Couples entering a prenuptial agreement before they marry engage in a form of financial planning and can reduce acrimony and stress if they ever divorce by addressing the division of property and other issues Spouses do not lose this option, however, if they enter a marriage without a prenup because they enter is another agreement.
A postnuptial agreement is a contract, similar to a prenuptial agreement, that spouses enter after they marry. These agreements address many family law issues that can arise. Reasons for entering these agreements typically include protecting a spouse’s inheritance from distribution, providing assets to a stay-at-home spouse, assigning and valuation of a spouse’s business or repayment of a gift from a spouse’s parent.
In addition to addressing these matters, postnuptial agreements set forth how couples will divide their property and assets if they divorce, which property will be marital property, and spousal support.
Postnuptial agreements may also cover the disposition of marital property if one spouse dies, allowing children from an earlier marriage to inherit property. This may be important because a surviving spouse may waive property rights they would usually inherit and children from earlier relationships may have been excluded from estate planning.
The best interests of the child guide court rulings on child custody and support. Accordingly, postnuptial agreements cannot govern these matters.
Postnuptial agreements may not contain terms governing the routine facets of a couple’s marriage.
A postnuptial agreement may be entered at any time after marriage. Sometimes issues arise, such as a large inheritance or business success, which encourages spouses to enter these agreements.
Postnuptial agreements must be written and signed by both spouses. Oral agreements are unenforceable.
Both spouses have to enter these contracts voluntarily and not under duress. There must be full disclosure of information when these agreements are executed.
Terms must be reasonable. Contracts may not be unfair or one-sided.
Attorneys can assist each spouse with negotiating and executing an agreement that meets their needs. They can also help assure that a postnuptial agreement complies with Florida law.