For many people, a prenuptial agreement is a worthwhile document to have. Based on state law, it can dictate how people will deal with property, support and more if the marriage happens to fall on hard times and end in divorce. In some cases, however, people do not choose to forge this type of agreement until after they have already gotten married. A postnuptial agreement can also be a key document. Still, it is important to know when to get one and what the parameters are.
Prenuptial agreements, postnuptial agreements and fundamental requirements
In general, there is little difference between a prenuptial and postnuptial agreement. A vital difference is that the court must approve a postnuptial agreement before it will become effective. As for the parameters, it can cover property and how it is allocated; the right to decide how to handle property such as selling it, transferring it and more; creating a will or trust; and provisions for spousal support if there is a divorce. After the marriage, the prenuptial agreement can be altered or revoked if both sides agree to it.
Regarding enforcement, the party who is signing the agreement at the behest of the other must understand that it is voluntary; that it can be unenforceable if it is found to have been unfair or they did not have a full accounting of the holdings and financial obligations; that they had the right to legal counsel; and they were given sufficient time between the agreement being presented and signed to analyze it and its ramifications.
People who have already gotten married and did not have a prenuptial agreement might want to craft a postnuptial agreement. Perhaps there was a business that suddenly improved markedly after the couple was married and there are concerns as to how it might be divided in a divorce. One party might come into money and an agreement might be needed to protect their interests. Or they simply chose to get married before they were aware of the other person’s situation and they want to create an agreement to address lingering concerns. Any of these factors can be crucial when deciding to move forward with a postnuptial agreement.
Having a legal prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can avoid dispute during divorce
Creating a postnuptial agreement is not an indicator that there are second thoughts about the marriage or suspicion about the intentions of the other party. Just like a prenuptial agreement, it is a protective measure to avoid dispute if the marriage happens to end in divorce. When creating a document of this kind, it is important to understand the fundamentals. This is true for both sides. Knowing how property ownership is determined – separate property, community property or commingled property; deciding who has the right to it; splitting it in a way that is deemed fair and more will unavoidably come to the forefront with prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. To navigate this delicate territory and create a document that both sides can accept, guidance might be needed. Consulting with those experienced in these areas of family law can be helpful.