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If the concept of a postnuptial agreement seems confusing, you are not alone in that thought. A prenuptial agreement is well-known, and it comes with its own sort of reputation. Prenups are often thought of as documents wealthy men and women provide their less wealthy future spouse prior to the wedding. It’s considered by many an insult, but it’s merely a form of financial protection when someone with ample assets goes into a marriage with someone else. Even people who are both independently wealthy want to protect their own assets in the marriage.
Like a prenuptial agreement, a postnuptial agreement is designed to protect your financial interests. The difference is a postnuptial agreement is created and signed following the wedding. Couples who have already married sign these forms, and they are not nearly as uncommon as you might imagine.
Why do people get postnuptial agreements?
Most people want to protect their financial interests, their own businesses, and even their children once they’re married. Let’s say you start a business with your spouse that takes off and becomes successful. Now you want to protect your interest in this business if you ever divorce in case your spouse tries to take over your portion of the business or so you can leave it to your kids if anything should happen to you before you’re ready to go. There are endless reasons you might decide a postnuptial agreement is the right decision, and some of them are more common than others.
– The best interests of your children: This is a great way to pre-establish how you want to handle custody and support issues if you ever divorce. It’s not something the court will consider set in stone, but it does help if you ever divorce and want to handle the kids in a mutually beneficial manner.
– Debts from before marriage: Sometimes you go into a marriage with debts of your own. You and your spouse might want to get it in writing so you are not responsible for one another’s debt in the event of a failed marriage.
– Support of kids of a prior marriage: If you have kids that are from another relationship outside of your marriage, you might want to ensure they are fully supported if you are divorced. This is only necessary if your spouse does not adopt your children legally.
– Defining marital property: It’s a great way to predetermine who gets what, who has what portion of your shared assets, debts, and liabilities.
– Maintenance: If one of you stays home with the kids and agrees to leave your career to do so, you can establish maintenance so your spouse cannot just walk away and leave you with nothing.
Call an Attorney
An attorney is necessary if you want to make sure your postnuptial agreement is legally binding. When it’s drawn up by an attorney, signed in front of an attorney, and handled by an attorney, it’s more likely your agreement will stand up in a court of law. Verbal agreements are not valid, agreements that are not signed by a witness or notary are invalid, and documents that don’t use the correct legal terms are invalid in many instances. An attorney can ensure your postnuptial agreement is legal, binding, and that it protects your assets, interests, businesses, and children.