Postnuptial agreements – Keeping non-marital assets organized

Whether through the news or entertainment media, you have no doubt heard the term “prenup” or “prenuptial agreement.” A prenuptial agreement is a marital document that parties complete detailing what assets each individual is bringing to the marriage. A postnuptial agreement, then, is a document that married couples use to record non-marital assets.

It is not uncommon for married couples to ignore the benefits of a postnuptial agreement, assuming that their assets are all considered marital assets. In fact, there are numerous types of assets that are not immediately considered marital, and a postnuptial agreement can dramatically decrease the potential disputes surrounding dividing these assets if divorce becomes a reality.

Provisions in a postnuptial agreement can be made to account for a wide range of situations including divorce, separation or the death of one of the spouses. The document can be as detailed as the parties want — including factors such as property division, debt division and spousal support. A knowledgeable attorney can answer your questions and guide you through the process of drafting the document.

Married couples are cautioned to remember that many things are not immediately considered a marital asset to be equitably split during a divorce. These non-marital assets can include categories such as:

  • Inheritance: Items, assets or property that one spouse inherits.
  • Gifts: Any gift that was expressly given to one spouse but not the other.
  • Proceeds from a personal injury case: If one spouse was injured in an accident and received monetary compensation, the settlement is typically considered a non-marital asset.

While it may cause discomfort at first, married couples are encouraged to record non-marital assets in a postnuptial agreement. This document can be updated and amended numerous times over the course of the marriage. It is important to remember that this agreement can prevent disputes and disagreements in the future. If divorce becomes necessary, marital agreements go a long way toward making the process as smooth as possible.