called prenups, prenuptial agreements are not always straightforward, however, and require foresight and emotional maturity from both parties. Due to how much is at stake, it is encouraged that you allow your prenup to be crafted by a caring and experienced Stockton prenuptial agreement attorney.
What is a Prenup, Exactly?
Prenuptial agreements are precautionary marital contracts signed and executed before a marriage. Essentially, prenuptial agreements are intended to describe the conditions of a marriage, as well as what each party would ostensibly receive in the event of divorce.
Prenups are seen as a rational solution to the difficulties associated with a marriage breakdown, as it allows the parties to contract around what is “fair” during a less emotionally-fraught time. If two spouses wait until their divorce to determine how best to split property assets, then they are much more likely to engage in a hostile, emotionally-charged dispute, in some cases even drawing out the conflict against their best interests.
Prenuptial Agreements in California Are Generally Enforced, But Not Always
In California, prenuptial agreements — as with other pre-existing contractual agreements — are favored by the courts, and are therefore generally enforced absent certain extenuating circumstances. Depending on how problematic these circumstances are, the prenuptial agreement may be invalidated and rendered unenforceable by law.
What factors will render a prenuptial agreement unenforceable in California? Consider the following non-exhaustive list:
- If the agreement was entered into under duress, pursuant to fraudulent misrepresentation, mistake, or otherwise without the express consent of either party;
- If the agreement was entered into without independent legal counsel;
- If enforcing the agreement would constitute a violation of public policy (i.e., if the prenuptial agreement requires that a child be raised in a particular religious background);
- If the agreement attempts to outline chilled custody and visitation rights.
Generally speaking, the content of a California prenuptial agreement may outline various marriage-related rights, as well as rights pertaining to the division and management of property assets. For example, your Stockton prenuptial agreement attorneys will include provisions concerning the payment of alimony, and concerning the distribution of community property.
It’s worth noting that the original terms of a prenuptial agreement need not be adhered to if both parties recognize that those terms are no longer necessary as-written. California law entitles the two spouses to modify (or even terminate) the prenuptial agreement, but modification requires the consent of both parties — further, care must be taken to ensure that each party has reviewed all the provisions (both current and prospective) and is fully-informed as to what the modification entails.
Postnuptial Agreements are Also Drafted by Our Prenuptial Agreement Attorneys
Postnuptial agreements follow the same rules as prenuptial agreements, except that they are entered into “after” the couple has gotten married, as opposed to “before” marriage. Though postnuptial agreements may seem a bit unorthodox to the general public, they are quite useful in situations where the couple is rational and amicable about protecting one another, particularly in light of new information.
For example, suppose that one spouse develops a substance abuse issue during marriage. This was not addressed by a prenuptial agreement, and the couple fears that this could impact their lifetime earning capacity, ability to manage assets effectively, and more. A postnuptial agreement might ensure that — if the substance abuse issue continues and a divorce is sought — that the spouse who does not have the substance abuse issue will receive the lion’s share of the couple’s total assets so that those assets are not wasted.
Contact MCJG for a Free Consultation
If you’d like to draft and execute a prenuptial agreement, or if you’re concerned about the enforcement of a pre-existing prenup, then it’s important that you speak to one of our experienced Stockton prenuptial agreement attorneys.
We encourage you to contact our firm at your earliest convenience. Call our firm at 209-477-8171 or complete an online intake form to schedule a free initial consultation today. Though our office is located in Stockton, we regularly handle divorce matters for clients located throughout the state of California.
At McKinley, Conger, Jolley & Galarneau, LLP, our attorneys have decades of experience working with clients in a range of divorce-related issues, from property division to child custody arrangements. We work closely with our clients — beginning-to-end — to ensure that we gain the information and insight necessary to provide truly personalized representation.