A postnuptial agreement allows a married couple to determine what will happen with their assets in the event of divorce or the death of one of the spouses. Postnuptial agreements are very similar to prenuptial agreements, except that they are entered into after marriage rather than before.
Postnuptial agreements, or "post-marital agreements," are common in marriages where the spouses each separately own a large number of valuable properties. They are also commonly used if one spouse acquires a particularly valuable asset after marriage.
While most postnuptial agreements deal with the division of marital properties, they may also cover other important issues, such as the future division of debts and child support payments.
The laws governing postnuptial agreements vary by state. However, postnuptial agreements are basically contracts and must, therefore, satisfy contract laws in order to be enforceable.
Most courts will generally look for the following requirements when enforcing a marriage agreement:
These requirements exist to ensure that the agreement was not obtained fraudulently or under unfair conditions between the spouses. For example, having a written document may help to prevent situations where one party attempts to change any terms after the agreement is made. When reviewing a divorce claim, a court will usually use the written document as evidence to determine the spouses’ intentions.
If you are considering enter into a postnuptial agreement, you should consider the following points:
Finally, always record the date of agreement in the written document, as an accurate division of properties is often dependent on the date of the agreement. Be sure to include dates on any revisions of the contract.
In most situations that require a postnuptial agreement, it is also necessary to hire a lawyer. Again, postnuptial agreements can be used for a variety of reasons besides divorce, such as estate planning or business allocations. Be sure to ask your lawyer whether a postnuptial agreement is actually necessary, and what the contract laws in your particular state are.
Last Modified: 05-19-2014 02:57 PM PDTLaw Library Disclaimer
We've helped more than 4 million clients find the right lawyer – for free. Present your case online in minutes. LegalMatch matches you to pre-screened lawyers in your city or county based on the specifics of your case. Within 24 hours experienced local lawyers review it and evaluate if you have a solid case. If so, attorneys respond with an offer to represent you that includes a full attorney profile with details on their fee structure, background, and ratings by other LegalMatch users so you can decide if they're the right lawyer for you.