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Safeguard Your Assets with a Marital Agreement

It is not uncommon for couples to decide before or during marriage to enter an agreement regarding the division of assets in the event of a divorce. These are called prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, respectively. Marital agreements are critical for safeguarding your assets and protecting the rights of you and your children should a divorce occur. As a prenuptial agreement lawyer serving the San Rafael, CA, community for over three decades, Kate Rockas understands the nuances of marital law. She can negotiate strongly on your behalf to prepare the most favorable agreement for you and your family.

image of prenuptial agreement
A prenuptial agreement can take into account a variety of factors, including property division, spousal support, and marital debts.

An Overview of Prenuptial Agreements

A prenuptial agreement is an agreement made before marriage to determine how assets will be divided should the couple divorce. There are two schools of thought on prenuptial agreements. Some believe that they are unromantic and signify a lack of trust. Others take a more pragmatic view and consider them a means of avoiding potential complications down the road. What is certain is that prenuptial agreements spell everything out ahead of time, so both partners understand legal proceedings in the event of a divorce

Prenuptial agreements can:

  • Keep finances separate
  • Protect one another from debts
  • Provide for children from previous marriages
  • Keep property in the family
  • Define who gets what in a divorce
  • Clarify marital responsibilities (e.g. tax returns, bank accounts, household bills)

Prenuptial agreements may not be necessary for young couples with little assets and no prior marriages. However, for couples entering a marriage with significant assets or a big estate, a prenuptial agreement is of critical importance.

A prenuptial agreement is an agreement made before marriage to determine how assets will be divided should the couple divorce.

Postnuptial Agreement

Whereas prenuptial agreements happen before marriage, postnuptial agreements are entered during marriage. Postnuptial agreements are, in many ways, similar to prenuptial agreements. It is important to understand that as soon as your marriage commences, many of your assets will become marital property. Therefore, it may be in your best interest to enter a prenuptial agreement to protect yourself. If, however, you enter a postnuptial agreement, you will need to determine how to divide marital assets as well as future earnings.

Should a spouse exhibit poor behavior or out of control spending, the other spouse may wish to enter a postnuptial agreement. Even when things are going well, it can be a good idea to define financial responsibilities, ownership of family properties, and so forth. Similar to a prenuptial agreement, postnuptial agreements cover many issues including property division, spousal support, and marital debts.

Requirements for Filing Marital Agreements

When it comes to pre-marital and post-marital agreements, two main requirements must be met: the agreement needs to be fair and have full disclosure.

  • Fairness – Each partner will have a chance to review the other partner’s financial disclosure, and their respective attorneys can review any financial documents. The agreement cannot be one-sided or vindictive.
  • Full Disclosure – Each party must reveal his or her assets and properties, short-term and long-term debts, sources of income, and monthly expenses.

Hiding, underreporting, or misrepresenting financial information such as income, assets, and debts can be grounds for overturning a marital agreement.

Contact Family Law Specialist Kate Rockas

A marital agreement will help ensure that your rights, your children’s rights, and your assets are protected should you divorce your spouse. Whether you are about to be married or have already married, contact Kate Rockas to discuss your marital agreement options. To schedule a consultation, contact us online or call (415) 306-5560 today.

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I consider Kate to be an outstanding Family Law attorney. She is one of only two Family Law attorneys in Marin County to whom I refer clients.

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