Almost everyone has heard of prenuptial agreements signed before marriage to protect the couple’s individual assets in the event of the marriage ending in divorce. What you may not have heard of are postnuptial agreements.
What is a postnuptial agreement, and should you consider getting one?
Fact #1: Just like a prenup, a postnup outlines the responsibilities in the marriage, plus the division of assets and the assumption of debt if the marriage fails. However, a postnup is signed afterward instead of signing the agreement before the wedding.
Fact #2: Many couples sign postnups because of changing income or if one spouse inherits property. Some states consider inheritance to be community property. A postnup ensures the beneficiary receives sole possession of the bequest.
Fact #3: When couples get married, it’s hard to know where life’s road will take them. At the beginning of their life together, both may be working and earning equal income. But, at some point, children may come into the picture, and one parent decides to stay at home to raise them. A postnuptial agreement can ensure that the stay-at-home parent is provided for if the marriage fails.
Fact #4: A postnuptial can protect gifts. Some young couples looking to purchase a home may find they can’t afford the down payment. Many times, a parent will help to cover the cost. The house will likely become part of the settlement agreement if the couple divorces. A contract can protect the parent’s investment by stipulating the repayment of the gift if the couple divorces.
Fact #5: It can protect your children’s inheritance. Whether you have children from a previous marriage or your current marriage, a postnuptial agreement can outline the distribution of your assets in the event of death. You can ensure that your children will be provided for no matter what happens with your marriage.
Problems You May Encounter
Many problems can arise when one partner asks for a postnuptial agreement. Sometimes, the agreement can be seen as an indication that there are already problems in the marriage. This can lead to tension and resentment between the spouses.
Also, if the terms of the agreement are unfair, one spouse may be left with insufficient resources, and it may not hold up in court if it is deemed unfair or one-sided.
Opening the discussion may feel like a daunting task. Here are some tips for beginning the conversation:
- Choose the right timing. Bringing up a postnup during an argument is never a good idea. It should also not be discussed immediately or before a promotion or raise. Instead, pick a time when you are both relaxed.
- Find a quiet location where you won’t be interrupted.
- Be open and honest about your financial situation. Discuss your assets, debts, income, and expenses honestly.
You Don’t Have to Go It Alone
If you and your spouse are considering a postnuptial agreement, you will want to contact our experienced family law attorneys at Lonich Patton Ehrlich Policastri. We can help you understand the legal implications of it and assist you in negotiating an agreement that works for both of you. Call us at 408-553-0801 or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation.