Postnuptial agreements have been on the rise in recent years, yet many people are still unfamiliar with what exactly they are. Functioning much the same as prenuptial agreements, postnuptial agreements are written and executed as a plan for a couple’s asset and property division in the event of separation or divorce. The difference between prenuptial and postnuptial agreements is that prenuptial agreements are signed and executed before marriage and postnuptial agreements are executed after a couple is already legally married. The benefits and disadvantages of postnuptial agreements are the same for both heterosexual and same-sex marriages. A Ventura, CA postnuptial agreement attorney from the Law Offices of Bamieh & De Smeth discusses the pros and cons of postnuptial agreements:
Pros of Postnuptial Agreements in California
While it may seem strange to enter into a contract with your spouse for asset division, there are certainly benefits to this type of agreement. Postnuptial agreements are designed to formalize the division of assets in the event that a couple splits. Some of the pros of signing a postnuptial agreement include the following:
When a couple is newly engaged and planning for a wedding, bringing up the topic of prenuptial agreements can be the ultimate romance killer. Someone who is interested in the idea of a prenup may decide not to go through with it for fear of ruining the wedding. Since a postnuptial agreement can be made at any point during the marriage, it may avoid the early conflict to make a similar agreement later
If one or both spouses have children from a previous relationship or marriage, a postnuptial agreement can help ensure that designated assets go to their children instead of their spouse.
Some people opine that postnuptial agreements can actually improve a couple’s marriage. Discussing difficult topics such as spending habits and finances can open the door for honest conversation that may not be the norm for some couples. Addressing these issues can help couples make necessary lifestyle changes that could strengthen their relationship in the long run.
If there has been a significant change in circumstances that foreshadows separation or divorce, postnuptial agreements can serve as a last-ditch effort to safeguard assets. When a couple has experienced infidelity, financial loss, or other trials and tribulations that have weakened the marriage, postnuptial agreements can alleviate the stress of potential divorce proceedings and issues with asset division.
Once a couple has been married for a period of time, they may have a better idea of what their interests are in terms of finances and property. As the years go by, people make career changes, may become sick or disabled, and experience changes in financial circumstances. A Ventura divorce lawyer can help you draft an agreement that protects the interests of both you and your spouse.
Cons of Postnuptial Agreements in California
There are no one-size-fits-all contracts in any context, especially when marriage and divorce are involved. While postnuptial agreements can certainly benefit one or both spouses, they are not without drawbacks. Below is a list of some of the cons of postnuptial agreements:
Rationally, most people know that the concept of “living happily ever after” is not feasible for every couple. Nevertheless, the prospect of drafting a postnuptial agreement, even though it is only a safeguard, can feel like a setup for failure. If the postnuptial agreement is drafted after a couple has experienced traumatic events such as infidelity, it can feel like divorce is on the horizon.
The validity of postnuptial agreements is decided by the courts. Even if both parties willingly sign the agreement, a judge may choose not to enforce it if it is found to be significantly one-sided or unreasonable.
While confronting issues such as finances head on can be beneficial to some couples, it can also go completely sideways if spouses can’t reach an agreement. Some people may not want a lifestyle change, and drafting a postnuptial agreement that forces them to change their standard of living can lead to marital problems and ultimately divorce.
If there is a large disparity between incomes, or if one spouse works and one spouse stays home, the spouse with the lower income may feel pressured into signing a postnuptial agreement. Spouses with larger incomes may feel like they have the upper hand and the ability to draft an agreement that may benefit them over their spouse.
Spouses who come up with the idea of signing a postnuptial agreement may not relay this to their spouse in a delicate, sensitive way, which can cause hurt feelings. The other spouse may feel insulted, and more marital problems could ensue as a result of this.
Ventura County Divorce Attorneys
If you need help drafting or enforcing a postnuptial agreement, call the Ventura family law attorneys at the Law Offices of Bamieh & De Smeth. Our experienced attorneys will answer any questions you may have regarding postnuptial agreements and can give an honest assessment of the interests you want to protect. Call the Law Offices of Bamieh & De Smeth today at (805) 585-5056 to schedule a free, confidential consultation with one of our Ventura County divorce attorneys.