Though prenuptial agreements can be helpful, this kind of contract is not the only option that could help you plan for your future if your marriage ends in divorce. You and your spouse can draft a postnuptial agreement after your wedding, and this document can accomplish many of the same goals as a prenup. If you have already married and still want to thoughtfully address the possibility of a separation or divorce, you should consider a postnuptial agreement.
Postnuptial agreements are legally binding marital contracts in Palm Beach County and are effective tools for anyone who wants to control the disposition of their income and property in a divorce. If you are interested in establishing this type of contract, a West Palm Beach postnuptial agreements lawyer could recommend the best way to proceed in your case.
The Purpose of a Postnuptial Agreement
In a Palm Beach County divorce, all of a couple’s marital assets are subject to equitable division, and a court may award spousal support regardless of what the spouses want. A postnuptial agreement is a binding contract intended to set the terms of a couple’s divorce, rather than leaving important decisions to a court.
Postnuptial agreements could accomplish the following:
- Enable one spouse to retain ownership of the business acquired during the marriage or prior to the marriage.
- Establish the terms of any spousal support, or include a waiver of support
- State how household bills will be paid during the parties’ separation
- Provide suggestions for the financial support of children from prior relationships (not binding upon the Court)
- Provide suggestions for a child timesharing schedule (custody and/or visitation which also is not binding upon the Court)
- Stipulate whether an inheritance received by a spouse during the marriage will be deemed marital or non-marital property.
- Specify how debts incurred both before and during the marriage will be paid
- State how the family home will be divided upon divorce
It is important to know that if a couple includes provisions in a postnup relating to their children and one spouse challenges those arrangements, a Palm Beach County court must review the custody and support terms at the time of the divorce. If those provisions are not in the children’s best interests, a court may void those terms and order a different custody and support schedule. An experienced postnuptial contracts attorney in the area could recommend provisions for the postnup that can achieve a party’s goals.
Requirements for a Valid Postnup
In West Palm Beach, courts recognize postnuptial agreements if they are negotiated and signed under specific guidelines. To be legally enforceable, a postnup must be in writing, voluntarily agreed to by both spouses, and signed in the presence of a notary. If the agreement lacks any of these elements, it might not be binding on the parties.
The Importance of Disclosure and Fairness
A postnup must also contain full disclosure of each parties’ incomes, assets, and liabilities. If one party hid their assets, misrepresented their income, or did not tell the other about debts they incurred prior to or during the marriage, a court may be more likely to invalidate the agreement.
Postnuptial agreements should also be fair to both spouses. If the contract clearly favors one party over the other, it may be, under some circumstances, deemed unconscionable by a court, and therefore unenforceable. A local postnuptial agreement attorney could fully explain the financial disclosure process, recommend terms that protect the client’s interests but which are equitable to both parties, and ensure that the contract meets the legal requirements.
Consult a West Palm Beach Postnuptial Agreements Attorney
Establishing a postnuptial contract goes beyond simple preparation for the possibility of a divorce. A postnup can help you set clear expectations with your spouse about how income and assets will be handled during your marriage. It can also make your intentions regarding your children clear in the event you and your spouse choose to no longer reside together.
A West Palm Beach postnuptial agreements lawyer could be invaluable if you are considering a postnup. From negotiating with your spouse or their attorney to drafting or reviewing an agreement, our firm’s attorneys could help create a contract that protects your income and assets and provides for your children in the event of divorce. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.