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Occasionally, circumstances arise necessitating marriage parties to redefine their roles and responsibilities or execute other important provisions. When such occasions occur, postnuptial agreements could prove vital.
Postnuptial Agreement Overview
Postnuptial agreements are legal contracts spouses enter into at some point during their married life.
Issues Postnuptial Agreements Can Address
In an appreciable percentage of cases, postnuptial agreements are forged to determine how specific concerns will be resolved in the event the couple separates. However, these contracts can also be authored to establish how specific legal, personal, and financial matters will be addressed while the couple remains married.
Arguably, the most commonly debated subject is asset distribution. Typically, when spouses part ways, their marital assets are divided. This property is the material said entities accumulated during their time wedded.
Asset allocation is subject to individual state law. A small percentage of states require separating subjects to split marital assets evenly. However, a significant number of locations adhere to a civil principle called equitable distribution. This regulation mandates that assets are split fairly but in consideration of which spouse most contributed to their accumulation.
That said, postnuptial contracts are not required to define asset distribution following divorce. Said arrangements might also pertain to financial accounts, investments, or property that one or both parties currently own.
Aside from asset division, postnuptial contracts could focus on additional topics, including the specific financial or personal responsibilities each party will perform moving forward, separating business and personal interests, and protecting one party from another’s debts.
Topics Postnuptial Agreements Do Not Cover
Issues like child custody and child support are normally not included in postnuptial contracts. Typically, courts take a more proactive role in overseeing proceedings impacting the well-being of children.
While courts encourage couples to mutually agree upon parenting plans, said bodies will have the final say governing matters like child support and custody. The presiding authorities will consider several factors and render decisions most befitting the best interests of the youths in question.
Circumstances Where Postnuptial Agreements Make Sense
There are no set rules or circumstances in which a prenuptial agreement should or should not be signed.
That said, said a contract might warrant adoption on occasions where one or both parties incur sizable and irresponsible debt, receive a significant inheritance of reward, stop working to care for minor children, are forced to take on a greater amount of duties, or wish to declare what happens to their assets in the event of their passing.
The Negotiation Process
Before a court can ratify a postnuptial agreement, the adopting parties must first agree to all conditions contained therein. Ergo, even under the most amicable circumstances, the process could be relatively time-consuming and require a significant amount of negotiation.
Legal professionals urge prospective contract entrants to retain the services of an experienced family or estate attorney to represent them in said negotiations.
The individual drafter and their attorney should list every issue they feel warrants discussion and negotiate said points until both sides can reach a fair and reasonable agreement on said topics. Then, an official contract should be written and signed by all concerned entities.
The endorsed agreement can be sent to a court for review. If the court deems the arrangement meets established civil standards, said contract can be entered into formal record. Upon court acceptance, the document is legally-binding.
If circumstances arise prompting either party to request a change, alterations can be made provided both sides agree to them. That said, ratifying the agreement will necessitate a formal modification appeal to the civil court where the original arrangement was formally adopted.
For a postuptial contract to be valid, certain criteria must be met. Said provisions include:
If either party was intimidated or forced into signing the agreement against their will, validity could come into question.
Legal ruling bodies might question an agreement’s validity if said entity discovers that the provisions blatantly favor one party.
The Contract Was Not Put Into Writing
For a court to consider the contract authentic, it must be written and signed by both parties.
False Information Is Included
Contracts containing information established as obviously false might also invalidate said agreement.
Difference Between Prenuptial And Postnuptial Agreements
Prenuptial and postnuptial contracts cover the same issues and are formally established using the same procedures. However, prenuptial agreements are authored and entered into record prior to a couple wedding.
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