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Understanding Postnuptial Agreements

Marriage can be a beautiful thing, but it also comes with its own set of challenges. One of these challenges is the possibility of divorce, which can be emotionally and financially devastating for both parties.

Enter postnuptial agreements—a legal contract that spouses can enter into during their marriage to address issues related to financial assets, debts, and obligations in the event of a divorce.

While postnuptial agreements are often associated with high-profile celebrities and wealthy individuals, they are also becoming more common for everyday couples.

In this blog post, we’ll look closely at postnuptial agreements, what they are, and why they might be worth considering for your marriage. Whether you’re newlyweds or have been married for decades, understanding postnuptial agreements can help protect you and your spouse’s interests in a divorce.

What is a Postnuptial Agreement?

A postnuptial agreement, alternatively referred to as a “post-marital agreement” or “postnup,” is a legal document that spouses create after getting married.

This document lays out how financial assets will be divided in the event of a divorce and can also establish responsibilities for children and other obligations during the marriage.

It is distinct from a prenuptial agreement, which is signed before marriage.

Why Create a Postnuptial Agreement?

There are many situations where a postnuptial agreement is considered. In some cases, these agreements will be made if one of the spouses has the potential to begin earning or inheriting a lot of money.

Another reason some couples sign a postnuptial agreement is to help reestablish trust after a major fight or an affair. The offending party may agree to a postnuptial agreement that is favorable to their spouse in an attempt to show that they are serious about fixing their relationship.

Of course, there are many other reasons why an agreement like this can benefit a couple.

Postnuptial Vs. Prenuptial Agreements

The biggest difference between a prenuptial and a postnuptial agreement is the timing of getting the agreement written and signed. Prenuptial agreements are completed before the marriage, and postnuptial agreements are signed after the marriage.

Most prenuptial agreements are put in place because one of the parties has significantly more assets coming into the marriage than the other. This is not the case with a postnuptial agreement since both parties would have a right to all marital assets.

Both can effectively identify how assets will be divided in a future divorce. These agreements can be initiated by either party or mutually agreed upon from the beginning.

When written properly, they are both enforceable in courts, so don’t sign one intending to fight it should the time come.

What Does a Postnuptial Agreement Address?

State law may affect what is valid and enforceable in a postnuptial agreement, but here are some key considerations to include in such an agreement:

  • Asset division — A postnuptial agreement can specify how marital property will be divided in the event of a divorce.
  • Marital debts — The agreement can also address how debts, such as credit card balances and shared bills, will be divided.
  • Spousal support — If one spouse is entitled to spousal support, the agreement can outline the terms of such support.
  • Child care/support — The agreement can address child support and child custody arrangements, including specific details such as visitation schedules and decision-making authority.
  • Asset distribution after death — The agreement can establish what happens to assets if one spouse passes away while still married, even guiding if the couple is considering divorce or amid divorce proceedings. This provision may override a last will and testament.

What Does It Take to Make a Postnuptial Agreement Valid?

A valid postnuptial agreement must meet the following requirements:

  1. It must be in writing (oral agreements are not enforceable).
  2. Both parties must enter into the agreement voluntarily and without coercion.
  3. There must be full and fair disclosure of all relevant information when the agreement is signed.
  4. The terms of the agreement must be fair and reasonable and not unfairly one-sided.
  5. Both parties must sign the agreement for it to be valid.

Put Your Agreements in Writing Today

When having postnuptial agreement documents drawn up, each party should have their own legal representation to avoid the possibility of an attorney putting the needs of just one of their clients ahead of the other.

If you think a postnuptial agreement is a good idea in your marriage, please contact Vasquez de Lara Law Group to discuss your options.

Author Bio

Vanessa Vasquez de Lara is the founder and owner of Vasquez de Lara Law Group, a Miami family law firm. With over 20 years of experience in family law, she has zealously represented clients in various legal matters, including divorces, child support, child custody, alimony, and other family law cases.

Vanessa received her Juris Doctor from the University of Miami School of Law in 2002 and is a member of the Florida Bar Association. She has received numerous accolades for her work, including being named to the 2015 Super Lawyers Rising Stars and the 2016-2023 Super Lawyers list.

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