Post-nuptial agreements may be appropriate when circumstances change during marriage and to avert disputes between the spouses. A postnuptial agreement can perform many of the same functions that a prenuptial agreement offers to couples. However, it is instead established after the marriage has taken place.
A post nuptial agreement may be considered when a relationship changes due to:
- Career changes
- Childbirth or Adoption
- Other Factors
What is the Purpose of a Postnuptial Agreement?
In New York, postnuptial agreements are very similar to prenuptial agreements. They allow spouses to define their separate property and marital property, establish alimony or spousal maintenance and can also address pre-marital debt. Like prenuptial agreements, they cannot address issues like child support or custody.
However, if you have children from a previous marriage and your spouse does not adopt them, a postnuptial agreement can help ensure that your children are provided for should you and your spouse divorce or separate.
As in Pre-Nuptial agreements, Post-nuptial agreements need to spell out what will take place if the marriage ends. In the absence of such agreement, state law, as interpreted by a judge, after a lengthy and expensive trial., the disposition of assets will be determined under state law, as interpreted by a judge.
Defining Marital and Separate Property
While drafting your postnuptial agreement, you and your spouse will be able to identify which properties you want to be considered separate and which are to be considered marital. Remember, if you do not keep your separate property separate and in your name only, it may later be deemed marital property and can be divided in the event of a divorce.
You could also use a postnuptial agreement to protect a large inheritance. These are generally considered separate property as long as they are held solely in the recipient’s name, but the postnuptial agreement can confirm it as separate and protect this money or assets in the event of a divorce.
Additionally, if there is a separate property you would like to be defined as marital property, this can also be accomplished using a postnuptial agreement.
What Makes a Post-Nuptial Agreement Valid?
In order to make sure this agreement is valid and enforceable complete disclosure of assets and liabilities of each spouse need to be in place. It is imperative to have an experienced matrimonial attorney to guide the parties and ensure that the agreement works for both parties. Something of the value must be exchanged to sustain the agreement validity. Drafting of such agreement always requires both parties to be represented by legal counsel.
In order to avoid future or present disputes about assets and liabilities of each spouse, it is a good idea to put in place a Post-Nuptial Agreement.
What Makes a Postnuptial Agreement Invalid?
Obvious factors like fraud or coercion and duress can render a postnuptial agreement invalid. However, less obvious reasons may include you and your spouse failing to obtain separate attorneys as one spouse’s attorney isn’t permitted to provide advice to the other spouse. Another reason could be if the agreement appears to favor you or your spouse unfairly, leaving the other with nothing. If this occurs, the court may not be inclined to enforce the postnuptial agreement. To ensure that your postnuptial agreement will hold up in court if the time ever comes, it is crucial that to work with an attorney who has experience in drafting this type of document.
Schedule A Consultation
To speak with our NYC postnuptial agreement attorney, please contact local attorney Paul Rudder ESQ at 212 826-9900. Our legal office serves the NYC area, including Manhattan. Our office is located in Midtown.