What is a Postnuptial Agreement?

When people choose to join their lives through marriage, they sometimes decide to draft a prenuptial agreement. This is a contract between two future spouses that outlines how they would divide their assets in the event of a divorce. It is important to know that couples can only sign a prenuptial agreement before their marriage is official. However, a different type of contract can be drafted as another option after a couple marries. This is known as a postnuptial agreement. This document is similar to a prenuptial agreement, except it occurs after they are married.

What Does a Postnuptial Agreement Address?

Just as a prenuptial agreement is, discussing a postnuptial agreement can be a complicated and sensitive matter. Often times, couples are afraid to talk about what they should do in the event of a divorce. However, once it is done, the topic no longer needs to be discussed. During this time, it is important to know that addressing a postnuptial agreement does not put the strength of a marriage into question. It is an unfortunate fact of life that divorce does happen, and it is better to be prepared than to be stuck in litigation. 

There are many reasons why a couple may wish to draft a postnuptial agreement. This can include:

  • The couple did not define their financial relationship in a prenuptial agreement and now wish to do so
  • One spouse’s financial situation changed significantly. This may be the case if they receive a large inheritance, a job promotion, or acquire certain stocks or investment options.
  • The marriage’s stability is affected by financial insecurity
  • Both spouses want to avoid the uncertainty of not having a plan to distribute assets in the event of a separation
  • One or both spouses want to secure financial support for children from a previous marriage

Is My Postnuptial Agreement Valid?

When a postnuptial agreement is created, it must follow certain guidelines in order for it to be considered valid. If it does not meet the proper requirements, the agreement is unlawful and invalid. This means that it cannot be used in court in the event of a divorce. The following are five qualifications for a postnuptial agreement to be considered legal:

  • The terms must be fair and reasonable to both spouses
  • Both spouses must have time to reach an informed decision regarding whether or not they want to sign the agreement
  • A spouse cannot be manipulated, coerced, tricked, or pressured by the other spouse into signing the document
  • Each spouse is required to retain separate legal counsel or waive their right to counsel in writing
  • The financial status of each spouse and their assets must be accurately and fully disclosed before the signing

Contact our Firm

If you require strong legal representation for matters related to divorce or family law, Haber Silver Russoniello & Dunn is here to help. We proudly represent clients in Morris County and throughout the state of New Jersey. Contact our firm today to schedule a consultation.

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