A Postnuptial Agreement is an agreement made between spouses after they are married. A California postnuptial agreement is similar to a prenuptial agreement in “purpose.” Unlike a prenuptial agreement which is entered into prior to a marriage and typically has more legal requirements than a postnuptial, a postnuptial agreement is entered into after the marriage takes place. Postnuptial Agreements are also referred to as Postmarital Agreements or Postnups. A Postnuptial Agreement is usually entered into by parties who are not involved in divorce proceedings.
As with a premarital agreement, a postnuptial agreement must be negotiated and drafted with great care. Under California law, married couples have a high level of fiduciary duty to each other. Changing the character of property during marriage can raise a presumption of invalidity if one spouse is disadvantaged by the change. To maintain the validity of a California postnuptial agreement, it is necessary that a spouse who is “disadvantaged” by the terms of the agreement fully understand the terms of the agreement and voluntarily sign it.
A California postnuptial agreement cannot control child custody or child support. It cannot control a person’s behavior and it cannot punish a spouse for being unfaithful. This type of agreement also cannot regulate the practice of religion.