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At the Law Offices of John S. Cowhig, we advocate for both men and women, in equal number, and skillfully educate, negotiate, mediate, or litigate to protect the interests of our clients.

prenuptial & post-nuptial agreements

These agreements can be reached between the parties before the couple marries (prenuptial) or after they marry (postnuptial). Both prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are designed to protect the financial matters of each spouse by contracting as to what will happen with each spouse’s separate property or the community’s property, assets, and/or debts when a divorce occurs. It can also set forth each party’s right as it relates to spousal support. These agreements cannot dictate the advance outcome of child support or child custody.

The details and language of a prenuptial agreement is vital in the unfortunate event of a divorce. A mistake in the original agreement can make an easy dissolution much more difficult and complicated. A clearly defined prenuptial agreement can save time, money, and court involvement in the future. Prenuptial agreements clarify what is to remain separate and what is to be considered, or not to be considered, community property. The end goal of a prenuptial agreement is to set a clear understanding and agreement of the property division in the event of a divorce and avoid leaving your valuable assets in the hands of the court.

Most of the time, prenuptial agreements are created to prevent there being a community interest in what is a separate property asset. Typical examples include businesses and homes that are owned by one party at time of marriage and the parties agree that no community interest will be acquired in those assets during marriage. The efforts of a spouse during marriage are community efforts and thus the community is entitled to the earnings for those efforts. In the case of a business owned prior to marriage, if the owner spouse continues to work at the business during marriage and is not adequately compensated for those work efforts and the business increases in value as a result, the community could obtain a reimbursable interest in that business. Think of a scenario where the spouse works 80 hours a week but takes a salary that only compensates him or her for a fraction of that time leaving the profits in the business and, as a result, the business increases greatly in value. Prenuptial agreements predetermine what will become community property and what will remain separate property.

Many times, prenuptial agreements are not needed to obtain these results. Because community property is presumed to be assets acquired during marriage, if a spouse comes into the marriage with an asset, that asset is not presumed to be community property. If the asset is not community property, it is not divided between the parties as part of a divorce. As long as the owner spouse does not add the other spouse to title or otherwise intermix that asset with community assets (such as a bank account), to the extent that separate asset still exists at time of separation it can retain its separate property character and not be divided even without it being part of a prenuptial agreement.

Postnuptial agreements accomplish the same results (i.e. determine the character and division of property upon a divorce). Because this occurs during marriage, when the parties now have significant fiduciary duties to each other to protect their community estate, postnuptial agreements require substantial disclosures of assets and debts that can be avoided in a prenuptial agreement. This makes ratification of the postnuptial agreement by the court more difficult if the validity of that postnuptial agreement is required to be addressed by the court.

There are very strict and complicated laws as it relates to prenuptial and post nuptial agreements. Therefore, be certain to talk to a family law specialist if you believe your situation requires such an agreement.

At The Law Offices of John S. Cowhig, we handle divorce and family law cases throughout Riverside, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Orange County, CA.

No matter the specific issue you face, you will need an attorney on your side to safeguard your interests and your future by providing a custom solution for your case.  We are prepared to help our clients with compassionate and supportive guidance when it is needed most.  However complicated your case may seem, our skilled attorneys and winning strategies can help.

In addition to our proficiency in handling a vast variety of cases, our lawyers are adept at aggressively litigating cases and at negotiating.  We aim to make each case as easy and pleasant for the parties involved as possible.  We constantly update clients on the state of their case and provide our full support and attention.  No matter what our clients’ goals are, we take their hopes to heart, fighting relentlessly to protect their interests and achieve the best outcomes.

More practice areas

Paternity actions


Spousal Support


Property Division


Contact US

We take your family law matters very seriously.

Below, we’ve provided a number of ways for you to contact our professional staff:


Law Offices of John S. Cowhig,

19600 Fairchild Road, Suite 295

Irvine, California, 92612


 (949) 333-0580 




8:30 AM - 5:00 PM

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The Law Offices of John S. Cowhig is found within Irvine’s beautiful Main Plaza, located just right off of the 405 & 55 Freeway.