You may have heard about celebrities and other wealthy people getting prenuptial agreements before marriage. Prenuptial agreements are documents that outline how assets are to be split in the event of divorce. Also common are postnuptial agreements, which are basically the same thing, except the timing is different—they are executed during the marriage, instead of before the wedding.
A postnuptial agreement, however, does have some benefits that a prenup doesn’t have. Because a postnuptial agreement is executed later in life, you’re bound to make better decisions about assets. When a prenuptial agreement is done before marriage, you may not have a firm grasp of what you would like to have happened in certain circumstances. You may make rash decisions because you want to execute the document before the wedding.
With a postnuptial agreement, however, you can often make better decisions because you can implement it later on, as situations arise. For example, you can draft a postnup 10 or 20 years after you get married, when you experience a life change such as starting a business, receiving an inheritance or becoming a grandparent. It’s hard to plan for these situations before you get married, when you may not even know if they will happen.
If you do start a business later in your marriage, for example, a postnuptial agreement can help you with elements such as whether or not your spouse will have a share in the business, whether or not they will be liable for any debts and what marital assets will be used in the business. A postnuptial agreement can also offer protections for your spouse so that they are not directly affected if your business is not profitable.
Even if you don’t have a business, a postnuptial agreement can still be beneficial. You can use such a document to specify more assets or alimony in the event that your spouse must leave his or her job to raise children. If children have been born, you could use a postnup to lay out child support and custody. You can also use the document to exclude certain assets from the marital estate.
Keep in mind, though, that with a postnuptial agreement, there is less leverage. There is less pressure to agree to the terms of the document, which means that your spouse may not sign it at all. After all, they are already married, so what have they got to lose?
If you didn’t get a prenuptial agreement before the wedding, there is still time to protect your assets with a postnuptial agreement. Even if you’re not wealthy, such a document may be a smart idea for any married person with assets they don’t want to lose.
Don’t lose everything you have in a divorce. Get help from the Columbia prenuptial and postnuptial agreement lawyers at the Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink, P.A. He can help you draft a fair and valid document. To schedule a free consultation, call (410) 774-5987 or fill out the online form. We have two offices to serve you.
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Glen Burnie, MD 21061
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Columbia, MD 21044