What is a postnuptial agreement, anyway? Also known as a ‘postnup’ or postmarital agreement, it’s a legal contract that a married couple enters into after they have already tied the knot.
Similar to a prenuptial agreement (prenup), which is signed before marriage, a postnup outlines the division of assets, debts, and other financial matters in the event of a divorce or separation. However, postnuptial agreements are negotiated and signed during the course of the marriage.
What is a Postnuptial Agreement For?
Here are some common situations in which people consider a postnuptial agreement:
Change in financial circumstances:
If one or both spouses experience a significant change in financial status, such as receiving a large inheritance, starting a successful business, or accumulating substantial assets during the marriage, they may want to create a postnuptial agreement to protect their individual interests.
Couples facing marital challenges, such as trust issues, infidelity, or other relationship problems, may use a postnup or post-marital agreement as a way to address financial concerns and protect their assets while working through their problems.
Some couples use postnuptial agreements to address estate planning matters, ensuring that certain assets are allocated to specific heirs or beneficiaries, even if the marriage ends.
In cases where a couple has separated but is considering reconciling, a postnuptial agreement can provide a framework for financial arrangements if the reconciliation doesn’t work out.
Is It Too Soon for a Postnuptial Agreement?
Only you and your spouse can decide if you are both ready to enter into a postnuptial agreement. Marital mediation can be a valuable tool in the process of discussing and deciding what a postnuptial agreement would entail, and whether it’s right for them.
Here’s how mediation can be beneficial:
Neutral third-party involvement:
A trained mediator acts as a neutral third party who can facilitate productive conversations between spouses. This helps reduce conflict and can spark creative discussions.
Mediation encourages open and honest communication between spouses, allowing them to share their concerns, needs, and preferences in a conflict free environment.
Mediation allows couples to tailor their agreement to their specific circumstances and needs. It enables them to create an Agreement that reflects their specific financial situation and goals.
Reducing legal costs:
Mediation is often less expensive than going through two opposing attorneys, making it a cost-effective way to resolve disputes and create a postnuptial agreement.
Preserving the marital relationship:
Marital Mediation can help couples work through their issues and potentially strengthen their relationship by addressing underlying problems in a constructive manner.
It’s important to note that all postnuptial agreements, like prenups, are subject to state laws and requirements. Additionally, for a postnuptial agreement to be legally enforceable, both parties must enter into it voluntarily, with full disclosure of their financial information, and without undue pressure or coercion.
Plan for the future, no matter what season your marriage is in. If you think marital mediation may benefit your relationship, contact West Coast Family Mediation Center for a free and confidential consultation.