Do I Need a Postnuptial Agreement?
Maybe is the short answer. It depends on your circumstances and needs, among other things. Understanding what postnuptial agreements are and when they can be beneficial, as we will point out below, can help you figure out if developing one of these agreements with your spouse may be appropriate.What are Postnuptial Agreements?
Postnuptial agreements are legal contracts detailing certain financial responsibilities and/or entitlements during a marriage or following a divorce. Signed after a couple has married, postnuptial agreements can cover issues that include (but may not be limited to):
- How marital property is to be divided upon divorce
- How marital debt will be divided during the marriage and/or upon divorce
- What assets will remain separate property
- How one spouse’s business interests will be addressed in the event of a divorce
Issues that cannot legally be determined by the terms of postnuptial agreements include (but may not be limited to):
- Child custody
- Child support
- Spousal support.
In general, married people who can benefit from developing postnuptial agreements include (but may not be limited to) those who:
- Did not have time to develop a prenuptial agreement (prenup) – The stress of planning a wedding can make it easy to forget a few of the finer points, like getting that prenup written, reviewed and signed. For couples who overlooked or didn’t have time to get this done before getting married, postnuptial agreements can be helpful.
- Need to update a prenup – When it’s been some time since a prenup was put in place and the marital and/or separate assets of either or both parties have changed substantially, developing a postnuptial agreement can effectively update the prenup that may no longer offer the protections it once did.
- Want to protect their business – When businesses are started before, during or after a marriage, postnuptial agreements can set up terms for whether or how the other spouse may receive interests or shares in the business.
- Are in the estate planning process – Because postnuptial agreements can be used to confer certain marital property (like the marital home, for instance) to one spouse, these agreements can also be useful when couples are estate planning.
- May be trying to resolve financial problems in the marriage – When one spouse may have debt or gambling issues, postnuptial agreements can provide that this spouse covers his or her own debts in the future. In these situations, postnuptial agreements can be integral to resolving potentially major marital issues.
- Want to financially prepare for divorce – When marriages are just not working – and there’s no hope of fixing them, postnuptial agreements can help divide the marital property, preparing couples for divorce. This can help facilitate a future divorce, possibly even reducing the duration and costs of the process.
Do you need help protecting your financial interests in marriage or divorce? If so, you can rely onScottsdale Divorce Attorney Karen Schoenau. Schedule an initial consultation with her today by calling 480-209-1918 or by emailing us using the drop-down contact form at the top of this page.
From her offices based on Scottsdale, Attorney Karen Schoenau represents clients throughout the metropolitan Scottsdale area, including in Scottsdale, Mesa, Surprise, Maricopa County, Pinal County, Gila County and throughout the state of Arizona.