What to Look For in a Postnuptial Agreement

Many couples do not want to enter into a marriage with a prenuptial agreement because it seems like they are setting themselves up for failure before they even say ‘I do.’ However, after tying the knot, some couples may decide that it is a good idea to take steps to protect and/or divide property in the event divorce does occur. If this is the case, a couple can choose to write a postnuptial agreement. This agreement typically includes the same information as a prenup, it is just signed after the marriage begins.

Benefits of a Postnuptial Agreement

There are numerous reasons for a couple to get a postnuptial agreement. It helps clarify that pre-marital property stay with the original owner, and it can determine how assets and debt will be distributed in the event of a divorce. Some other common reasons for a postnup include:

  • One spouse decides to stay at home to raise children
  • Inheritance for children from prior relationships
  • One spouse begins his or her own business
  • In case one spouse makes irresponsible decisions financially or takes on a lot of individual debt
  • A large inheritance is expected

What to Include

A postnuptial agreement typically outlines how property and other assets will be divided. It also discusses how debt accumulated during the marriage will be divided. Other topics may include each partner’s responsibilities in regard to contributing to retirement or investment accounts, how joint bank accounts are managed, how spousal alimony will be determined and how to manage credit cards. A postnup may not include decisions pertaining to child custody and support.

Invalidation Terms

Even though a couple has signed a postnuptial agreement, there are certain conditions in which the judge may invalidate it and not honor the provisions. This includes if either party was pressured to sign it, if the agreement contains false information, the agreement is extremely unfair to one party or if it outlines anything illegal.

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