You’ve probably heard of a prenuptial agreement, but what about a postnuptial agreement?
If a prenuptial agreement is a legal document for people before they’re married, a postnuptial agreement is a document outlining how you and your spouse’s assets will be divided in the event of a divorce—but one that is drawn up and signed after you are married.
Postnuptial agreements may cover issues such as division of property, distribution of inheritance in blended families (where one or both spouses have children from a previous relationship), provisions regarding significant debt incurred by one of the parties, terms for a spouse agreeing to leave a career and stay home when children are born, and a variety of other topics.
At Diamond Divorce Law, we have been working with Illinois clients for decades to ensure their families are kept safe and taken care of in their divorce and family law cases. In this blog, we’ll discuss post-nuptial agreements – what they are, and when to get one.
What’s better, a prenuptial or a postnuptial agreement?
There may be many good reasons to sign an asset agreement before you’re married, but it means having tough conversations and facing hard truths.
What couple looking forward to wedded bliss wants to think about a possible divorce before the marriage has even taken place? As uncomfortable as it sounds, it’s necessary for both you and your prospective spouse to have a complete understanding of what’s at stake when signing a prenup.
Another drawback to a prenuptial agreement is that if you can’t agree on the terms of the document, you may choose not to get married at all. If you wait until you’re married to make these important decisions, it’s more difficult to separate assets and responsibilities if you can’t come together on a framework outlining what’s yours and what’s not.
However, it’s important to note that you should never feel forced or coerced into signing something you don’t agree with because you intend to get married (a prenup) or because you’re already legally bound to each other by marriage (a postnup).
Postnuptial agreements, on the other hand, were generally viewed as unenforceable documents decades ago, but they started becoming more popular options as more and more states started allowing “no-fault” divorces beginning in the 1970s.
In the past, many legal authorities believed that postnuptial agreements encouraged divorce, but the prevailing modern perspective is that it is wiser to establish financial boundaries in all kinds of partnership — including a marriage.
When is a postnuptial agreement a good choice?
If you didn’t sign a prenuptial agreement prior to your marriage, then a postnuptial agreement may be your best option. Postnuptial agreements also come in handy if you’d like to change the terms of your prenuptial agreement.
Here are other reasons why you might sign a postnuptial agreement:
- Your spouse made bad financial choices, and you don’t want to be tied to them.
- If you stopped working so you could care for your children and want to make sure you get a certain amount of spousal support in exchange for your loss of income and career advancement in the event of a divorce.
- Your personal financial situation has changed significantly. If your business or investments have shown unexpected improvement, you may want to shield them from seizure by your spouse if you divorce.
It’s important to note that postnuptial agreements may be deemed invalid for several reasons, including:
- One of the parties signed it under duress or wasn’t given proper time to read it.
- The agreement contains false information.
- The agreement is “grossly unfair” to one spouse.
- Some assets were not disclosed (hiding assets).
- The agreement would make one spouse eligible for public assistance.
Get in touch with Diamond Divorce today
Postnuptial agreements are complicated legal documents, and you should seek the help of an attorney to draft one. If you would like to learn more about your postnuptial options, please contact Diamond Divorce Law today for a consultation.
DISCLAIMER: Any information contained herein is solely for informational purposes. While it is important that you educate yourself, nothing herein should be construed as legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. For specific questions, I always urge you to contact a local attorney for advice pertaining to your specific legal needs.