Postnuptial agreements don’t get the same kind of attention as a prenuptial agreement, but they are essentially the same thing. A postnuptial agreement is a binding legal document you enter into once you are married, unlike a prenup that’s handled prior to exchanging your vows. The primary purpose of a postnuptial agreement is long-term financial planning. There are many reasons to create a postnuptial agreement, and there are many reasons you want to hire an attorney or two to help you create the most beneficial postnuptial agreement for you and your family.
Why do I want a postnuptial agreement?
Before you take a moment to write it off as a bad idea, take a moment to understand a postnuptial agreement does not mean your marriage is suffering. It has nothing to do with the state of happiness in your marriage and everything to do with your financial protection in case something changes in the future. For example, a wife who decides to leave her career to stay home with the kids she’s having might like to know she’s protected if her husband decides to leave her or mistreat her and cause her to leave.
It’s also recommended if you and your spouse decide to start a business or it might protect you if your spouse dies unexpectedly. A postnuptial agreement is a tool meant to help with financial planning, and it’s not a bad thing. There is no right or wrong reason to want a postnuptial agreement, but it is imperative you know what you want, how you want it, and how to make this a binding legal document.
Hire an Attorney
In fact, hire two attorneys. Both you and your spouse need an attorney of your own to handle your postnuptial agreement. You want someone to draft the agreement and you each want an attorney who is working to ensure your rights are being upheld and you are not being taken advantage of in this situation. This is not to say your spouse would take advantage of you, but there are all kinds of people in the world and you never know precisely how your spouse feels about your marriage when this kind of agreement is created.
A postnuptial agreement is not valid in New York if it is not in writing. Verbal contracts are not considered valid, and they will not be upheld in a court of law. He said, she said situations are not considered legal, and a judge will not consider this if your marriage fails in the future. You must also sign the agreement together. It’s helpful to have a neutral third party such as a notary public sign as well. This shows you were of sound mind when you agreed to this, and it helps make the document legal.
The purpose of hiring attorneys to help with the creation of a postnuptial agreement is to make it legal. When an agreement of this nature is done incorrectly, it’s not going to hold up in a court of law. When it’s legal and binding, it’s difficult to argue the validity of this document. Now is the time to hire an attorney to help you draft an agreeable postnuptial agreement that protects you both in case of divorce or even death.
An attorney can help you with provisions, such as citing the agreement becomes null if one party cheats or if the kids are grown by the time divorce occurs. It’s a sticky financial situation for many couples, which is why an attorney can help ease the stress of creating this type of document.
Many people are aware that a prenuptial agreement is a legally-binding agreement that a couple enters into before their marriage. It specifies the couple’s agreed-upon arrangement for dividing assets, debts and more in the event of divorce. A postnuptial agreement is less known, but it is nonetheless an effective way for couples to agree on a division of assets, debts and more before filing for divorce because a realistic possibility. In many instances, a postnuptial agreement is entered into when the couple is happy rather than when a divorce is pending. If you have been thinking about contacting a New York City postnuptial lawyer to explore your legal options and to determine if this type of agreement would benefit you, consider spending a few minutes learning more about what a postnuptial agreement actually is before consulting with a lawyer.
Common Reasons to Sign a Postnuptial Agreement
One of the primary reasons why couples sign a postnuptial agreement is because they overlooked signing a prenuptial agreement before their marriage. Some couples also sign a postnuptial agreement when their financial situation changes dramatically after getting married or for numerous other reasons. A postnuptial agreement is typically signed when a married couple is happy and can agree on important matters together, such as how they may divide their property and debts in the event of a divorce. These same factors may be decided during divorce proceedings, but this is a time when couples may not be able to come to an agreement. You can see that it may be best for both parties to prepare a postnuptial agreement and to agree to the terms of a divorce before the matter of divorce becomes a serious possibility in the relationship.
Traits of a Valid Postnuptial Agreement
Some couples may consider preparing and signing their own postnuptial agreement without the assistance of a New York City lawyer, but this is not advisable. Keep in mind a valid postnuptial agreement recognized by a court will have several traits, and these include that it is written and that both parties enter into it voluntary. Some judges will strike down a postnuptial agreement if both parties were not legally represented by their own lawyer before signing the agreement. In addition, a postnuptial agreement should include a full disclosure of each person’s assets and debts at the time of signing the agreement as well as the couple’s marital assets and debt. Income is also usually disclosed. Furthermore, the agreement should be reasonably fair to both parties, and it must be properly executed. For example, it generally needs to be notarized. If all of these conditions are not met, a judge may rule that a postnuptial agreement is not valid at the time of a divorce.
When a Postnuptial Agreement Should Not Be Used
In addition to providing directions for the division of assets and debts, a postnuptial agreement may discuss child custody arrangements, alimony payments and terms of a legal separation before the couple decides to divorce. You can see that signing a postnuptial agreement may make sense for many couples, and it can be protective of both parties’ interests and rights. However, there are times when a postnuptial agreement is not advisable. When there is a huge disparity between the income levels of both spouses, the couple should carefully analyze their agreement for terms in a postnuptial contract. Signing this document in this type of situation may not be ideal for the lower wage earner. A postnuptial agreement should also not be used if both parties are not represented by their own attorney and if one party may have a valid reason to claim that he or she was coerced into signing the agreement.
If you are thinking about signing a postnuptial agreement, you likely have valid concerns about what may happen in the event of a divorce. Now is the time to address your concerns through a postnuptial agreement. By signing this type of agreement, you and your spouse may be able to relax in the marriage knowing that neither party will suffer unnecessarily if the marriage ends in divorce. To learn more about this type of agreement, contact a New York City postnuptial lawyer for a consultation.