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McCleary ("Mac") H. Sanborn, III Attorney at Law 23 Hitchcock Way, Suite 106 Santa Barbara, CA 93105 (805) 898-2501 Tel 805.898.2503 Fax

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McCleary ("Mac") H. Sanborn, III Attorney at Law
23 Hitchcock Way | Suite 106 | Santa Barbara, CA 93105

“Satisfying clients is my highest priority.”(805) 898-2501

Marital Agreements

Santa Barbara Lawyer Assists with Your Marital Agreement

Do you need help preparing a premarital contract?

To ensure your assets are protected through marriage, I am careful in constructing a marital contract that holds up in court. At McCleary (Mac) H. Sanborn, III, Attorney at Law I work with you to create an agreement that is fair and binding and to ensure you thoroughly understand its terms. My office handles two kinds of marital agreements:

  • Prenuptial or premarital agreement — This is a written contract created by a couple before they wed that takes effect after their marriage. In California, this contract is known as a premarital agreement
  • Postnuptial or postmarital agreement — A written contract created by a couple after they are married, a postnuptial or postmarital agreement is similar to a prenuptial agreement and can also alter an existing prenuptial agreement

What do prenuptial agreements cover?

Prenuptial or premarital agreements are not just for the wealthy or those with extensive assets. While premarital agreements can provide a plan for property and asset division in the event of divorce, premarital contracts in California cover a range of other issues relevant to every couple, including:

  • Classification of particular items as community or separate property
  • Ownership of family residences
  • Responsibility for premarital debts
  • Allocation of property in the event of death
  • Spousal support obligations
  • Financial obligations during marriage

There are strict rules about what cannot be in a premarital agreement in California. A trusted attorney ensures that the conditions stated in your contract are fair and legally permissible. Generally, a premarital agreement may not include:

  • Issues relating to children — Stipulations about child support or child custody are not permitted in a marriage contract
  • Marriage obligations — Premarital agreements may not detail behaviors expected during marriage, such as penalty for adultery
  • Unconscionable material — Stipulations that are unfair or that may encourage divorce are not permitted

Challenging a marriage contract

In California, premarital agreements must meet a strict set of requirements, which if not met, will invalidate the contract. When creating the premarital agreement, both parties must:

  • Disclose all finances
  • Understand what they are signing
  • Sign the contract of their own free will
  • Wait seven days between receiving and signing the contract

I work with you to ensure the validity of your marriage contract. If you have entered into a premarital agreement and do not understand or were not made fully aware of the contents of the agreement, I can help.

Understanding the postnuptial agreement

Unlike premarital contracts, postnuptial or postmarital agreements are created and signed after marriage. Postmarital agreements address many of the same issues as premarital agreements and have the same restrictions. Like premarital agreements, postmarital agreements may not include agreements relating to child custody or child support issues. The main differences in the postnuptial agreement are:

  • Fiduciary duty — Now that you are married, you have a fiduciary duty, which means that your postmarital agreement must reflect the best interest of your spouse or it may be overturned later
  • No waiting period — Postmarital agreements do not require a seven-day waiting period. However, the waiting period benefits both parties, giving them time to thoroughly understand the contract’s terms

Call me for help creating your marriage contract in Santa Barbara County

Call McCleary (Mac) H. Sanborn, III, Attorney at Law at (805) 898-2501 for your free consultation or email me to set up an appointment. I serve clients in Santa Barbara County including Santa Barbara and Santa Maria, as well as Santa Ynez, Summerland, Lompoc, Los Olivos, Solvang, Buellton and Carpinteria. My office is across from Whole Foods at State & Hitchcock, near La Cumbre Plaza.

McCleary ("Mac") H. Sanborn, III Attorney at Law
23 Hitchcock Way, Suite 106
Santa Barbara, CA, 93105 USA