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Postnuptial Agreement

2 signers
1 Wife
2 Husband
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A postnuptial agreement is a type of legal contract signed by a couple after they get married or enter a civil union. This agreement outlines both parties’ affairs and assets in the event of a future divorce. These assets, including the separate property, savings accounts, and even debt, are subject to division in the case of a divorce to either a 50/50 or an equitable split. A postnuptial agreement gives the couple financial incentives and protection in relation to their marital property in case one or both of them decide to separate.
post nuptial agreement template
While prenuptial agreements and postnuptial agreements share similar goals, the terms in a valid postnuptial agreement may be more realistic as people enter the contract with an idea of their marriage dynamics. In turn, they are able to create terms that are non-negotiable in the event of a future divorce.
Like the ordinary prenuptial agreement, postnuptial agreements allow a legally married couple to prevent issues surrounding their financial circumstances such as child support, child custody, and spousal support during divorce proceedings. Entering such an agreement will allow the marital partners to establish a fair distribution of assets in case the marriage ends.

Reasons to Get a Postnuptial Agreement

Since bringing up the idea of a prenuptial agreement prior to a wedding may scare and pressure some people, a lot of them decide to avoid the topic. However, as time goes by, the couple may want to revisit their decision. A couple who may have a prenuptial agreement may want to update the provisions through the use of a postnuptial agreement. This is also done if a couple is seeking a divorce proceeding and legal separation proceeding and would like to smoothen the process. Other than these two basic reasons, there are several more to enter a postnuptial agreement.

  • To ensure that children from previous relationships are authorized to certain assets
  • To safeguard the couple in case one of them becomes financially irresponsible during marriage
  • To protect the stay-at-home parent who takes care of minor children
  • To set clear boundaries on expectations for assets brought to the marriage ends

What can be included in a valid postnuptial agreement?

Under the law of the United States, here are five basic elements that need to be met to make a postnuptial agreement to be enforceable.

  • It must be accomplished in writing
    It must be both parties entering the agreement voluntarily
  • It must be executed with complete and fair disclosure when it is executed
  • It must be conscionable and not one-sided in nature
  • It must be signed by both parties involved

Beyond the five basic elements, there are several other aspects that most postnuptial agreements are able to address.

  • When one spouse dies, the legal contract will lay out the future of marital property and other assets. This will allow the surviving spouse to waive certain rights they would usually inherit.
  • When anticipating a separation in the future, having a postnuptial agreement create not only clarity between parties also helps save time and cost during divorce or legal separation proceedings. Assets, custody, alimony, and other forms of support are agreed upon by the couple upon separation and the agreement will usually be absorbed in the final divorce decree.
  • A postnuptial agreement will also set up the rights of a couple in a future divorce. This agreement will not only cover the assets of the couple but also limit or waive spousal support.

Spousal support

Spousal support is a type of financial payment from both parties when separated from sousal care. Spousal support supports an unemployed spouse in order to keep their standard of living as high as possible. Generally, couples should pay for support at their end for a certain period of time. When an individual breaks up, they must decide what spousal support they need when they split up.

Shared assets

Shares of property are property owned by parties. If property matters arise when one party has broken up with a spouse, they must find and specify the division between assets. In default courts, they may distribute asset in a proportional fashion of 50/50. In some cases equitable distributions can be divided 50/50. Standard methods can vary depending on state laws. It is also possible to split an asset if both parties contribute money to the asset.

Dependent children

Dependent children are biological children that parents are required to care for. Dependents typically are children less than the age of 18. Depending on the nature of the relationship, a parent may have inherited a right or another right that affects the agreement.

Shared debt

Shared debt (or joint debt) are debts that are legally owned by each party at the point the parties break up. These include cosigned loans, credit card debt, or mortgage debt. The debt remains with the party who retains the possession in the event of a divorce.

FAQ About Postnuptial Agreements

Postnuptial agreements address a variety of concerns. One should consider entering this agreement when there may be unfairness with the assets in the event of a separation or divorce. This may include one inheriting a significant asset prior to marriage, having a disabled partner who may be dependent, or one parent being a stay-at-home parent. This may also be done to ensure fairness and equity with assets in the event of divorce.
No, there are no limits. Entering a postnuptial agreement can be done no matter how long the marriage is, and later postnuptial agreements are actually very common.
No, you do not have to be divorced to be able to enter a postnuptial agreement. This process is accomplished before a divorce or legal separation to define the agreements regarding assets for a couple.
No, it does not lead to separation. While this is a difficult topic to discuss for a couple, marriage is a big life decision that may have unexpected consequences. It is similar to purchasing car insurance when buying a car – you do not have an intention of crashing your car, but having insurance gives you protection in case it happens. It is a practical and sensible choice.

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