Most people have heard about prenuptial agreements, which allow a couple to address a number of issues related to property and inheritance rights in marriage, as well as other spousal obligations, before they get married. In some cases, spouses who didn’t get a prenup wish they had put some crucial issues in writing before the marriage started.
While you cannot create a prenuptial agreement after the marital vows have been exchanged and the marriage has been legally recognized, you can draft a marital contract of a similar kind once you’re married. Such a contract is called a postnuptial agreement. Read on to find out what a postnuptial agreement is and why you may want to get one.
Postnuptial Agreements in a Nutshell
A postnuptial agreement can either adjust certain provisions of an already existing prenuptial agreement or be used to regulate important aspects of marital finances if a couple didn’t decide to draft a prenup before the marriage. Therefore, both pre- and postnuptial agreements serve the same general purposes, which include defining marital and separate property and establishing inheritance rights. The key benefits of having a postnuptial agreement include:
1. Fomenting Communication
Talking about financial issues such as property division, debt, and inheritance may be difficult. Creating a postnuptial agreement may actually facilitate communication in that regard as it requires both spouses to sit down, talk, negotiate, and cooperate with each other. By keeping the lines of communication open even when it comes to subjects many find uncomfortable, spouses set clear expectations, define both shared and separate financial goals, and put into place important boundaries. All this may help avoid conflict when dealing with financial matters later on.
2. Saving Your Marriage
While this may seem counterintuitive to many, creating a postnuptial agreement may actually save a marriage rather than weaken it. For example, if spouses exhibit different spending habits, have different expectations with regards to financial issues, or show a lack of honesty when dealing with money matters, a serious conflict is bound to arise. Creating a postnuptial agreement may help spouses identify areas of conflict and address them in a productive way. Additionally, if one of the spouses lack financial responsibility, it may also help them change their destructive behavior.
3. Protecting You From a Messy Divorce
Even though thinking about pre- or postnuptial agreements in terms of “preparing” for a divorce or eventual death, is not only a gross oversimplification but also a misconstruction of the purpose of these documents, the fact is that a postnuptial agreement can help couples avoid bitter conflicts over money during a divorce. A postnuptial agreement usually regulates most of the issues many couples fight about when negotiating the terms of a divorce. Therefore, when such a contract is in place before the divorce proceedings have even started, both spouses will know exactly how the division of assets will look like after the divorce is finalized. This can spare a divorcing couple a lot of unnecessary conflict and pain.
Do You Need a Postnuptial Agreement?
If you and your spouse have decided that you need a postnuptial agreement, do not hesitate to reach out to us. The attorneys at Haas & Associates, P.A. will help you define your needs and expectations and create a postnuptial agreement that reflects the interests of both you and your marriage. In addition, we always treat our clients with dignity and utmost discretion, especially when dealing with family matters as delicate as postnuptial agreements. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.