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For many couples, a prenuptial agreement is a wise choice. A prenuptial agreement can help you protect premarital assets and plan for the unexpected, as you enter your marriage relationship. The attorneys at Rainey Law P.C. draft and review prenuptial and postnuptial agreements.

Prenuptial agreements are often considered by individuals who own businesses, or other valuable assets, prior to marriage, and parties who are getting married for a second time and want to preserve their estate for their children. A prenuptial agreement must be substantially fair, and executed in a procedurally fair manner.

A prenuptial agreement is a contract between two people prior to marriage, that spells out how assets will be distributed in the event of divorce or death. Such agreements can vary widely, but commonly the content includes provisions for division of property and spousal support in the event of divorce or breakup of marriage. They may also include terms for the forfeiture of assets as a result of divorce on the grounds of adultery; further conditions of guardianship may also be included.

Legal requirements in California include the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (UPAA), which has applied to California prenups since 1986. In general, this law states that written prenuptial agreements signed by both parties will automatically become effective once the couple marries. An agreement can cover a couple’s present and future property rights, as well as other matters related to the marriage, but it cannot negatively affect a child’s right to child support, or take away a court’s power to control child custody and visitation after marriage.

A postnuptial agreement is much like a prenuptial agreement, however it is a contract that is written after a couple gets married, or have a civil union. It is executed to settle the couple’s affairs and assets in the event of a legal separation or divorce.

Postnuptial agreements must be negotiated and drafted with guidance and care of an experienced attorney. Under California law, married couples have the highest level of fiduciary duty to each other, so that in financial dealings each must act toward the other as a trustee would toward a beneficiary. Like a prenuptial agreement, a postnuptial agreement must be voluntary, signed by both spouses, and cannot contain anything criminal or anything that affects public policy.

We pay close attention to the goals, needs, and circumstances of each client when drafting, negotiating, and litigating these vital agreements. Some cases of postnuptial agreements, involve spouses who may be going through marital problems, but would be willing to work it out if they felt that their assets were protected. If both sides can agree, a postnuptial agreement is an excellent way to preserve the marriage while still recognizing these individual interests.

To be valid and enforceable, every prenuptial or postnuptial agreement must meet the following criteria:

  • Be in writing;
  • Fully disclose the assets and debts of each party;
  • Be fair when entered into;
  • Have notarized signatures; and
  • Not be against public policy (e.g. party cannot agree to relinquish child support).


Prenuptial and Postnuptial agreements are very complex, and must be carefully drafted by a skilled law attorney who is familiar with California law. Contact Ingrid Rainey today at 949-842-5278 or Ingrid@raineylawpc.com if you need a high quality attorney to draft a Pre or Postnuptial agreement of any type.