Postnuptial agreements are not as widely understood as their predecessor — the prenuptial agreement. They serve the same purpose as a prenup, but are drafted after the couple is married. Since assets and property often accrue and shift during marriage, postnups are created to outline how items would be divided upon divorce or death. If your spouse presents you with a document asking you to agree to particular terms about asset division, make sure to thoroughly review it (preferably with counsel) before signing. You may be wildly in love today and wouldn’t dream of splitting, but you have to be smart about your own future if things do not turn out as planned.
Let’s examine one common scenario for the creation of a postnuptial agreement. Say your spouse uses most of his or her inheritance as a down payment for your family home. This may not have been what the two of you had planned before you were married, but things had changed with your jobs and the economy. The money that was set aside for retirement was unfortunately needed to purchase the home. The spouse who had to dip into their inheritance now feels they should get that money back in the event of a divorce. Should you sign a document agreeing to this?
Proceed with caution. If you sign and end up in divorce court, it is almost certain the contract would be binding. A judge would have to be convinced that you knew exactly what you were doing when you signed. Courts consider multiple factors when assessing division of assets, including the needs of children, the length of the marriage, as well as spouses’ ages, health, income and contributions. Non-matrimonial property such as an inheritance can be protected from division. Hopefully the couple in this scenario would agree to the contract and enjoy a long, happy marriage.
There are many issues that arise throughout marriage that prompt individuals to draft postnuptial agreements. These contracts are often entered into following a change in financial or family circumstances. Postnups can provide peace of mind for both parties because they clearly define what will happen in the event of divorce or death.
If you or someone you know is seeking legal guidance and representation from an experienced postnuptial agreement attorney in South Florida, please contact Klein Law Group at 561-220-6659 or fill out the contact form on our website at www.kleinattorneys.com. We offer a free 30-minute consultation to discuss your individual case in family law, bankruptcy, and real estate. Our offices are located in Boca Raton, Florida