Life for a married couple can change dramatically over time—especially where finances are concerned. In an effort to address shifting financial circumstances, protect assets, or even prepare for a pending divorce, having an attorney draft a postnuptial agreement might be a useful option.
Postnuptial agreements have much in common with the far more common prenuptial agreements. Like a prenup, a postnuptial agreement sets certain conditions for how a couple’s property is divided following a divorce or death of a spouse. The major difference is that postnuptial agreements are executed after the wedding instead of beforehand. A Gainesville postnuptial agreement lawyer from Bogin, Munns & Munns can help.
What Is a Postnuptial Agreement?
A postnuptial agreement is a legally binding contract entered into by a married couple. This document spells out the spouses’ wishes regarding how their assets should be divided in the future should they divorce. In many ways, this document is similar to a prenuptial agreement. The obvious difference between the two is that postnuptial agreements must occur after the marriage is official.
A postnuptial agreement gives a married couple the ability to determine whether property is considered marital and, if so, how it is distributed. These agreements also can provide for a set amount of alimony, or they could waive the right to alimony entirely.
What Can’t My Postnuptial Agreement Cover?
A postnuptial agreement cannot apply to every potential conflict during a divorce or a separation. While couples can waive certain rights when it comes to matters of property ownership, this ability does not extend to the custody of minor children.
When the courts decide questions of child custody, they are bound to act within a child’s best interest. In cases where the child’s interests conflict with what’s written into the postnuptial agreement, the law requires that the children’s interests are honored above all else. For that reason, the court will not allow a postnuptial agreement to set terms regarding child custody, support, or visitation.
To consult with an experienced postnuptial agreement lawyer serving Gainesville, call 855-780-9986
What Are the Requirements for a Postnuptial Agreement in Gainesville?
There are numerous elements that a postnuptial agreement must include for it to be considered viable under the law. The failure to meet these requirements renders the document invalid.
Financial Disclosure Requirements
A postnuptial agreement is only valid if both parties execute while clearly understanding the complete financial picture. If one spouse hides assets or liabilities from the other, it prevents them from truly making an informed decision. The failure to provide financial disclosure could put a claim at risk.
Like with any contract, a postnuptial agreement requires consideration. Consideration is the exchange of one thing of value for another. Without consideration, a contract is just a promise and is not enforceable by law. Both parties must make promises to each other before a postnuptial agreement is enforceable.
Technical requirements must be met for a postnuptial agreement to be valid. If all parties do not properly execute an agreement, it will not hold up in court. These documents must be signed by parties and executed without fraud or duress.
In some cases, postnuptial agreements will include “testamentary provisions” that spell out how property is divided upon the death of a spouse. When these provisions are included, the agreement must meet the legal requirements of a valid last will and testament. This is known as having “will formalities.”
Waiver of Rights
Most postnuptial agreements involve one or both parties waiving certain property rights. These rights must be clearly waived in the document for a postnuptial agreement to have the desired legal effect. Some of the rights commonly waived in postnuptial agreements include:
- Interest in Florida homestead property
- Equitable distribution of marital property
- Interest in retirement plans
The only way to waive these rights is through a properly-executed postnuptial agreement. That makes it vital for a couple considering these agreements to seek legal help to draft the document.
Gainesville Postnuptial Agreement Lawyer Near Me 855-780-9986
When Are Postnuptial Agreements Necessary?
While not necessary, there are many situations where a postnuptial agreement could be in the best interest of both spouses. While these agreements are often used in marriages where there was no prenuptial agreement, these documents can also be used to update the terms of a prenup signed years prior. Some of the common reasons couples seek the protection of a postnuptial agreement include:
One Spouse Has Accrued Debt
Spouses share more than marital assets; they also share marital debt. When one spouse has accrued substantially more debt than another during the course of a marriage, it could make sense for the spouse that is debt-free to seek a postnuptial agreement to stay that way. Without an agreement in place, they could be on the hook for their spouse’s debt following a divorce.
You Are Planning to Divorce
Postnuptial agreements are not always used as a tool to keep a marriage afloat. Some couples rely on postnuptial agreements to plan their impending separation and divorce. It is an amicable and private way to resolve divorce disputes without the need for public hearings. Resolving these issues before the marriage is dissolved could protect a couple’s privacy and give them total control over the financial issues at play in their pending split.
You Have Children From Another Marriage
Inheritance can get complicated when you have children from another marriage. If you are concerned about those children’s inheritance should you pass away after remarrying, a postnuptial agreement could protect their rights.
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Call Bogin, Munns & Munns About the Benefits of a Postnuptial Agreement
There are many reasons why a postnuptial agreement might be right for you and your spouse. A postnuptial agreement could serve many purposes, from preparing for a divorce to reconciling with a spouse.
The attorneys of Bogin, Munns & Munns are prepared to help you consider your options regarding a postnuptial agreement. Our experienced team could assist you with determining how such an agreement could benefit you. To get started, contact a team member today at (352) 332-7688 for a consultation.