What Is Included in a Postnuptial Agreement?

What Is Included in a Postnuptial Agreement?

Marriage is a binding legal agreement entered into by two parties. The marriage binds the financial and other assets of the couple together legally. Whatever debts, money or property held during the marriage are subject to splitting when the marriage dissolves. Postnuptial agreements are one way the spouses can outline the dissolution of assets before the courts get involved should the marriage end.

Postnuptial Basics

Sharing assets is part of marriage, but these same shared assets are subject to an equitable or 50/50 split upon divorce. While celebrities and other famous people are known for their prenuptial agreements, a postnuptial agreement is less well known. Once the couple marries, they can enter a postnuptial agreement that puts into place specific parameter for separating assets should the marriage end.

Common Reasons

There are several reasons a couple may choose to enter a postnuptial agreement. Some of the most common include:

  • Streamline the divorce or separation process before litigation begins
  • Staying home with young children after working to secure financial assets
  • Inheritance for children from prior relationships
  • Simply to clarify how to separate assets
  • When one party is financially irresponsible after the marriage

Invalidation Concerns

A party can invalidate the postnuptial agreement in a few ways. An unconscionable agreement, false information, incomplete information and invalid provisions can all cancel the agreement. Some states require independent counsel for the agreement to be valid. All states require the agreement in writing with both parties voluntarily agreeing after due consideration.

Noncovered Items

Keep in mind that a postnuptial agreement does not cover basic marital relationship aspects. Neither does the agreement handle the issues of child support or custody.

Agreement Preparation

Once the parties have decided to obtain a postnuptial agreement, each spouse should contact a family law attorney. The lawyer can ensure the document meets any technical and legal requirements imposed by the state.

Choosing the right attorney to complete the postnuptial agreement can help make the process easier on the parties involved. Find one you feel comfortable with handling your individual concerns.

About Oliver Ross

Oliver Ross, JD*, PhD founded Out-of-Court Solutions Inc. in 1995 and since then has mediated over 3,000 divorce and family matters. He is a select member of the Maricopa Superior Court Family Mediation roster