Thanks to Hollywood, virtually everyone knows about prenuptial agreements. To protect their financial and other interests, intending spouses sign these legally enforceable contracts before they walk down the aisle. Another equally important agreement does not get much air time on the silver screen, however.
Postnuptial agreements are like prenuptial ones, except they happen after a couple of weds. While individuals often use prenuptial agreements to save rocky marriages, they are just as useful for those in happy unions.
Why do couples draft postnuptial agreements?
If you and your spouse did not negotiate a prenuptial agreement, you each may want some protection in the event of divorce. Alternatively, you may want to replace an outdated or ineffective prenuptial agreement with a new contract. This may be due to new wealth, the addition of children to your family or another reason.
What goes into a postnuptial agreement?
Married couples have wide latitude to draft postnuptial agreements. As long as the agreement meets some legal requirements and does not run counter to public policy, it is probably enforceable. You may want to address one or more of the following topics:
- Marital and separate property
- Spousal maintenance
- Child support
- Child custody
- Household duties
When can you write a postnuptial agreement?
Just as you maintain significant control over what to put in your postnuptial agreement, you can decide when to create one. If you think a divorce may be imminent, though, you may want to act soon. Likewise, if you want your postnuptial agreement to improve your marriage, it may make sense to work with your spouse to negotiate one before your marriage further deteriorates.
Ultimately, because drafting a workable postnuptial agreement takes time, you may want to begin the process as soon as possible.