You agreed to get married without a prenuptial agreement, but a few years down the road, things changed. Your spouse developed a gambling habit and you are worried about finances. Maybe you are concerned you could lose all your money to a cheating spouse. Perhaps you have a business in the works and want to protect your family. Or maybe you are contemplating divorce and you are looking for a way out.
While it would be technically too late for a prenuptial agreement (since you are already married), you can opt for a postnuptial agreement. These legal documents can be created anytime after a couple gets married, so if you are already married, it is not too late. However, your spouse may not be agreeable to one. Postnups are typically viewed negatively. They are not seen as romantic and can arouse suspicion in a spouse, especially since these documents are typically entered into before marriage.
While a postnuptial agreement can be used for various reasons, for most couples, it serves as an effective tool to determine the outcome of a divorce. You create your own agreement so you do not have to be bound by state laws. If you do not agree with Florida law when it comes to asset division or alimony, you can essentially use a postnuptial agreement to change the laws when it comes to your marriage.
Many couples use postnuptial agreements to handle money issues, since that tends to be the biggest issue in a divorce. Should a divorce happen down the line, you would be protected based on the details of your postnup. Here are some other reasons why a couple would use these agreements as well as the pros and cons you should know before you sign anything.
Reasons to Consider a Postnuptial Agreement
- Harmony. No, a postnuptial agreement is not the most romantic thing your spouse can give you, but depending on the circumstances of your relationship, this piece of paper could save your marriage. It can help you and your spouse figure out your finances and keep them separate, especially if the parties have different spending habits or overall views on money matters. If money is a main argument in your marriage, a postnuptial agreement can help eliminate this main issue and help you live more harmoniously.
- Peace of mind. Many people have worries about their financial future, especially if they divorce or if their breadwinner partner dies. A postnuptial agreement can provide details about what will happen in either of these situations and provide peace of mind. You can focus more on the present instead of stressing about the future.
- A way out. If you have been contemplating divorce but are not quite sure, a postnuptial agreement can spell out what will happen in a divorce. If you do not want Florida law to dictate issues such as asset division and child custody, you can create a postnup. If you are worried about your children or assets, for example, you can provide details about how property will be split and how each parent will spend time with the kids.
Pros and Cons of Postnuptial Agreements
Postnuptial agreements can be helpful in some ways but they are not for everyone. Here are some pros and cons to consider.
- Postnuptial agreements are especially good for second and subsequent marriages if children are involved and parents want to ensure they are protected.
- If there is already a prenuptial agreement in place, a postnuptial agreement can be used to add on to it and address issues that did not exist before the marriage.
- A postnup can be used to outline the issues in your marriage, which can either strengthen the marriage or simplify a divorce.
- Postnuptial agreements are often used when communication and trust are breaking down in a marriage. Therefore, a postnup is often used as a last resort, so it can put a damper on a marriage. It can make a couple try harder or not at all.
- Postnuptial agreements are often used to work on or prevent infidelity. However, you do not need to prove anything in a marriage in order to file for divorce, as Florida is a no-fault state. A postnup could simply be a waste of time and money.
- In estate planning situations, it’s possible that a postnuptial agreement could contradict what it is in a will. Therefore, be careful when drafting one and make sure you get help from a lawyer.
Getting a Postnuptial Agreement
Your first step should be to get help from an attorney who focuses on family law. You and your spouse will also need to assess all separate and marital assets to determine what you want listed in the postnuptial agreement. You should also discuss spousal support. Will one party get it or not?
You will also need to provide full disclosure of your assets. If you are not honest about your assets, the postnuptial agreement could become null and void. For example, if you have access to your money, which is recommended, your spouse needs to know about it.
Seek Legal Help
Before marriage is the best time to get a prenuptial agreement. Once you get married, finances become commingled and getting such an agreement becomes more difficult.
Postnuptial agreements can be good if you decide to divorce. Is divorce on your mind? Contact Broward County divorce attorney Scott J. Stadler to understand the next steps. Our advice can help you make the right decisions. Call (954) 346-6464 or fill out the online form to schedule a consultation.