A look at marital contracts in California

Couples who reside in San Francisco that are considering marriage or may already be married should learn about prenuptial and postnuptial agreements.

Couples that live in the San Francisco Bay Area can enjoy many benefits from today's prenuptial agreements or postnuptial agreements. While protection against asset loss due to the division of property in of a divorce is still one of the things that marital contracts can provide, it is far from the only reason to enter into such an agreement.

Societal changes prompt new uses for prenuptial agreements

Over the past several decades, more and more of the couples getting married in the U.S. today are entering into second or subsequent marriages. These people are likely to have children from prior marriages. These situations often make it logical that spouses may wish to keep some assets or benefits separate from the marital pool to stay with their own biological children after they die. This can include family heirlooms,life insurance benefits and more.

The New York Daily News ran a story that discussed how prenuptial agreements can provide these stipulations up front before a couple gets married, helping to outline post-death wishes and pre-empt family disputes.

Another new evolution in society that has affected prenuptial agreements is the rise of social media. With a single post, one former spouse can ruin the reputation of another in mere moments. Such online slander can have dramatic negative effects on people professionally as well as socially.

For this reason, Fox News indicates that more and more couples today are choosing to include social media clauses in their prenuptial agreements. Protecting reputations has become just as important as protecting assets and these marital contracts can help to do that. It is important, however, that what is noted to be allowed and not in these clauses must be deemed to be reasonable. It should also provide an opportunity to show how a person can be damaged by the posts. The Huffington Post notes that this reasonableness should apply to any clause in any marital agreement.

Stay-at-home parents and postnuptial agreements

For couples that have already gotten married, it is not too late to stipulate certain wishes and protections in case a divorce happens later on. The Daily Beast proposes that postnuptial agreements can be especially useful to couples who choose after marriage for one party to stay home to take care of children. Even if the original intention of both spouses was for both persons to continue working after having children, that can change. When this change of heart happens, the person who ends up quitting a job can be vulnerable to a dramatic reduction of income down the road. This is because taking years away from work can limit job opportunities later on.

Be prudent

Couples should have frank discussions about post-death or even post-divorce wishes. In drawing up a marital contract, working with an attorney is important. California law is highly technical, especially with provisions for spousal support in the event of divorce.

Is there a pebble in the shoe?

Couples and their counsel should be careful to assure that both parties are comfortable with the terms of the Agreement and the process by which it was negotiated. Although these agreements can be modified, they do last the life of the marriage. If one spouse feels uncomfortable about the Agreement, these feelings are like the proverbial pebble in the shoe that gradually over time creates a problem and eventually needs attention. Those feelings of irritation can grow and impact other challenges to the stability and happiness of a married couple.