Finances change during the course of a marriage, and many married couples may need the help of an experienced family law attorney to navigate these changes in their overall financial plans. The Gainesville family law attorneys with The Law Office of Silverman, Mack & Associates can help couples draft a postnuptial contract that determines their individual financial rights and responsibilities and creates guidelines for the equitable division of marital assets in the event of a divorce.
What Is A Postnuptial Agreement?
A postnuptial agreement is a contract between spouses that determines how the couple will divide income and property in the event of separation, divorce, or death. Although many people associate postnuptial agreements with the end of a marriage, these contracts can actually improve the state of a marriage by clearly defining the financial responsibilities of each spouse. Financial stress or disagreements are two of the primary causes of tension within a marriage; a postnuptial contract can remove the possibility of financial miscommunication and improve the state of a marriage.
Prenuptial Agreement Vs. Postnuptial Agreement
Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are similar contracts, but a prenuptial agreement is agreed to before a marriage, while a postnuptial agreement is created during a marriage. Postnuptial agreements are usually prompted by a change in finances, such as a promotion or unexpected inheritance. Postnuptial agreements can also amend a preexisting prenuptial agreement. Because the court considers individuals to have less bargaining power after marriage, postnuptial agreements will sometimes receive stricter examination during divorce proceedings than prenuptial agreements. An experienced postnuptial agreement attorney is necessary to ensure the contract is airtight.
Why Do I Need A Postnuptial Agreement?
There are a variety of reasons for entering a postnuptial contract. A couple’s financial situation can change in many ways over the course of a marriage, and a postnuptial agreement can help navigate these situations.
- Stay-at-home spouse: A stay-at-home parent becomes completely dependent on the working spouse for income. A postnuptial agreement will reassure the stay-at-home spouse that they will still have income should the marriage end.
- Business partners: If one spouse owns a business with partners, their business partners may insist on a postnuptial agreement to avoid ownership problems in the event of a divorce.
- Inheritance: If one spouse’s relatives want to pass property or assets to their children but not their children’s spouse, a postnuptial agreement can be drafted in a way that honors their wishes.
- Debt: If one spouse has accrued considerable debt or made irresponsible financial decisions during the marriage, a postnuptial agreement can protect the other partner’s assets.
- Postnuptial agreement after infidelity: A married couple can agree to a financial penalty in the event of infidelity. An unfaithful spouse may agree to turn over a particular piece of property to the other spouse, or the party may arrange a trust for the other spouse to indicate regret and future commitment.
Are Postnuptial Agreements Legally Enforceable?
In order to be valid and enforceable in court, postnuptial contracts must meet several basic requirements.
- Oral postnuptial agreements are not valid. Postnuptial agreements must be written.
- Both parties must have entered the agreement willingly. Any indication that one party was coerced into agreeing to the contract nullifies the agreement.
- When the postnuptial agreement is drafted, both parties must provide a full and fair disclosure of assets, income, and liabilities. If either party supplies incorrect or incomplete information, the postnuptial agreement is not considered valid.
- Postnuptial agreements must be fair. A contract that is one-sided or unjust is not enforceable.
- Individual states enforce specific requirements for valid postnuptial agreements. A postnuptial agreement lawyer in Gainesville can draft a postnuptial contract that meets all state requirements to ensure the contract is legally enforceable.
In the event of a divorce, a postnuptial agreement drafted by a family law attorney offers a number of benefits, including a shorter divorce process, more control over the division of assets, liabilities, and spousal support, and less money spent on court and attorney fees. If you and your spouse frequently argue over finances, a postnuptial agreement can help renew confidence in your marriage. For more information about postnuptial contracts, contact the postnuptial agreement attorneys of The Law Office of Silverman, Mack & Associates today for a free consultation.