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Postnuptial Agreements-What Are They?

What are postnuptial agreements?

So, you made the leap and entered in without protecting your assets. You suddenly become worried about ensuring that certain property, assets, finances and debts are identified and legally defined related to “who gets what” in the event of a divorce. Enter the postnuptial agreement.

Postnuptial agreements (or post-nups), just as prenuptial agreements, are most often born out of one’s concerns about consequences that come with divorce…especially related to assets, property, finances and debts. Unlike its prenuptial counterpart, postnuptial agreements most often present challenges when it comes to enforcing the terms.

What are postnuptial agreements?

It’s an agreement entered into “after” the marriage or civil union occurs, that establishes how a couple’s assets, property, finances and debt will be divided in the event of divorce. This is often used to avoid being subject to state property division laws as well as highly skilled lawyers who are able to maneuver a greater share and benefit to their client (your pending ex-spouse).

Why in the world do something like this after you are married? Well, the list is long, but there are some very valid reasons why some individuals may consider entering into a postnup. For instance:

  • You have children from a previous marriage, are on your second or third (or more…ouch) marriage, and you want to be sure that there are assets for those children.
  • You discover that your loving spouse has entered the world of being unfaithful. If, after discovering this, both parties wish to try to work things out, engaging a postnup to establish favorable terms to your spouse may be viewed as a good faith and serious effort to make things work.

If you are suddenly feeling that this applies to you and you are ready to jump on the post nuptial agreement train, it is very important to understand that not only can it set forth some pretty intense and negative feelings from your spouse (the one not engaged in extramarital activities), these agreements can often be challenging, and even unenforceable, in many courts.

The morale of the story is simple…if you are concerned about protecting assets, finances, property, etc. before you get married, consider talking to a family lawyer skilled in prenuptial agreements, about your options. Although it may not be accepted with loving arms by your future spouse, it is often better and safer to do it before you enter the marriage. If you find yourself facing these concerns after the marriage, although they can be prepared and successful, know that you will likely face some significant challenges


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