Reasons You Might Want a Postnuptial Agreement
Negotiating a prenuptial agreement has become an increasingly common part of the pre-wedding process. More than ever, both parties go into a marriage with substantial financial assets that they want to preserve in the event of a divorce. And while prospective spouses never plan to break up, the stigma associated with divorce has lessened over time, so preparing for the possibility of marriage dissolution is not the awkward process that it used to be.
Spouses who wed without completing a prenuptial agreement can reap the same benefits by negotiating a postnuptial agreement. Like prenups, these documents clearly set forth each party’s rights and reduce the likelihood of costly, contentious litigation should the marriage end in divorce. The only difference is the timing of the agreement. Specific reasons why couples might be motivated to negotiate a postnuptial document include:
- Financial changes — Often, couples who get engaged are just starting out in life. They might believe that a prenuptial agreement is unnecessary because neither party is bringing substantial assets into the marriage. Later on, things could change and a spouse could seek a way to safeguard a business that they created or wealth they’ve accumulated.
- Relationship turbulence — When spouses have a serious problem, a postnuptial agreement can serve as a remedy and provide clarity about potential consequences in the event of similar issues. For example, a spouse who squandered marital funds might agree to bear the cost individually if they engage in the same type of behavior again.
- Separation of assets — Whether you’re contemplating divorce or not, you might find it useful to unwind your financial ties to your spouse. Through a postnup, you can gain more independence by removing funds and other assets from the marital estate.
In the past, some states barred or restricted postnuptial agreements due to a fear that they would promote divorce. While this has changed, a court might still refuse to enforce a document if it does not conform with standard contract law. For example, a finding that one spouse withheld key financial information or used improper coercion to obtain their partner’s assent could lead to the agreement being thrown out. If you are considering drafting a New York postnuptial agreement, it is critical to work with an experienced attorney who can explain how to guard against potential challenges if you do eventually divorce.
Bryan L. Salamone & Associates, P.C. advises clients throughout Long Island on prenuptial and postnuptial agreements as well as other family law concerns. Please call 1.631.479.3839 or contact us online to schedule an appointment with a knowledgeable New York attorney.