When California couples marry without signing prenuptial agreements, they might later decide they want to draft postnuptial agreements in certain situations. While a postnuptial agreement cannot guarantee that you will be financially secure if you get divorced, it can help to reduce the expenses that might be involved in a divorce and make the division of assets simpler. Postnuptial agreements can also protect inheritances you receive during your marriage, substantial bequests you anticipate receiving, a business, and other types of assets from being divided in a divorce.
In general, inheritances one spouse receives during the marriage will remain his or her separate property. However, an inheritance can lose its separate nature if it is used for the benefit of both spouses or is commingled with marital funds. Specifying in a postnuptial agreement that an inheritance will remain the separate property of the spouse who receives it can help to preserve its separate nature.
Many people start businesses before or after they marry. In a divorce, a business that was started during the marriage will be divisible. The increase in value of a business created before the marriage will also be divisible as a part of the community property. A postnuptial agreement can help you to preserve your business and prevent it from being divided if you and your spouse get divorced.
Postnuptial agreements might be a good idea when one or both spouses are wealthy, have children from previous relationships, own businesses, or are going through periods of marital strife. Having a postnuptial agreement in place might make the property division process in a divorce much easier and help couples to avoid the expenses involved with a long and contentious process.