Marital contracts can provide crucial protection for partners. If you are already married, you may want to explore your options for a postmarital agreement – particularly after some important events.
WHAT IS A POSTNUPTIAL AGREEMENT?
Backing up, we should explore what a postnuptial agreement is and how it can protect spouses who are already married. When they are enforceable and prepared properly, postnuptial agreements can:
- Dictate how parties divide assets in the event of a divorce
- Protect separate assets from division
- Change or update an existing prenuptial agreement
- Ensure financial security for both parties
These marital contracts are similar to prenuptial agreements, which people may be more familiar with. However, parties enter into them when they are already married.
SO, WHEN MIGHT YOU MAKE ONE?
Certain events can raise concerns or questions about financial security if spouses divorce.
- Significant financial shifts: If one or both parties experiences a windfall or loss of money, a postnuptial agreement can allow parties to make plans in light of new economic circumstances.
- Reconciliation after separation: Periods of separation are not uncommon. And often, they give spouses some insight into what life might be like if their marriage ends. When people reconcile, they may have a renewed or new focus on protecting themselves as individuals.
- Incidents of marital misconduct: Marital misconduct refers to incidents like infidelity, domestic violence, abandonment or substance abuse. These are serious issues that can dramatically change the way spouses feel about each other and their future together. It can also alter or reinforce views on spousal support, which parties can address in a postnuptial agreement.
- Major life event: The loss of a loved one, a severe illness or other major life events can change the way people think about their future. A postnuptial agreement can help them preserve independent wealth and protect what is most valuable to them, including their legacy.
- Changes in financial priorities: People change their financial habits and priorities over time. Suppose partners have started thinking differently about saving, taking on debt, investing or spending money. In that case, a postnuptial agreement can protect each party from irresponsible behaviors or differences in financial priorities.
These events can be a good time to consider creating a postmarital agreement as they can change parties’ views on finances, their marriage and their future.