While they might not be the most romantic contracts, postnuptial agreements can be extremely important tools when it comes to protecting your interests and establishing expectations in a marriage. Anyone going into a marriage expects that marriage to last, and to some, a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement might seem like more of an insurance policy than anything else. While it is true that these marital agreements can be useful in a divorce, they can also help strengthen your relationship and provide other benefits during your marriage.
Marital agreements, including postnuptial and prenuptial agreements, can help couples create a clear, legally-binding contract for the benefit and protection of everyone involved. Both agreements essentially do the same thing, though a prenuptial agreement, or prenup, takes place before the marriage while a postnuptial agreement is made during the marriage. If you haven’t created a prenup, creating a postnup might be the best way to discuss your expectations while both you and your spouse are in a healthy place to do so. If the marriage ends in separation or divorce, feelings of anger and frustration might make these types of discussions particularly difficult and heated, which could lead to unfair resolutions that undercut one or both spouses. So, going over these issues now could help everyone in the future.
Before you decide to skip out on a marital agreement, consider why creating a postnuptial agreement could be beneficial.
Setting Clear Expectations
Not everyone sees eye to eye about how their properties, business interests, and finances should be handled, and marriage often won’t change that. You may be able to compromise and sort things out as things come up, but if you start off by going over your assets and finances together, you can set clear expectations for one another before any problems arise.
While a couple discusses the components of their postnuptial agreement, they might be able to gain a clearer understanding of one another’s expectations and financial plans for the future. Even though you’ve already married it is still essential for the two of you to work on communicating clearly and openly in order to maintain a healthy relationship. Also, the postnuptial agreement can be used to make certain expectations and responsibilities contractually binding.
Keeping Your Business Interests Separate
If you or your spouse own a business, creating a postnuptial agreement can be especially beneficial when it comes to protecting your interests. When you’re married, most of your assets become the property of both of you, which means your spouse could be entitled to half of your business if you were to divorce. By creating a postnuptial agreement, you can choose to dictate how your business interests will be handled if your marriage should end. In short, you may be able to keep your business separate from the marital property so that your business need not be compromised or endangered if you should go through a divorce.
Safeguarding Your Interests
Perhaps the most obvious advantage to a postnuptial agreement is the ability to decide how your assets and properties will be divided if anything should ever happen to result in a divorce. You can use the marital agreement to outline the belongings of each spouse, dictating who will receive what, and how it will be distributed. This might include the marital home, automobiles, art collections, vacation homes, investments, retirement funds, and any other assets. If the division of your assets is not established and you do end up going through a divorce, this is often one of the most complicated steps of the entire divorce process.
Protecting Your Children
A good postnuptial agreement can also help you ensure that your children are provided for if your marriage should end. If you have stepchildren or if you entered into your marriage with children from a previous relationship, your kids might not be provided for if you and your spouse divorce. However, if you make specific provisions in a postnuptial agreement, the stepparent could be held responsible for paying child support after a divorce. Also, the postnuptial agreement could help ensure the stepchild’s inheritance is protected.
The future is never certain, and it’s important that you do what you can to protect your assets and business interests in every way possible, just in case anything happens. If you are considering establishing a postnuptial or prenuptial agreement, make sure you discuss your options with our family lawyers.
Contact Mazaheri Law Firm today discuss your case with our Oklahoma City family law attorneys.