Across the United States, post-nuptial agreements are becoming an increasingly popular way for couples to safeguard their respective futures.
While initially popular with wealthy couples only, a staggering rise in their use has been reported across America in recent years.
The reasons for this are numerous. For one, a post-nuptial agreement can be used to update or correct a prenup agreement. Couples tend to acquire assets and have children after marriage, therefore a postnuptial agreement is necessary to cover these new factors.
If you’re considering getting one, here is everything that couples need to include in their postnuptial agreement.
1. Before Your Postnuptial Agreement: Define Your Property
Before fleshing out your postnuptial, you both need to agree on a definition of ‘marital property’. You may have already done this when you sat down to define prenup terms, but may want to include new provisions for your postnuptial.
Basically, the goal is to put down on paper what is your own, strictly private property, and what belongs to the marriage or the family.
You will need to go through everything you own that is of any monetary or personal value and come to an agreement.
2. Protect Your Assets
One of the most important purposes of a postnuptial agreement is to protect assets from creditors in the future. If you run into financial trouble during your divorce and have not been able to agree on postnuptial terms, the creditors can seize it as ‘community property’.
Under state law, you may find that creditors can take half-ownership of shared assets to satisfy debts on behalf of a spouse.
You can prevent this from ever happening by assigning individual ownership via a postnuptial agreement. You can find out more about this legal quirk from the experts.
3. Define Maintenace Obligations
During a marriage, you or your spouse may undertake something that requires financial support from your partner. This could be leaving your job to pursue an education or becoming a stay-at-home parent.
Including maintenance obligations in your postnuptial agreement means that you can continue to receive the necessary support from your partner in the event of a divorce.
It can also be used to determine how much support you will receive during your marriage, as well as after.
4. Business Protection
One area that is often sorely overlooked in prenuptial agreements concerns business assets. Whether you started a business alone or together, questions of ownership need to be settled.
You will need to agree who runs the business, who will control the business, and who has the rights to intellectual property.
If you don’t take these steps, it is unlikely your business will survive a divorce.
5. Include a Lawyer’s Approval
Finally, it is crucial to have a skilled lawyer look over your nuptial definition and terms. They will need to confirm that nothing in your postnuptial agreement contradicts state law since state law will always supersede these agreements.
They will check that nothing in the agreement falls under the definition of ‘unreasonable’, which could lead to its undoing in divorce court.
Finally, they will check that you and your spouse are fairly covered, should the worst ever happen.
Learning the basics of a solid postnuptial agreement is just one part of getting yourself on solid financial footing and protecting your business interests. Make sure to read our business and finance section to see expert advice about building a sound financial future.