Similar to a prenuptial agreement, a postnuptial agreement can be a sensitive topic. This is because couples do not want to address the possibility of getting and divorce. However, a postnuptial agreement does not have to put the strength of your marriage in question. In fact, it can serve many other purposes. Read on to discover when it is appropriate to establish a postnuptial agreement and how one of the seasoned Morris County family law attorneys at Haber, Silver, Simpson & Russoniello can guide you in the right direction.
What is a postnuptial agreement?
First of all, a prenuptial agreement is a contract between two future spouses that outlines how they will divide their assets and what their financial obligations would be in the event of a divorce. A postnuptial agreement is very similar, except it will be signed when you and your spouse are already married. Notably, you can establish a postnuptial agreement even if you already have a prenuptial agreement in place.
Like a prenuptial agreement, a postnuptial agreement must follow certain guidelines in order for it to be considered lawful and valid by the New Jersey family courts. If it is deemed unlawful and invalid, it will not be recognized in the event of divorce proceedings. These guidelines are as follows:
- The terms and conditions must be fair and reasonable for both you and your spouse.
- Both you and your spouse must be given fair and reasonable time to make an informed decision on whether you want to sign the agreement.
- You or your spouse cannot be manipulated, coerced, tricked, or pressured in any way to sign the agreement.
- Both you and your spouse must retain separate legal counsel or waive your right to legal counsel in writing.
- Both you and your spouse must fully disclose your financial status and assets before the agreement is signed.
When is it appropriate to establish a postnuptial agreement?
To reiterate, discussing a postnuptial agreement does not necessarily mean that you and your spouse are anticipating a divorce. Rather, it can foster a mature conversation regarding your finances. So, it is appropriate to establish this contract in any of the following scenarios:
- You and your spouse did not define your financial relationship in your prenuptial agreement but now you wish to do so.
- Your or your spouse’s financial situation changed significantly (i.e., acquiring a large inheritance, stock options, job promotion, etc).
- Your and your spouse’s relationship is being affected by your financial insecurity.
- You or your spouse want to protect child support from a previous marriage.
- You and your spouse want to avoid the uncertainty of asset distribution in the event of a separation.
For additional support, reach out to a competent Morris County family law attorney today.