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California Postnuptial Agreement

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California Postnuptial Agreement

Updated January 23, 2023

A California postnuptial agreement is a legal document that married couples can use to determine the distribution of marital property and other rights in the event the marriage ends in divorce or death. Postnuptial agreements differ from prenuptial agreements or “prenups”: while the latter is signed before marriage and becomes effective as soon as the couple is married, postnuptial agreements are entered into after the marriage has begun, sometimes years or even decades after. Thus, although both agreements are valid and can serve as valuable estate planning tools, postnuptial agreements face different legal requirements.

Signing Requirements (In re Marriage of Friedman (2002) – Both parties must sign in the presence of an attorney or notary.


Prenup v. Postnup: California statutory law on premarital agreements does not govern postnuptial agreements. (In re Marriage of Friedman (2002).

Undue Influence: When a postnuptial agreement advantages one spouse, the law, from considerations of public policy, presumes such transactions to have been induced by undue influence. In re the Marriage Bonds (2000).

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