While the idea of a prenuptial agreement may not have even been on your radar as you got engaged and started your life with your spouse, we all know that circumstances in life change through the years.
The family law attorneys at Azemika & Azemika have been providing expert service to Kern County for over 28 years. Our clients have peace of mind knowing that they are receiving knowledgeable representation at an affordable cost.
Today, we will discuss what a postnuptial agreement is and why you may want to consider one.
How Long Have Postnuptial Agreements Been Around?
Before the 1970s, postnuptial agreements were not usually enforceable. When a couple was married, for legal purposes they were considered a single person, and a single person can not enter into an agreement with themselves.
However, as more couples began pursuing divorces and more states began establishing “no fault” divorces, postnuptial agreements became more extensively enforced.
Why Would Someone Need/Want a Postnuptial Agreement?
In the past, like prenups, postnuptial agreements tended to have a stigma attached to them. They have often been viewed as “encouraging” divorce. However, just because a couple is entering into a postnuptial agreement doesn’t automatically mean they are thinking about divorce.
Here are some reasons that a couple may enter into a postnuptial agreement:
- To clarify what each party’s intentions are for the property they brought into the marriage.
- If a spouse has children from a previous marriage/relationship and they want to make sure that particular assets get passed on to those children.
- One spouse has been irresponsible financially or has gotten into legal trouble during the marriage.
- If one spouse receives an inheritance, wins the lottery, or encounters another type of financial windfall.
- If one spouse leaves their job to stay at home to care for their children, a postnuptial agreement can ensure that they will have the resources they need financially if the marriage were to end in divorce.
What Provisions Are Included in a Postnuptial Agreement?
Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements typically include the same types of provisions. The primary difference is that a prenuptial agreement is entered into before a couple is married, and a postnuptial agreement is entered into after the couple is already legally married.
Typical items included in a postnuptial agreement are:
- Protection from debts that your spouse has incurred
- How mutual debt and assets will be divided
- Provisions for children from prior marriages or relationships
- Whether one spouse will pay spousal support and for how long the payments will continue
- The ownership of businesses, property, family heirlooms, or inheritances
- How assets will be handled in the event of the death of one of the spouses during the marriage
Postnuptial agreements can also include custody and child support if the marriage ends. Sometimes, however, if the courts determine that the postnuptial agreement tries to restrict or limit child support or parenting time with children, they may not enforce that part of the agreement.
What Are the Different Types of Postnuptial Agreements?
There are three different types of postnuptial agreements in the United States.
Dividing assets and providing for spousal support – This is the most common type of postnuptial agreement. It lays out how assets and debts will be split in the case of a divorce. Spousal support is also addressed, as well as if one spouse waives spousal support in place of certain marital property. This type of agreement includes property brought into the marriage by each spouse and any property acquired throughout the marriage.
A way for each spouse to waive spousal rights in the event of the death of their spouse – This type of agreement will supersede a will or state laws that give spouses certain property rights. When signing this type of agreement, each spouse waives their rights to inherit property or other assets of the deceased spouse.
Provide a layout that can later be used as a separation agreement – This agreement spells out how custody, child support, and spousal support are to be handled and how the couple’s assets and debts will be divided. This type of postnuptial agreement can be integrated into the divorce decree, limiting the time and cost of a divorce.
Let the Professionals Help You With Your Postnuptial Agreement!
Although no one wants to think of their marriage ending in divorce, a postnuptial agreement can help you avoid the burden and extra stress of hashing out the details in a very emotional and trying time in your life.
At Azemika & Azemika, we focus solely on family law so you can know, without a doubt, that your family law issues are in good hands. Our clients can expect superior service from attorneys and staff that care about their needs.
Contact us now to schedule your consultation and see how Azemika & Azemika can help you!