Many couples opt for prenuptial agreements for peace of mind. If one spouse holds vastly more property and assets than the other, a prenuptial arrangement can safeguard his or her assets from a speedy divorce and property split. On the other side, the less-wealthy spouse will be safeguarded years later once he has grown accustomed to and reliant upon the other spouse’s wealth.
Prenuptial agreements are custom-tailored to a couple’s needs and concerns. These agreements usually cover each spouse’s obligations and entitlements should the couple decide to divorce. Many prenuptial agreements will set forth specific guidelines for property division, spousal support, child custody, and child support after set years of marriage. For example, parts of the prenuptial agreement could become void after five, 10, and 20 years of marriage.
A postnuptial agreement can cover the same things as a prenuptial agreement; the couple simply files it after they wed. Postnuptial agreements don’t have to focus on what happens in the event of a divorce – they can also protect the couple from each other’s financial liabilities. A postnuptial agreement can protect one spouse’s assets from the debts of the other, and vice versa. A postnuptial agreement can offer peace of mind, a potential “escape,” and marital harmony.
It may sound odd, but having a postnuptial agreement can make marriage less stressful. If the couple begins to argue or worry about each other’s debts, the agreement can serve as a reminder that each spouse’s debts are their own. It may not sound very romantic to think of a postnuptial agreement hanging over couples’ heads to encourage marital harmony, but eliminating some of the most common causes of arguments in marriage (such as money troubles) can keep a couple together longer.
Asking your spouse to sign a postnuptial agreement may come off as untrusting or aggressive, but the truth is that these arrangements can quell doubts or concerns for the future by laying out a plan. A postnuptial agreement can outline the couple’s financial obligations and plans for child care after the separation.
Many divorces spiral into time-consuming, stressful, and emotionally charged battles that can last months or even years, especially if there is any bad blood between the divorcing spouses. Without a pre- or postnuptial agreement, situations like this can lead to astronomical attorneys’ fees for both spouses and a great deal of uncertainty for both parties. It can take a very long time for the court to make determinations for child custody, spousal support, property division, and other variables. Couples can rest easier by knowing that if they ever choose to separate, their financial security is ensured.
Consult an Attorney
One of the best things any couple can do when considering a pre- or postnuptial agreement is to connect with a reputable family law attorney. Not only can an attorney help draft your agreement, but he can also help you navigate a divorce and enforce the terms of a pre- or postnuptial agreement. For the agreement to be legally binding, both spouses must fully disclose all their assets to the attorney. Leaving anything out will nullify the contract, so make sure you and your spouse are clear about what is covered and your expectations before signing.
Ultimately, pre- and postnuptial agreements help each spouse protect their own assets. While some may find the request to sign such an agreement as a threat, insult, or sign of little faith in the marriage’s viability, they exist to offer peace of mind. When considering a postnuptial agreement, consider the strength of your marriage. Asking for a postnuptial agreement could be an insult to your spouse, so make sure you’re clear on his or her feelings before broaching the subject.