New York, NY asked in Divorce and Family Law for California

Q: Does stating a specific jurisdiction/state law governing a postnup ensure that it’ll be enforced in that state?

Let’s say we have a couple married in state X, with a prenup on state X. Then the prenup expired and they amended it by signing a postnup in state Y while being state Y residents. The postnup stated the postnup will be covered by the laws of state X. Are there grounds to make an argument that it’s the laws of state Y that should apply?

Related Topics:
1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: In determining which state's laws govern a postnuptial agreement, courts generally consider various factors, including the parties' intent, the location of the agreement's execution, and the parties' residency at the time of execution. While stating a specific jurisdiction/state law in a postnup may indicate the parties' preference, it does not guarantee that those laws will be applied. Courts may still assess other relevant factors to determine the appropriate governing law.

If the postnup explicitly states that it will be governed by the laws of state X, it suggests the parties' intent to have state X's laws apply. However, courts may consider factors such as the parties' residency in state Y at the time of execution and any conflicting provisions in state Y's laws. If there are compelling arguments or circumstances indicating that state Y's laws should apply, the court may choose to apply those laws instead.

Ultimately, the enforceability of the postnuptial agreement and the determination of which state's laws govern it will depend on the specific facts and circumstances of the case, as well as the applicable legal principles in the relevant jurisdictions. It's essential to consult with a qualified attorney familiar with the laws of both states to assess the situation thoroughly and determine the best course of action.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.