Did you miss the boat on getting a prenuptial agreement? Not to worry. While you do have to execute a prenuptial agreement prior to getting married, it is not the only option for creating an agreement that dictates how property and assets should be divided in a divorce. Even if you have already entered a legal marriage, you can get a postnuptial agreement to specify how specific property is to be treated in a divorce. This may be especially important if you or your spouse have or plan to start a business, are receiving an inheritance, or have come into possession of significant wealth.
- What is a postnuptial agreement?
A postnuptial agreement is a contract entered into by spouses who are already legally married. A postnuptial agreement can specify how property or assets are to be allocated in the event of a divorce and whether alimony will be paid. This can save the parties a lot of time and money in the event of a divorce later on and can protect important assets.
- How do I make a change to my postnuptial agreement?
If you need to make changes to a postnuptial agreement, the best course of action is generally to execute a new prenuptial agreement and revoke the old one. Postnuptial agreements are contracts, and there is no limit on the amount of these agreements that you can have. You are welcome to execute a new agreement each time a need arises, such as creating a postnuptial agreement that specifies that a business will be treated as separate property or that an inheritance will be treated as separate property. You may then execute additional postnuptial agreements as the need arises. Provided that the terms of these agreements do not contradict each other, they will all be enforceable. It is wise, though, if you are executing multiple agreements, to work with a licensed attorney to make sure that they are all valid and enforceable.
- What happens if I do not get a prenuptial agreement?
If you do not get a prenuptial agreement and later file for divorce, you and your spouse may have to litigate all issues relating to the equitable distribution of assets. This may mean spending extended periods of time and money hashing out an agreement in court and ultimately turning the decision over to a judge. If you did not get a prenuptial agreement, however, it is not too late for a postnuptial agreement. This agreement serves the same function but is entered into during a marriage as opposed to before and can prevent costly litigation later on.
- Do I need a lawyer to get a postnuptial agreement?
You are not legally required to hire a lawyer to execute a postnuptial agreement. However, a postnuptial agreement is a legal contract, which means it must meet certain criteria in order to be valid and enforceable. For this reason, it is a good idea to have a lawyer create the postnuptial agreement so that you can ensure it is actually able to be enforced by the court later on if needed.
- Why do I need a postnuptial agreement?
While no one wants to think about divorce, especially when they are in a happy marriage, a postnuptial agreement can provide peace of mind to both parties by clarifying expectations and clearly establishing how property and assets will be treated in the event that the marriage is dissolved. Without a postnuptial agreement, spouses may have to spend a significant period of time and a large amount of money litigating the equitable distribution of assets in court and may have to turn over their decision-making power to a judge. A postnuptial agreement allows them to maximize and preserve any assets that need to be split and hold on to their decision-making power.
- What are the benefits of a postnuptial agreement?
A postnuptial agreement has many benefits for a couple. It allows spouses to spell out exactly what will happen to their assets and property in the event of a divorce, clarifies their roles and expectations for the marriage, and provides peace of mind. In the event of a divorce, a postnuptial agreement will preserve shared assets and expedite the divorce process. Postnuptial agreements are also flexible, and you can execute as many as necessary as issues and needs arise.
- Does my spouse have to agree to a postnuptial agreement?
Yes. A postnuptial agreement is a valid contract, which means certain legal requirements must be met. Among them, it is required that both parties voluntarily and freely enter into the agreement. If there are allegations that the contract was entered into involuntarily or under duress, they will be investigated and the postnuptial agreement may not be enforceable.
- When is a postnuptial agreement found invalid?
A postnuptial agreement may be found to be invalid and unenforceable if it is not properly executed, is not signed by one of the parties, if the signatures are forged, or if one party was forced to enter the agreement under duress. The best way to ensure that your postnuptial agreement is valid and enforceable is to have a licensed attorney prepare it. A postnuptial agreement may also be unenforceable if it conflicts with another existing agreement.
- Can a postnuptial agreement cover alimony?
Yes, a postnuptial agreement can preemptively determine how alimony will be provided in the event of a divorce. Terms regarding equitable distribution and spousal support can be laid out in a postnuptial agreement and will be enforced by the court if the parties ever file for divorce.
- Is there anything that cannot be included in a postnuptial agreement?
A postnuptial agreement can set the terms for equitable distribution of property and spousal support, but it cannot dictate custody or child support terms.
Schedule a Consultation with Covington Law Firm, PLLC
If you want to make sure that your assets and property and protected in the event of a divorce, it is critical to ensure that you have a postnuptial agreement. Contact the experienced attorneys at the Covington Law Firm in Richmond, Texas, today to schedule a consultation.