Many people have heard of prenuptial agreements — the legal pact that couples make prior to marriage that settles possible issues in the event of a divorce or other major life issues. Many couples draft these agreements in order to protect their assets and income, settle issues like child custody, and other common marital concerns.
Postnuptial agreements are similar to prenups, in that they address many of the same issues, but they are not as commonly done. As the name suggests, postnuptial agreements are drafted once the marriage has already begun, and they are used to sort out complicated financial concerns, income and assets, future childcare arrangements, and other major responsibilities. One can also use a postnuptial agreement to settle technicalities like power of attorney, wills, and estate planning, allowing couples to have open and honest communication about important marital decisions.
Reasons to Consider a Postnuptial Agreement
- Uncomplicate and resolve debts
Debt issues are a leading cause of stress in any marriage, and the resulting frustrations can sometimes lead to a breakdown in marital communication. Postnuptial agreements can lessen much of the stress here by putting into writing who exactly is responsible for paying off a given debt(s). Individual debts can be placed under one name or the names of both parties. Having this made clear through a legal document can make your financial future much clearer, and you and your partner will be grateful for the organized method with which the debts are handled.
- Determine future marital preferences
As couples make plans to grow old together, a postnuptial agreement can help codify what is important, and what is valued, in the marriage. These plans are often financial, but do not necessarily have to be. That being said, financial planning is a significant long-term goal that couples have to consider. This can involve retirement plans, education funding for your children, or setting aside money to purchase a permanent home. Whatever these issues may be, a postnuptial agreement can make it so that you and your partner are on the same page in the case of a custody dispute or other potential issue in a divorce.
- Make plans to account for illness and death
In the event that a spouse falls seriously ill or dies, a postnuptial agreement can help you by putting certain protections in place. This will be beneficial for both the surviving spouse and any children in the marriage. When you are drafting your agreement, you can put in provisions that deal with health and life insurance, care options, power of attorney, wills (and the need to update them), and estate planning.
- Asset division in the event of a divorce
As we have seen, postnuptial agreements do not necessarily have to apply to contingency plans for a possible divorce in Shelby County or wherever you live. But in the case that it does happen, and a prenuptial agreement is not in place, a postnuptial agreement is a fine “insurance policy” to have in place.
Different spouses may have separate concerns and finances both in and prior to the marriage. There are debts, which were previously outlined, but there are also business stakes, family investments, inheritance from other family members, and the welfare of any children from previous relationships to consider. A postnuptial agreement that codifies what to do with these concerns can remove major future headaches should the couple end up divorcing.
Now that we have seen what postnuptial agreements can do to lessen financial and legal complexities, it may be time to ask if you and your spouse could benefit from signing one. If you believe that a postnuptial agreement can help your marriage there are experienced divorce attorneys in Hoover, or wherever you reside, who can help you prepare one.
Attorney Steven A. Harris regularly blogs in the areas of family law, bankruptcy, and real estate closings on this website. He is always available in any of the firm’s offices or by phone anytime for a consultation. Mr. Harris tries to provide informative information to the public in easily digestible formats. Hopefully you enjoyed this article and feel free to supply any feedback. We appreciate our readers and love to hear from you!