Even though marriage ceremonies are often full of family members, friends, flowers and cake, a marriage is a legal contract between two spouses and the government. Still, many couples do not view their marriage as a formal agreement. If the union eventually fails, though, divorcing spouses must divide marital property, settle custody matters and tackle other challenges.
There is a good chance that you have heard of prenuptial agreements, as they are often fodder for gossip columnists and rom-com directors alike. You may be unfamiliar with postnuptial agreements, however. As their name indicates, postnuptial agreements happen after the marriage takes place. These agreements often address who gets what after a divorce, but they may also cover spousal obligations and other matters. Here are three times a postnuptial agreement usually makes sense:
1. You skipped the prenuptial agreement
While negotiating a prenuptial agreement is a good way to protect yourself in the unlikely event of a divorce, some couples see these agreements as unromantic. If you skipped the prenup, though, you are not out of luck. A postnuptial agreement allows you to attend to important matters after things settle down.
2. There are kids from a previous marriage
If either you or your spouse have children from a previous marriage, you may want the kids to receive some share of your assets. A postnuptial agreement can cover which of your property goes to the spouse and which goes to the children following a divorce.
3. You own a business
Operating a successful business is a good way to realize the American dream. Even though you may see your business as exclusively yours, your spouse may claim an ownership interest during divorce proceedings. With the right language in a postnuptial agreement, you can clear up any confusion about the actual owner of the business.
You may have some regrets about not executing a prenuptial agreement before you walked down the aisle. Fortunately, you probably have some options for achieving peace of mind. Put simply, by understanding when to negotiate a postnuptial agreement, you can better protect yourself.