No one ever gets married thinking they will get divorced. However, divorce happens, and you should protect yourself in the event of divorce or separation. A postnuptial agreement could be the right option for you and your spouse if you are already married.
What Is a Postnuptial Agreement?
Postnuptial agreements are legal documents that couples sign after they are married. They outline the division of assets and debts in the event of a divorce. Postnuptial agreements are becoming more popular as people become aware of the benefits of having protections for themselves in a divorce.
A postnuptial agreement can cover various issues related to your and your spouse’s financial affairs. It can also address specific non-financial matters. However, it cannot address child custody or child support.
Benefits of a Postnuptial Agreement
The purpose of these agreements is to outline the division of assets and debts in the event of divorce or separation. Some potential benefits of postnuptial agreements include the following:
- Clarifying financial expectations: A postnup can help you understand your financial responsibilities and expectations. As a result, postnuptial agreements can help prevent misunderstandings and disputes down the road.
- Protecting separate property: If you or your spouse have significant assets that you want to preserve or keep separate, a postnup can help.
- Avoiding litigation: When divorce occurs without prenuptial or postnuptial agreements, the court will determine the division of assets. Divorce litigation can be a lengthy and expensive process. Postnuptial agreements can simplify matters and help you avoid litigation.
- Providing peace of mind: Knowing that you have a plan to divide assets can give you peace of mind.
- Protecting your business interests: If you or your spouse own a business, a postnup can help protect your interests by outlining the division of the company if you get divorced.
When You Need a Postnuptial Agreement
There are several situations in which you should draft a postnuptial agreement, including:
- Changes in financial circumstances: A postnup is useful when significant changes in assets or debt exist. For example, if one spouse starts a successful business during the marriage, a postnup can help protect those assets.
- Changes in the relationship: When there are changes in your relationship, a postnup can help establish the terms of the relationship moving forward.
- Children outside the marriage: If you have children outside of your marriage, a postnup can help protect your assets for your children.
- Retirement planning: A postnup can be helpful if you and your spouse are planning for retirement. This is because it can establish the division of retirement assets in the event of divorce or death. It can also help ensure each of you have an adequate retirement income.
Ultimately, the decision to enter into a postnuptial agreement will depend on the specific circumstances of your relationship, but it can be beneficial for everyone.
Things to Consider When Drafting a Postnuptial Agreement
To draft an effective postnuptial agreement, you should do several things, including:
- Be open and honest: Another essential thing to remember when drafting a postnuptial agreement is to be open and honest. The purpose of the postnup is to outline the division of your assets and debts, so it’s essential to be upfront about your financial situation and expectations.
- Consider your future needs: When drafting a postnup, it may be tempting to just look at your current situation and plan for that. You must look into the future. For example, if you plan to start a business or obtain other assets, you should plan for that.
- Be clear and specific: When drafting a postnuptial agreement, it’s essential to be clear and specific about what the agreement covers. Being transparent and detailed can help prevent disputes down the line and can also help ensure that the contract is enforceable. This is because vague or ambiguous agreements may be harder to enforce in the future.
- Consult an attorney: One of the most important things to do when drafting a postnuptial agreement is to consult an attorney. A lawyer can help you understand your legal rights and obligations under the agreement. Additionally, having an attorney review the draft or the agreement before you enter it can help protect you.
Contact the Family Law Attorneys of Marshall & Taylor PLLC
If you and your spouse are considering entering a postnuptial agreement, an attorney can ensure it is fair and equitable. The family law attorneys of Marshall & Taylor PLLC can review your situation and help draft your postnup.