Premarital and Postmarital Agreements
A prenuptial (or premarital) agreement (“PMA”) is a contract between couples contemplating marriage, whose goal is to contract out of the California's community property laws. Since California is a community property State, the rights and liabilities of married couples are very specific under the California family code, which treats the marital unit like a partnership with the requisite fiduciary duties and liabilities.
A Prenuptial Agreement contracts out of the community property laws of California, and allows a husband and wife to stipulate such terms as:
- Income after marriage
- Spousal support
- Property rights prior to and after marriage
- Inheritance rights
- Business ownership
The effect of a PMA is to minimize the weight of the family court and case law on the consequences of divorce. PMAs also place the control back in the hands of the parties, rather than the court and the family law attorneys - especially when it comes to property division and spousal support.
To learn more, please call the Law Offices of Maria N. Jonsson, PC a or contact us online to schedule a consultation.
How Premarital Agreements Fit into Your Estate Plan
A PMA is best paired with a Separate Property Trust. While the PMA is the expression of the parties' intent to keep their assets separate, the separate property Trust is that very vehicle (the "receptacle") of those very separate assets. It ensures that such separate property will not be divided in divorce or be subject to Probate if a spouse dies.
A PMA is a very technical document and can be deemed “void” if certain specific requirements in its terms and its execution are not precisely met. One of the elements for a validly executed PMA is that both parties are represented by their own respective legal counsel. A such, PMAs involve two attorneys – a Drafting Attorney, and a Reviewing Attorney. If you are presented with a PMA, it is your legal right and duty to have your own attorney review it with you.
What Is a Community Property Agreement?
A community property agreement and/or a marital agreement is a contract entered into by married couples who wish to define their property rights, liabilities, and responsibilities after marriage. It is utilized by those who never entered into a premarital agreement or by those who have a premarital agreement but wish to modify its terms after marriage. Like a premarital agreement, it generally requires that each spouse is separately represented by counsel. This is especially true since, after marriage, both spouses are bound by fiduciary duties to each other, and it is harder to establish that a Marital Agreement was entered into without undue influence.
How Our Firm Can Help
The Law Offices of Maria N. Jonsson, PC offers legal counsel and personalized representation for individuals and couples wishing to draft or modify prenuptial agreements, postnuptial agreements, and community property agreements. These agreements generally involve both a Drafting Attorney and a Reviewing Attorney.