A postnuptial agreement is like a prenuptial agreement in that you and your spouse establish all responsibilities to marital and separate property should the marriage end in the future. While couples generally set these stipulations in the event of a divorce, they may also choose to use this agreement if one or both parties passes away.
Once created, a postnuptial agreement is legally valid and enforceable. This type of agreement can address many potential issues before they arise, including:
- Defining Separate Property
Assets acquired by each party before the marriage are classified as separate property. If each person continues to keep their property separate from any assets acquired during the marriage, this property will continue to be their own. The postnuptial agreement should specify which property is separate and which is community so there is no confusion later. Should either party use these assets for the marriage, they will be deemed marital property and divided between the spouses.
- Defining Community Property
Assets acquired by each party during the marriage are classified as community property. Like separate property, community property should be defined in the prenuptial agreement. Couples may also decide to identify certain pieces of separate property as community property.
- Establishing the Terms of Spousal Support
A postnuptial agreement can establish any spousal support payments that will be made in the event of divorce. It can also address how finances will be handled when one spouse works and the other does not. For example, perhaps one person gave up their career to raise the children. In this case, the parent who continued to work may wish to keep a record of how much they give the other each month.
This can also work as a payment plan if the couple ever divorces in the future. An outline of how much one party is willing to give the other could speed up the divorce process.
- Establishing Child Support & Child Custody
While a postnuptial agreement cannot fully address child support and custody issues, it can establish a bassline understanding of how the parties would like to handle issues surrounding these factors should they divorce. In New York, a court is obligated to determine if a postnuptial agreement is in the best interests of a child before ruling in its favor.
- Establishing Responsibility for Debt
If either party brought any debt into the marriage, a postnuptial agreement can ensure the debt will stay with that party. It can also ensure any additional debt caused by existing debt remains with the responsible party.
Guiding Our Clients Toward a Solid Postnuptial Agreement
If you and your spouse have been thinking of creating a postnuptial agreement, our attorneys can help. We can assist you in creating a legally sound agreement and ensure it is brought before a court.
Contact our firm online or call us at (917) 809-7669 to schedule your consultation.