Despite its potential benefits, many couples forego drafting a prenuptial agreement due to the stigma around it. Contrary to popular opinion, prenuptial agreements can protect both spouses while promoting transparency and understanding. Couples who opted not to write a prenup but are reconsidering their decision can still obtain similar protections through a postnuptial agreement.
Postnuptial agreements, like prenuptial agreements, are documents that help spouses determine the division of assets and property as well as spousal support in case of divorce or death. The most notable difference is that postnups are drafted after the wedding and usually in response to a change in circumstances.
When should couples get a postnup?
Changes can unfold over the marriage and raise new concerns, prompting one or both spouses to consider drafting a postnuptial agreement. Usually, spouses seek the security that a postnuptial agreement offers after experiencing a big life event or gaining new insight into their partner’s financial situation.
Circumstances such as an upcoming inheritance, the birth of children or wanting to protect each other from personal debts are some situations that might call for a postnuptial agreement. A major breach in the marriage, such as infidelity, could also push a spouse to want to protect themselves.
However, there are also couples that marry without establishing a prenuptial agreement but later realize they need one.
Postnuptial agreements are financial tools that can help lessen fears by providing reassurance to each spouse that they will be all right should their marriage end in divorce or, more sadly, because of death.
What makes postnuptial agreements enforceable?
A postnuptial agreement is legally binding if it is drafted in writing, satisfies usual contract standards, and is signed by both spouses of sound mind without fraud and coercion. It must not favor one party over another and must not include any terms that encourage divorce.
Failure to follow the state’s specific regulations may render a postnup void. Couples considering a postnup may consider consulting an attorney to gain a better understanding of its benefits and to ensure that its provisions are fair and enforceable.