Most people have heard of prenuptial agreements, but you may not have heard of its lesser-known counterpart, the “postnuptial” agreement. A postnup can do many of the same things as a prenup—the main difference is that it is agreed to after a couple is already married.
Contrary to popular belief, divorce is not the only reason why married couples enter into postnuptial agreements. During a private consultation, a Des Peres postnuptial agreement lawyer from our firm can discuss how these agreements could benefit you, your spouse, and your relationship. Contact Jones Family Law Group, LLC today to learn more from a knowledgeable marital agreements attorney.
Common Reasons to Sign a Postnuptial Agreement
You and your spouse may seek a postnuptial agreement for countless reasons. For example, a sudden change in your financial circumstances. This change could be due to good fortune, like a promising business deal, an unexpected inheritance, or winning the lottery. It could also be due to unfortunate circumstances, like the creation of debt by only one spouse, which should be the responsibility of that spouse should the marriage end. These changes in circumstance are frequently due to the actions of one spouse alone, so sometimes it makes sense to assign the fortune or responsibility to the spouse who created them.
Another common reason to seek a postnuptial agreement is a change in the division of marital labor. If you and your spouse have decided that one of you will give up your career and stay home with the children, the person sacrificing their career may want some reassurance that they will not be left destitute in the case of a future divorce. If this is your situation, a postnup attorney serving Des Peres could help ensure you have a fallback plan for the worst-case divorce scenario.
Finally, a postnup could be used to amend or change the terms of your prenup. Sometimes the reasons for entering into a prenup change over the course of your marriage, and may need to be revisited. In this situation, a postnup could help you address these changes.
What Can You Put in a Postnuptial Agreement?
A postnuptial agreement can formalize agreements about property, debts, and alimony (called “maintenance” or “spousal support” in Missouri). You could use an agreement like this to predetermine how a family home will be divided, who will pay debts, whether inheritance or business assets will be separate or marital property, how much (if any) maintenance will be paid, and for how long.
Some things are not enforceable, even if you are both willing to agree to them in writing. Future custody arrangements and child support cannot be agreed to in a postnuptial (or prenuptial) agreement.
A postnuptial agreement could also be disregarded if the court believes it was not entered into “freely, fairly, willingly, understandingly, in good faith, and with full disclosure.” In other words, the court will want to ensure you and your spouse understood what you were signing and were aware of all assets and debts at the time of signing. There must also be adequate consideration in the postnup. If there isn’t the court may find it unenforceable. It is a good idea for you and your spouse to review the agreement with your own postnuptial agreement attorneys before signing it. Having separate counsel helps show the court that both parties were advised of the significance and impact of the contract before signing and it also helps to ensure the agreement is enforceable.
The court may also choose not to uphold an agreement if it is found to be “unconscionable.” Even if both spouses knew what they were doing when they agreed to it, the court does not have to enforce it if they find it excessively unfair.
Get Help from a Des Peres Postnuptial Agreement Attorney Today
Unfortunately, you will not know if your agreement will be upheld unless you get divorced—and at that point, it is often too late. The best way to ensure that your postnup is enforceable is to seek the help of a qualified Des Peres postnuptial agreement lawyer. It is crucial to ensure your agreement is prepared correctly and proper procedures are followed so this agreement can later be enforced.
An experienced and qualified postnuptial agreement attorney from our firm is here to help ensure that your agreements with your spouse are properly documented and enforceable. Contact Jones Family Law Group, LLC today to get started.