In the beginning, you had literal heart eyes for your partner as most newlyweds do. The beginning of a marriage can be a beautiful moment in both party’s lives, but it can also make people blind to the realities that sometimes follow an unhealthy marriage. Sure, everything was perfect in the beginning, but what about when the marriage took a turn for the worst? Did you protect yourself, your possessions, and your financial assets before joining in a legally binding marriage? Or did you try to avoid that awkward conversation that sometimes follows a prenuptial agreement?

If so, you may have to face a few different scenarios during your divorce—those that don’t play in your favor. This is especially true if you continue on the same course by avoiding a postnuptial agreement as well. Learn more about both of these agreements and how you could be taken advantage of if you don’t have the top prenuptial and postnuptial agreement lawyers to advise you correctly about the importance of enforcing these contracts.

No Prenup in Place? Here’s What You Could Face.

There are a few different things that can happen to you, your possessions, and your finances when there is no prenup in place. Here are the 3 most common scenarios.

1. Your spouse will be entitled to half of the property acquired during your marriage.

California law supports the idea of “community property” which in legalese means that most all property earned during a marriage by either spouse will be considered equally belonging to both spouses. So, when in the middle of a divorce, that property would be split 50/50 unless otherwise agreed upon before the marriage, which is where your prenuptial agreement should come in handy.

2. Your spouse may be able to demand ongoing spousal support after the divorce has been completed.

Not only will your spouse have the right to 50/50 of community property in the marriage, but they will also have the right to “alimony.” This is another legal term that basically means that your spouse can try to prove that they need additional property from you as spousal support even after the marriage is over.
A prenup is usually in place to avoid this whole scenario, but sometimes spouses will predetermine an amount to make the divorce process a bit easier to manage in the case that one partner is more financially dependent than another.

3. The terms of your divorce will have to be negotiated and decided by a judge at trial.

When it comes to marriages ending, most people would prefer avoiding the courtroom as it allows another entity (the law) to decide how things unfold for you and your ex-partner. Sometimes, this is the best way to maturely handle certain situations, but in most cases,  people would rather settle outside of court.
Prenup agreements allow many of the terms of your divorce to have already been agreed upon before entering into your marriage.

A Postnuptial Agreement May Be Able to Help

As you can see, if you don’t have a prenuptial agreement, your divorce may not play out as you planned. However, you can still work together with a prenuptial and postnuptial agreement attorney and your ex-partner to agree on fair terms with a legally binding postnuptial agreement. Contact your local family law office to learn more about how to begin this process and clean up a potentially messy divorce.