Most Massachusetts residents are likely familiar with the legal document known as a prenuptial agreement. Prior to marrying, a prenup is reviewed and signed by both parties. Such an agreement may include specific terms related to the retention, division and ownership of assets, belongings and debts that an individual brings to a marriage. In the event a couple later divorces, having a prenup typically makes the divorce settlement process less complicated and costly.
For couples who forgo signing a prenup before marriage, once married, circumstances may arise which warrant a postnuptial agreement. Like the name suggests, a postnuptial agreement is drafted and ratified after a couple has already tied the knot.
While, if drafted and executed correctly, most courts recognize the legitimacy of a prenuptial agreement and its terms; the same isn’t always true of a postnuptial agreement. For this reason, couples who want to protect assets and avoid lengthy and costly divorces are always advised to sign a prenup prior to marrying. Still, having a postnuptial agreement is better than no agreement and, in the event of a divorce; the courts are likely to take such an agreement into consideration.
Events that may trigger a couple to consider signing a postnuptial agreement include the impending birth of a child when one spouse commits to dropping out of the workforce and staying home. In this example, a postnuptial agreement can be drafted to include provisions related to providing financially for this spouse in the event of a divorce.
Additionally, to protect assets, a postnuptial agreement may be considered if one spouse is expecting a large inheritance or where one spouse enters into a business partnership with another party.
Individuals and couples who are interested in learning more about how a postnuptial agreement can be used to protect assets and one’s future financial security, should contact a divorce and family law attorney.
Source: ABC News, “Forget the Prenup: Why You May Need a Postnuptial Agreement,” AJ Smith, Feb. 16, 2016
American Bar, “Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agrements,” October, 2001