Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements

The Law Offices of Marshall S. Zolla has extensive experience in drafting and negotiating tailored and customized Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements. We have more than 45 years of experience dealing with sensitive and complex agreements of this nature and provide both technical expertise and wise counsel for our clients. Attorneys in our office work closely with accountants and business managers to make the requisite full disclosure of financial information required under California law. We also work closely with estate planning counsel to make certain that provisions of the Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreement dovetail with the client’s estate plan. Our office is sensitive to both the emotional and financial aspects of these agreements. In the appropriate circumstance, usually where there exists a disparity in age, wealth, or education between the parties, these agreements can serve as a wise financial planning tool and prevent uncomfortable tensions and disputes down the line.

Protecting one’s personal financial assets is a prudent step to safeguard children and heirs to a client’s estate if she or he is considering entering into a marriage or domestic partnership. Prenuptial agreements are designed to protect a client’s financial estate in the event one party desires to maintain the separate characterization of assets following marriage. Community property laws in California are complex and often confusing. These agreements can, if properly handled, provide clarity to parties as they enter into a new relationship.

Prenuptial Agreements should be negotiated and signed well before the wedding, preferably before a save the date or wedding invitations are sent. Judges many times consider the time frame within which these agreements are negotiated and signed. These agreements take time to complete. Six months or more for the process is not unusual. Advance preparation is wise to prevent one party from later claiming the agreement was procured under pressure, duress, or undue influence. Our office suggests that those considering a Prenuptial Agreement start the process approximately 6 months before the wedding.

A Postnuptial Agreement is one entered after the parties are married. Prospective clients should keep in mind that after the parties are married, there is no legal obligation to enter into a Postnuptial Agreement. Parties should also keep in mind that spouses owe each other fiduciary duties, unlike unmarried people. There exists a higher legal duty to disclose all information material to their assets and debts.

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