California Postnuptial Agreement Cost

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How much does a California postnuptial agreement cost? This a common question that couples in California ask before they get married. Let’s explore this question and review some general information about postnuptial agreements and how these contracts benefit married couples.

How Much Does a Postnuptial Agreement Cost in California?

Postnuptial agreements, often referred to as marital agreements, are legally binding contracts executed by couples after marriage. Similar to a prenuptial agreement which is signed prior to the wedding, a postnuptial agreement also acts as a settlement agreement if the couple divorces or one spouse dies.

The cost of a postnuptial agreement will vary depending on several factors like the length of the document and the amount of custom terms. According to ContractsCounsel's marketplace data, the average cost of a prenuptial agreement in California is $874.83.

Why Do I Need a Postnuptial Agreement in California?

Without a postnuptial agreement in place, if spouses ever get divorced, they will be subject to their state’s divorce laws for property division. California is a “community property” state. This means that at the start of a marriage, any new assets or debts acquired by a spouse automatically belong to the other spouse in joint ownership. In a divorce, California laws require that all marital assets and debts are split equally.

One issue with community property laws is that they tend to favor the spouse in the marriage who earns less money. Even if one spouse contributes zero money during the marriage, they will still end up with half the assets in a divorce and many people see this as an unfair way to divide property.

To avoid this automatic division of property, couples can use a marital agreement to dictate how they want their assets and debts to be divided in a divorce.

What's Typically Included in a California Postnuptial Agreement

Every postnuptial agreement will be different based on the couple, their assets and debts, and their wishes. The most common items covered in a postnuptial agreement include:

  • Premarital assets. A list of the assets each person had before entering the marriage.
  • Premarital debts. A list of each person’s debts prior to the marriage.
  • Marital assets. California considers any property gained during a marriage as equally owned by both spouses. A post marital agreement can override this law and dictate that certain assets remain the sole property of one spouse or the other as they are acquired throughout the marriage.
  • Marital debts. Like assets, in California debts acquired during the marriage will are both spouses’ responsibility. Postnuptial agreements can be used to split up any current marital debt and make arrangements for future debt.
  • Right to alimony. The couple can agree whether alimony will be paid by one spouse to the other.
  • Inheritance. If either spouse has children from a previous marriage, the postnuptial agreement can dictate what assets will go to the children if a parent dies.

California marital agreements are unique because in addition to these common clauses, couples can also include provisions about each spouses’ rights, roles, and responsibilities within the marriage as long as the terms do not violate law or public policy. Some examples of roles and responsibilities that may be included in a marital agreement are:

  • Which spouse is expected to pay certain bills
  • How tax returns are filed
  • How bank accounts are handled
  • Rules for making decisions for large purchases

To be legally enforceable, any marital agreements must be made voluntarily by one’s free will and signed by both parties.

Benefits of a Postnuptial Agreement

Considering that almost half of all marriages end in divorce, prenuptial agreements have become valuable documents that provide spouses with peace of mind and many other benefits including:

  • Protection of assets
  • Protection from debts
  • Customized plan to distribute assets in a divorce
  • Avoidance of a typical divorce settlement
  • Comprehensive planning for the future
  • Peace of mind knowing that financial matters are settled
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Postnuptial Agreement Drafting in California

It is always recommended that a couple hires a knowledgeable attorney to draft a postnuptial agreement. An experienced family lawyer will be familiar with California laws and know what can and cannot be included and enforced in a marital agreement.

The lawyer hired to draft the agreement will record the couple’s assets and debts and create a comprehensive agreement that includes all the couple’s terms and wishes for their property.

Postnuptial Agreement Review in California

In some cases, a couple may have an existing marital agreement, or they have drafted their own contract from a template. The issue with using templates is that each state has different laws governing prenups and the template may not cover those state specific laws.

It is important to have a lawyer go over the postnuptial agreement to ensure that the prenup follows all state and local laws, is fair, and that the clients fully understand all the terms and conditions to which they are agreeing.

California Postnuptial Agreement Drafting Cost

When a couple hires a lawyer to draft their postnuptial agreement, they will incur legal fees because drafting a contract requires the time and legal expertise of a licensed lawyer.

According to ContractsCounsel's marketplace data, the average California postnuptial agreement drafting costs are $1,150.00.

Reviewing California Postnuptial Agreement Cost

Hiring an attorney to review a postnuptial agreement will also come with legal fees. The lawyer will use their legal expertise and knowledge of California law to review the contract and check for mistakes.

ContractsCounsel's marketplace data shows the average postnuptial agreement review costs in California are $324.50.

How Do California Lawyers Charge for a Postnuptial Agreement?

Hourly Rates for Postnuptial Agreements

An hourly rate fee structure is one of the more popular fee arrangements you will find when hiring a family law attorney in California. When using an hourly rate structure, the attorney will bill the client at a set hourly rate for the number of hours worked on the project.

Billable hours can include meeting with the client to discuss the content of the prenup, time spent drafting, revisions, and being present when the agreement is signed.

The marketplace data for ContractsCounsel shows the average hourly rate for a family lawyer in California ranges from $225 - $350 per hour.

Flat Fee Rates for Postnuptial Agreements

Flat rate billing structures are becoming more common for contract drafting projects like postnuptial agreement contracts. When using a flat fee rate, a lawyer will provide the client with a quote for the entire job. If the client agrees, they will pay upfront, and the lawyer will begin working on their case or project.

Clients usually prefers flat fee rates because they know their total bill before agreeing to legal services. Lawyers benefit from this fee structure because they collect payment upfront and don’t have to keep track of their billable hours.

ContractsCounsel's marketplace data shows the average flat fee rate for a postnuptial agreement in California is $874.81.

Get Help with a California Postnuptial Agreement

Do you need help with a postnuptial agreement project? If so, post a project in ContractsCounsel's marketplace to receive flat fee bids from family lawyers who are licensed to practice law in California and can handle your project. All lawyers on the ContractsCounsel's platform are vetted by our team to make sure you are provided with top-tier service.

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