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Forgot to do a prenup? Do a postnup instead

Maybe you always intended to get your fiance to sign a prenuptial agreement but just never found the right words to broach the subject. Or, you felt that there was no need when you both were broke newlyweds.

But now, that internet startup you ran out of the basement has grown into a lucrative business. Should things go south in your marriage down the road, you want to make sure that its ownership remains solely with you.

A postnuptial agreement can be just what you need at this juncture of your marriage. It can detail which spouse owns what asset should divorce become a reality later. This can be very important in a community property state like California.

Your spouse might even welcome the idea because it takes the guesswork out of a property settlement. Remember, knowledge is power.

To be legally valid, postnups must:

  • Be done in writing. Oral agreements will not stand up in court.
  • Be voluntary. Neither party can be coerced into signing off on it.
  • Not have unconscionable terms. If only one spouse benefits, it's invalid.
  • Have full disclosure of any relevant information when signed.
  • Be signed by both spouses.

Postnuptial agreements may waive alimony but cannot address any child support or custody matters of any children.

They can also set the terms for what one spouse will receive should the marriage end due to the other spouse's infidelity. Some couples enter into postnups after an incident of infidelity brought the marriage to the brink of divorce.

If you would like to learn other ways that a postnup might be beneficial to you and your spouse, a California family law attorney is a good source for advice and guidance.

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John T. Chamberlin, Attorney at Law
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