What is a Postnuptial Agreement?
When people want to get married, they sometimes wish to draft a prenuptial agreement. This is a contract between two partners entering a marriage that outlines the division of their assets in the event that they want to divorce in the future. Couples can only sign a prenuptial agreement before they are married. However, if the opportunity has passed, it is important to know that it was not their only option. It is possible for spouses to obtain a postnuptial agreement. This is essentially the same as a prenuptial agreement, except it is created after the marriage.
Why Create a Postnuptial Agreement?
Similar to a prenuptial agreement, discussing a postnuptial agreement can be a sensitive matter for spouses. However, once it is over with it no longer needs to be discussed. When dealing with the matter, it is important to address the fact that it is not in relation to the strength of the marriage. No one can predict the future, and it is simply an unfortunate reality that divorces do occur. In the event that they do, it is important to be prepared. There are many reasons as to why a couple may draft a postnuptial agreement. This can include:
- The couple did not define their financial relationship in a prenuptial agreement and now wish to do so
- One spouse’s financial situation changed significantly. This may be the case if they receive a large inheritance, a job promotion, or acquire certain stocks or investment options.
- The marriage’s stability is affected by financial insecurity
- Both spouses want to avoid the uncertainty of not having a plan to distribute assets in the event of a separation
- One or both spouses want to secure financial support for children from a previous marriage
Is My Postnuptial Agreement Valid?
When creating a postnuptial agreement, there are certain requirements that must be met in order for it to be deemed valid. If the agreement is made unlawfully and is invalid, it cannot be used in court. There are five main qualifications for a legal postnuptial agreement, consisting of the following:
- The terms must be fair and reasonable to both spouses
- Both spouses must have time to reach an informed decision regarding whether or not they want to sign the agreement
- A spouse cannot be manipulated, coerced, tricked, or pressured by the other spouse into signing the document
- Each spouse is required to retain separate legal counsel or waive their right to counsel in writing
- The financial status of each spouse and their assets must be accurately and fully disclosed before the signing
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