While most people are familiar with prenuptial agreements, postnuptial agreements are less common. These are legal agreements developed after a couple has already been married that dictate what would happen if that couple should eventually divorce. While postnuptial agreements are harder to enforce in court, they can still be beneficial to couples who are concerned about their future.
Why are postnups commonly created?
Financial status can change after a marriage has already taken place. As a result, one spouse may suddenly become much wealthier than the other, which can bring up concerns about the financial implications of divorce. In this case, a postnup will establish rules for how this money should be handled in case of divorce. For instance, couples may choose to split the influx of money equitably if both were responsible for a business venture or other lucrative pursuit. One spouse may also sign away their rights to new income, even though it was earned during the course of the marriage.
Postnuptial agreements can also be created to deal with financial disputes within a marriage. Some couples claim that this process is beneficial to their unions since it provides an opportunity to talk through problems and come up with reasonable solutions. It also allows both couples to make their voices heard during negotiations. This is often a better situation than trying to divvy up finances after a divorce is in motion.
How is validity determined by the court?
While in the past postnups weren’t considered valid, more and more courts are honoring these agreements. Valid postnuptials must contain certain elements to be considered enforceable, and these elements are similar to those associated with prenuptial agreements. These elements include:
- Full disclosure of all assets by both spouses
- No evidence of duress or undue force when signing of the agreement
- An agreement that is considered fair to both parties
For example, if one spouse signs away all rights to property, the judge presiding over the divorce is likely to find fault with the document. If you need help creating a valid postnuptial agreement, an attorney’s assistance is recommended.