Contrary to what the name might suggest, a postnuptial agreement is a contract that is drawn up before a marriage ends (but after it begins). It is similar to a prenuptial agreement in that it outlines a plan for the division of property and other assets as well as debts and spousal support in the event that the marriage ends either in a death of one spouse or in divorce. Many additional provisions can be outlined in a postnup, depending on each couple’s individual needs. The agreement is a document designed by the parties rather than by the use stock language.
Postnuptial agreements are a newer phenomenon but they are certainly increasing in popularity.
A postnup can be prepared any time after a couple enters into a marriage. However, they are often drawn up when the marriage is not going the way one or both partners would like. The agreement can be used to improve the quality of the marriage in order to prevent it from ending, and it can also be used to ensure that proceedings flow as smoothly as possible, should the marriage end in divorce.
In my practice, clients in search of a postnuptial agreement find that the process as a whole is incredibly helpful for them personally and as it relates to their marriage. Often, I see clients who are concerned about their spouse’s spending habits or issues such as division of labor. A postnuptial agreement can be used to openly discuss these concerns with the help of a qualified attorney. Terms which both parties deem fair and agree on are then documented in the agreement. More often than not, the quality of the marriage improves dramatically.
Should the marriage ultimately end in divorce, provisions in the postnuptial agreement such as division of assets, spousal support payments, a division of debt, and the way in which any children are supported financially will already be determined. This will save lawyers’ fees and, undoubtedly, headaches, as the couple will not be required to hash out these arrangements while in the midst of a divorce. Setting up a postnup while both partners are still committed to the marriage and before the animosity that is often a part of divorce takes over is a far simpler plan.
If you and your spouse need to formulate a plan to reduce tension and anxiety surrounding the future distribution of assets or creation of new property interests, contact the Hills Law Group today.