My wife and I have agreed that it would be best to divide our stocks, mutual funds and bonds which reside in joint investment accounts. The resulting action would place half of those investments in a separate account under my name and the other half of those investments in a separate account under my wife’s name. I would like to document this agreement prior to implementation, for future purposes, to prevent either individual from bringing these separate accounts into a divorce as joint property. We live in California. Can this be done and what steps should I take? Thank you for your time.
1 Answer from Attorneys
What you propose to do is relatively common and is the post-marriage equivalent of a pre-nuptual agreement, which not surprisingly is called a post-nuptual agreement. Whether pre or post, these kinds of agreements are constantly the subject of litigation in the event of divorce, with the disfavored party trying to nullify them. One of the most common reasons they get thrown out is if the disfavored party didn't have independent legal advice. So the very simple and very important bottom line is you need to hire two lawyers to do this. Otherwise there is a near certainty that one of you will be able to get it thrown out in the event of a contested divorce.