What is a Postnuptial Agreement?

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Prenups
This article was reviewed and approved for publication by Attorney Charlotte Christian.

What is a Postnuptial Agreement?You’ve likely heard of a prenup, or prenuptial agreement, before. But have you ever heard about a postnuptial agreement? These agreements are similar, but they differ in their timing. Read Charlotte Christian Law’s blog to learn more.

A Postnuptial Agreement

A postnuptial agreement is a contract you and your spouse create after getting married, sometimes years later. This agreement would outline your ownership of financial assets if you and your partner were to get a divorce.

Postnups can help alleviate some of the financial tension you and your spouse may go through. They allow you to protect any inheritance you may expect or safeguard your small business. They may also help you fix some problems in your marriage.

While some people feel that prenups and postnups are antithetical to marriage, they support honest communication between partners. Both allow for open communication of your needs and expectations.

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What a Postnup Covers

Postnups can cover some different topics. First, the agreement must cover what should happen to marital property if one spouse were to pass away. Marital property can include your house, your cars, or any other property that you and your spouse share.

The postnup should also cover the terms of a potential divorce, including custody, alimony, or separation of marital assets. Talking about these in advance will provide a plan in the event of a separation or death.

Typically, a postnup agreement can be incorporated into the final divorce decree, which will make the divorce process smoother and cheaper. You won’t have to go through all the different parts of a divorce, and instead, you’ll get to reach the settlement sooner.

What a Postnup Doesn’t Cover

While postnups can cover a lot of ground, they cannot cover anything unenforceable by the law. Unenforceable items include child custody, child support, or any terms that try to regulate standard parts of your marriage.

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Reasons for a Postnup

People get postnups for a variety of different reasons. First, you may want to get a prenup or postnup if you have an inheritance that you want to stay in the family. You may also want to get a prenup or postnup if you or your spouse have small businesses.

You could get a postnup to ensure that your children from previous relationships get specific assets or if you or your spouse stop working to care for minor children. If you stop working, you may want to set financial resources in case of divorce.

Postnups can also help you or your spouse if one of you has a lot of debt or has made poor financial decisions. And last but not least, you could get a postnup to spell out your wishes for the assets you brought to the marriage.

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Benefits of a Postnup

Postnups can have certain benefits, especially if you and your spouse have some financial tension. The agreement can help clarify some issues that may lead to fights and simplify any financial responsibilities you and your spouse have.

Additionally, a postnup can make a divorce much smoother if you and your spouse decide to separate. You can guarantee that specific parts of your finances and assets will not be treated as marital property.

5 Elements of a Postnup

Just like a prenup, you must follow a few different rules for your postnup to be enforceable. For a postnup to be valid in the state of Alabama, it must meet these five requirements:

  1. Must be in writing
  2. Both spouses must voluntarily enter the agreement
  3. Requires complete and fair disclosure of any relevant information
  4. Terms must not be one-sided
  5. Both spouses must sign the agreement

If the postnup meets these five requirements, it can be enforceable by the court. However, your postnup may not be valid if it does not meet specific parameters. Here are a few examples of what would make a postnup invalid:

  • No written agreement
  • The agreement is fraudulent or misrepresentative
  • Unequal bargaining power
  • One of the parties signed under duress
  • One of the parties wasn’t allowed the opportunity to read, understand, or consider it
  • Lack of financial disclosure
  • Invalid provisions
  • Contains false information
  • The agreement is grossly unfair to one party

If your postnup meets all of the five requirements and doesn’t include any invalid components, then your agreement can be enforceable by the court. You may amend it, but if you and your spouse are still happy with the arrangement, the document can become part of the final divorce decree.

Speak with an Experienced Attorney

The best way to guarantee that your postnup is valid in Alabama is to speak with an experienced family law attorney. They will help you decide what should and shouldn’t be included and file the agreement with the court.

Getting a postnup can be daunting, but we’ll help you take the next step with clarity and confidence. Connect with us online at charlottechristianlaw.com or at (256) 859-7277. Move to a brighter future with clarity and confidence.

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