Postnuptial Agreement: What is It, and Will It Protect You in a Divorce?
Most people have heard of a prenuptial agreement, which is an agreement that two people sign before they get married that sets out the rights and obligations of each party in the event of a divorce, death, and throughout the marriage. A postnuptial agreement is exactly the same as a prenuptial, except that the two individuals sign the agreement once they are already married. If a couple chooses to enter into a postnuptial agreement, they must do so when divorce is not imminent, and when no divorce is being contemplated.
In Florida, a nuptial agreement – post and pre – performs three basic purposes:
- To provide the protection of assets in the event of a divorce in Florida;
- To provide for the distribution of assets in the event of a death; and
- To delineate the obligations of each party during the marriage.
When Should I Consider a Postnuptial Agreement?
Many individuals typically choose to enter into a nuptial agreement before marriage, especially if one or both spouses join the union with a significant amount of assets. Nuptial agreements are just a protective measure taken to ensure that neither party is interested in marriage solely for the money or assets. However, postnuptial agreements can come in handy should, after marriage, one spouse learn that the other has outrageous spending habits, if one spouse starts a business and wants to protect it, or if both spouses simply agree to define things such as separate property and financial responsibility.
When drafting a postnuptial agreement, the couple can address the same kinds of issues that are typically addressed in a prenuptial agreement, such as:
- Which spouse gets to keep certain property in the dissolution of marriage;
- Which spouse, if any, will pay alimony, and for how long;
- Which spouse will take on the responsibility of family debt, like mortgages, credit card debts, and loans; and
- How each spouse’s assets will be divided in the event that one or both dies during the course of the marriage.
While a postnuptial agreement can be used to determine a number of stipulations for marriage and divorce, there are a few things that a postnuptial agreement has no control over. For instance, a postnuptial agreement cannot be used to waive child support payments, or that restrict child custody in any way. Any postnuptial agreements that include provisions regarding child custody or child support will be rendered void in its entirety.
Is a Postnuptial Agreement Valid?
A postnuptial agreement is just as valid as any contract can be, so long as it passes the judge’s legal muster – meaning that it must meet all of the validating criteria mentioned above. If the judge finds that a postnuptial agreement does not meet one or more of the criteria, they may throw it out and have you go through the traditional divorce process. To save yourselves time and money, be sure that your postnuptial agreement meets all of the legal requirements before signing. For help drafting a legally valid postnuptial agreement, contact a Boca Raton family law lawyer who thoroughly understands Florida nuptial agreement law.
Consult a Florida Family Law Attorney
At the Law Offices of Schwartz | White, our family law attorneys can help you and your spouse draft a legally binding postnuptial agreement. If you and your spouse just want to err on the side of caution and create a nuptial agreement that protects each of you in the event of a divorce, contact the Law Offices of Schwartz | White today at 561.391.9943 to schedule a private consultation with our legal team.