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Premarital And Post-Marital Agreements

A Prenuptial (or Premarital) Agreement (“PMA”) is a contract between couples contemplating marriage. 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. A Prenuptial Agreement contracts out of the community property scheme of CA, and allows a husband and wife to stipulate such terms as: income after marriage, spousal support, property rights, inheritance rights, debts, etc, at time of dissolution. The effect of a PMA is to minimize the weight of the family court and case law on the consequences of divorce, and places the control back in the hands of the parties rather than the court and the family law attorneys.

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 (receptacle) of the separate assets, and it ensures that they will not be divided in divorce, or 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.

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.

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