How Postnuptial Agreements Offer Protection After Marriage
Getting married is an exciting, romantic major life event that every couple rightly gets swept away in. It’s a thrilling, whirlwind time when you and your partner make plans for your beautiful future together. In all the excitement of planning the wedding, and their future together, many couples forget to cross the t’s and dot the i’s on legal issues, paperwork, and other red tape while they’re caught up in the whirlwind of wedding planning.
For all the appropriate romance, a marriage is a legally binding contract and should be treated as such by the betrothed. One of the things often overlooked in all the wedding planning is the matter of the Prenuptial agreement. Some couples feel that if they’re really in love, they don’t need a prenup. For others, a prenup simply slips their mind in between catering, gowns, and decor. In these days of couples getting married later in life, when they may bring more assets into the marriage than in days past, a pre-nup is more important than ever.
Fortunately, if you’ve neglected to get a prenup before your marriage, it’s not too late. You can still obtain a postnuptial agreement — a similar legally binding document that offers equal protection after the wedding has already taken place. Here’s what you should know about post-nups.
Why Get a Postnuptial Agreement?
There are many reasons Long Island couples opt for a postnuptial agreement, including but not limited to the following:
- The couple regrets not getting a prenuptial agreement before the marriage. Perhaps you didn’t have enough time for a prenup before your marriage, or perhaps the reality of being married has only now set in. For individuals who wish they had a prenuptial agreement, a postnup can function similarly.
- One partner wants to start a business. A postnup can safeguard business assets, investments, and any vendors or business partners.
- One partner has lost their job, become disabled, or has otherwise stopped working. A postnup can make sure that the spouse who does not work is provided for in the event of a divorce in the future. If one partner is unable to work, this provides them protection should their spouse later decide to divorce.
- The couple reaches the age where estate planning becomes necessary. An older couple who never had a prenup can benefit from drawing up a postnuptial agreement prior to the estate planning process.
- The couple experiences another significant financial change. During your marriage, one spouse may have been financially reckless, or may have received a significant financial windfall. In any event, a postnup can help establish who a financial gift belongs to and/or who is responsible for debt repayments.
What a Postnuptial Agreement Will Do
Typically, postnups offer the same protection to each party as a prenup. The same rules generally apply; for example, since child custody cannot be determined in a prenuptial agreement, it cannot be put in a postnuptial agreement either.
Postnuptial agreements can:
- Establish marital expectations. A postnuptial agreement can assist spouses in determining their respective roles and obligations to each other. For example, say one partner wishes to pay the utility bills. You can include in the postnup that the other partner will pay an equal amount toward the mortgage every month.
- Establish which partner gets which assets in the case of a divorce. A postnuptial agreement can be used to specify which assets go to which spouse in the event of divorce. If one spouse has heirloom furniture or jewelry, the postnup can state the items must go to them in a divorce.
- Establish who will get alimony after a divorce, how much they will be paid, and for how long. Postnuptial agreements are also used to set the terms of spousal support or alimony, including duration and amount. This should be revisited any time you or your spouse have a significant financial change.
- Establish who will pay legal fees in a divorce. Like a prenuptial agreement, you can also use a postnup to state which spouse will pay the legal fees in the event of a divorce. Perhaps both spouses will each be responsible for their own legal fees, or the higher earning spouse will be responsible for all fees.
When to Contact an Experienced Long Island Family Lawyer
If you’ve gotten married and are interested in exploring the option of signing a postnuptial agreement, it’s crucial that you speak with an experienced New York divorce attorney as soon as possible. Delineating separate property after the fact is already somewhat difficult and waiting any length of time can exacerbate this issue. A Long Island family law attorney can help you determine if a postnuptial agreement will meet your needs and if so, what should and should not be included.
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Contact the experienced Long Island divorce lawyers and family law attorneys at Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. for a free consultation today by calling 631-923-1910 or fill in the short form on this page.
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