What Is A Postnuptial Agreement?
You may have heard of a prenuptial agreement, which is a document that a couple signs and agrees to before marriage. It outlines how property is to be split in the event of a divorce. But how exactly does a postnuptial agreement work?
A postnuptial agreement works the same way, but it is done when the couple is already married. Maybe they didn’t think of it before marriage or maybe the financial situation has changed. One party may have started a business or maybe one party wants to ensure their spouse has no rights to a future inheritance.
A postnuptial agreement does not necessarily mean a divorce is imminent, but it could be. If that’s the case, then the postnup might include details about how assets will be divided. It can also touch upon issues such as alimony and a spouse’s personal debts.
A postnuptial agreement must have the following five elements:
- It must be in writing (judges are not willing to enforce oral promises)
- It must be done voluntarily (with no force or coercion)
- There must be full disclosure.
- It must not be excessively unreasonable or one-sided.
- It must be signed by both parties.
Why Might You Need a Postnuptial Agreement?
While not every married couple may need a postnuptial agreement, there are several situations in which you may want to consider one.
- One or both parties are wealthy. In a divorce, a person could lose half their fortune. With a postnuptial agreement in place, the wealthy party can be left mostly whole in a divorce, although they can expect to give up some of their money so that their spouse can have a decent lifestyle post-divorce.
- One party owns a business. A postnuptial agreement can help you keep assets you acquire during the marriage, including businesses. If you own a business, you can prevent your spouse from taking a percentage of it in a divorce by having them sign a postnuptial agreement.
- You received an inheritance. If you don’t want your spouse to receive a portion of your inheritance, opt for a prenup. While inheritances are considered non-marital property, if your inheritance gets commingled, or mixed up with marital funds, your spouse can try to take their portion of it in a divorce. A postnup can prevent this from happening.
- You have children from a previous marriage. A postnuptial agreement can ensure your children receive an inheritance in the event of your death. Without an estate plan or postnup, your spouse will receive everything.
Contact a Maryland Family Law Attorney Today
A postnuptial agreement may have the wrong connotation for some, but it doesn’t mean that divorce is in your future. Instead, it’s there to protect you financially should your marriage end.
Need help with postnups and other family law matters? If so, it’s important to work with a trusted attorney who can guide you through the process and ensure you get a valid agreement. Contact the Columbia divorce lawyers at The Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink, P.A. for help today. Call (410) 774-5987 or fill out the online form to schedule a consultation. We have two offices to serve you.