Most people know that a prenuptial agreement, also known as a prenup, is for couples about to get married. But many have not heard of another type of marital agreement — the postnuptial agreement. The postnuptial agreement can be helpful for couples to establish after they have gotten married. A postnup can outline solutions to a number of marital issues that may arise during a divorce or estate dispute and avoid contentious and drawn-out legal battles later on.
What is a Postnuptial Agreement?
A postnuptial agreement is a legal document signed by a couple after a marriage takes place that determines a number of issues before they come into a dispute during a divorce or probate matter. These issues can include the division of assets and debts and determinations about businesses, retirement accounts, and other valuable pieces of property. A postnuptial agreement can also address issues of spousal support but can not contain any determinations of child support or custody. Those issues are determined by the court after identifying what is in the best interests of the child.
Postnuptial agreements are nearly identical to prenuptial agreements in that the terms must be fair and conscionable for both spouses in order to be enforceable. If the court feels like one spouse is being taken advantage of or unreasonable disfavored in a postnuptial agreement, it can throw the agreement out and deem it void. A postnuptial agreement can be crafted and signed at any time during the marriage if both spouses agree.
When a Postnuptial Agreement Might be Helpful
Postnuptial agreements can be particularly helpful if the marriage creates a mixed family with a child or children from a prior relationship. The postnuptial agreement can clarify how an estate should be distributed in the case of either spouse’s death and what the rights of inheritance are in the family. It can ensure that a child is entitled to certain assets in the event of a spouse’s death. This type of agreement is also beneficial if one spouse stops working to care for minor children to ensure that he or she will still receive certain financial benefits in the case of divorce.
Another situation in which a postnuptial agreement is helpful is when one spouse takes on a considerable amount of debt during the divorce, such as with student loans or starting a business. This can also help clarify who is responsible for marital debts if one spouse takes on a considerable amount of credit card debt prior to a divorce. A postnuptial agreement can also be helpful in the reverse scenario, when one or both spouses are bringing assets into the marriage that they want to keep protected during a divorce or estate distribution. A family law attorney can help explain the benefits of a postnuptial agreement for you and your spouse.
Call or Contact a Pennsylvania Divorce Attorney Today
If you have concerns about a postnuptial agreement, an experienced divorce attorney in your area may be able to help. Call or contact the Martin Law Firm today to discuss your legal options.