Minimizing the emotional and financial stress of divorce and other family law matters.

The Benefits Of A Premarital Or Postmarital Agreement

The purpose of a premarital or a postmarital agreement is to provide certainty regarding how issues will be resolved upon dissolution in order to avoid going to court and/or the application of California law. High-profile cases involving premarital and postmarital agreements led to changes in the law that have resulted in greater scrutiny of such agreements and of the legal representation available to each party. We carefully craft our agreements with this high standard in mind.

Premarital And Postmarital Considerations

California’s Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (UPAA) outlines requirements that must be met for the agreements to be legally binding. Both premarital and postmarital agreements can address a range of issues, including:

  • The income earned during marriage by either party and how it should be allocated
  • The rights and obligations regarding property acquired prior to marriage and during marriage
  • The sale or transfer of any property in case of death, divorce or separation

As part of the drafting process of both types of agreements, both partners must share all relevant information about their income, assets and debts and it is very difficult to enforce an agreement if both parties are not represented by counsel. However, there are significant differences between the two types of agreements.

Premarital Agreements take place at arm’s length, meaning the parties do not have any duties owing to each other until marriage. Each partner must have the final agreement in hand at least seven days before the wedding so it is important that the process of drafting the agreement be started as soon as possible. The goal of a premarital agreement is to address the issues above, as well as spousal support on divorce, but often the parties benefit from the process by working together to create a financial arrangement that meets both of their goals.
Postmarital Agreements are created during marriage when the parties have a fiduciary duty to each other to deal with each other in the highest good faith and fair dealing. These agreements are often needed when the parties have financial disagreements that could threaten the marriage or upon a significant financial event during marriage, such as a large inheritance by one spouse.
Melinda has been drafting premarital and postmarital agreements for over 20 years and has extensive experience in a wide range of provisions that can be included in these agreements to meet the parties’ desired outcome.


When A Cohabitation Agreement Might Be The Best Choice

For couples in long-term relationships who are living together and sharing expenses but do not plan to get married, cohabitation agreements provide financial protection if the relationship ends. They can be used both as protection against financial claims between partners and to secure compensation when one partner emotionally supports the other at a financial detriment to themselves. Because there is no such thing as a common law marriage in California, when couples in long-term relationships separate or one partner dies, attempting to divide assets and deal with finances and jointly owned assets can create thorny legal issues. The longer couples stay together, the more their finances become intertwined and the more difficult they are to untangle if a partner dies or the relationship ends. By signing a cohabitation agreement, each partner can protect their financial interests and dictate how jointly owned property and other assets will be dealt with if the relationship ends for any reason.

Start Working On Your Agreement Today

At our first consultation, we will listen closely to the details of your situation, and explain exactly how we can help. We will help you identify the most important issues to address in your cohabitation agreement, pre- or postmarital agreement, and we can begin work on drafting it right away.

To make an appointment with Sammis Family Law, call 415-868-3291 or contact the office online. We serve clients throughout Northern California.