My wife and I did not draft a prenuptial agreement before our wedding because we were young and did not have anything. What can I do now to protect my interests in the event of a divorce?

What is a Postnuptial agreement?

A postnuptial agreement is a legal contract signed after a couple enters a marriage. It dictates how the couple’s financial affairs and assets will be divided in the case of divorce or separation. In it you can spell out the division of all property acquired individually and together from both before and after you said your vows. This document can also include details about incurring debts and spousal support. (It can even address things like division of labor at home.)

Even though post nuptial agreements are not as numerous as prenuptial agreements, they are increasing in popularity. Your marriage does not have to be on the rocks to make the plunge to protect yourselves. The benefits can help you have a more peaceful future if you choose to ever end your marital relationship.

A recent survey of members of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) found that about half of all responding attorneys cited an increase in post nuptial agreements during the past five years.

The survey also showed that the request to create a postnuptial agreement is typically made by both spouses (rather than just one), indicating that it is for the spouses’ mutual interest that a postnuptial is created.

Also, people may shy away from a prenuptial agreement before marriage because they consider it “unromantic” to see their future marriage as a business relationship, but after the wedding (and after a few years of marriage) they may have a clearer sense that marriage is about both your emotional and economic health.

Why choose a postnuptial agreement?

Most people enter into a postnuptial agreement because the financial status of one or both of the spouses has changed significantly since the wedding day. Like a prenuptial agreement, the postnuptial can:

  • Determine the extent to which one or both spouses is the recipient of income from various sources.
  • Determine who is responsible for the debts from various sources.
  • Be used for a spousal waiver of benefits from a retirement account.
  • State the details of the division and/or distribution of property in case of divorce or death.

What are the guidelines for creating the agreement?

You do not have to have created a prenuptial agreement in order to create a post nuptial agreement. You can call us at 888-501-3292 and we will discuss how we can help you with this crucial document.

As with a prenup, a postnuptial is valid only if it is created under two conditions:

1) There must be "full disclosure" between the two parties, in order that there will not be a finding of fraud, misrepresentation, or duress. Both you and your spouse must thoroughly disclose your financial details: income, assets, and liabilities, in the document.

2) Each spouse must individually be represented by separate attorneys prior to signing the agreement, again to reduce the risk of drafting and agreeing to an unfair agreement.

In addition, each spouse must sign the postnuptial agreement, and the agreement must be notarized. Let us at Law Offices of Mindin & Mindin, P.C. handle all that for you. Contact us by e-mail or phone at 888-501-3292 today for a free consultation.