While the prenuptial agreement seeks to resolve issues prior to a marriage using foresight, a postnuptial agreement is a contractual agreement that resolves issues that arise in the marriage after the vows have been taken. The goal is to resolve issues within a marriage, and make possible preparations for divorce, should the issue arise. A divorce proceeding can be emotionally taxing and incredibly stressful for both parties. A postnuptial agreement in anticipation of a divorce or a separation can help reduce the stress and turmoil that normally come with a divorce.
What Does A Postnuptial Agreement Protect?
Much like a prenuptial agreement, a postnuptial agreement is put in place to protect the interests, both financial and otherwise, of both parties in the event of a divorce, and sometimes even for the duration of the marriage. A majority of the time, prenuptial agreements are focused in on the protection of financial assets, but a postnuptial agreement will even go as far as to cover the day-to-day issues of the marriage. Some things covered by postnuptial agreements include:
- Setting budgets: At times, a budget should be legally agreed upon if a married couple is facing difficulty in finances. This is commonly seen in postnuptial agreements seeking to restore, balance or preserve a marriage.
- Setting up consequences for behavior that is destructive to the marriage: In a struggling marriage, both parties may want to set up consequences, financially or otherwise, to prevent behavior from either side that could jeopardize the marriage. Postnuptial agreements can set up terms to try to create consequences for behaviors such as infidelity, abuse, or addiction.
- Post-divorce financial arrangements: If the spouses in a marriage assume that it may fall apart, they may draft a separation agreement, or a postnuptial agreement that sets forth specific terms of the divorce. Discussing financial arrangements can be a part of this.
- Dividing assets in the event of a divorce: The division of assets may also be a part of a postnuptial agreement to prevent a battle during a divorce phase.
- Marital or parental duties: While custody is not normally covered in marital agreements, spouses may want to include certain marital, household, or parental duties in there postnuptial agreement. This will pertain to chores, responsibilities, and even some degree of childcare, however, most child care questions are resolved through custody proceedings.
Postnuptial agreements do not always need to be focused on divorce. However, the general goal of these agreements is to bring a contractual order to either preserve the marriage by means of agreeing to ground rules for both spouses, or to provide a stable idea of what should happen if the marriage is to be ended in divorce. Many times, postnuptial agreements can go hand in hand with a separation agreement, or eventually move on to a divorce decree if a marriage cannot be sustained.
If you or a loved one is involved in matters of Family Law, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.