Postnuptial Agreements: What You Need to Know

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Postnuptial Agreements What You Need to Know

If you are married and want to ensure that you and your children are financially protected in the future, then you may want to sign a postnuptial agreement. Postnuptial agreements provide peace of mind should you ever separate or divorce. While that may seem like a remote possibility, signing an agreement now could make all the difference later.

What Is a Postnuptial Agreement?

A postnuptial agreement is a legal contract signed by you and your spouse during your marriage. These agreements cover issues such as how to divide your assets if you divorce, spousal support, and financial management during the marriage. You can use a postnuptial agreement to decide issues that otherwise would be determined by the default property division laws in North Carolina. For example, you can specify that one spouse will receive a particular asset if you divorce.

Why Would You Want a Postnuptial Agreement?

People in many different life situations can benefit from signing postnuptial agreements. For example, you may want this kind of agreement in place if you inherit a lot of money during your marriage and want to pass it on to children from a prior marriage. The same may be true if your business becomes unexpectedly successful. If your spouse has significant debt, a postnuptial agreement could protect you too. You can decide in the agreement how to treat debts and liabilities in case of divorce. Further, couples who are living apart but have not decided to divorce may want postnuptial agreements in place just in case. Finally, you may decide to sign a postnuptial agreement because you have a prenuptial agreement, but your circumstances have greatly changed since you signed it.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Postnuptial Agreements?

While it may seem odd to sign an agreement during your marriage deciding what to do if you divorce, a postnup may provide more marital tranquility. You can be at peace knowing that if things take a turn for the worse, you are protected. You and your spouse have the opportunity to decide how to divide assets when you are calm and coolheaded, rather than during a stressful separation and divorce. Moreover, it can give you a roadmap for deciding financial disputes during your marriage. Having an agreement in place could end arguments about money and preserve your marriage.

Postnuptial agreements do have a limited scope: you cannot address child support and custody in the agreements, and all the provisions must be in line with public policy. That is why it is extremely important to have an attorney draft and/or review your postnuptial agreement.

A lawyer can ensure that your interests are protected in the agreement and that the agreement includes all necessary provisions to be legally effective. It is a good idea for you and your spouse to have different lawyers who advise you about the postnuptial agreement. This is so that there is no conflict of interest in the advice you receive. It’s up to you to decide if a postnuptial agreement is right for you.

Let New Direction Family Law Assist You

If you want to know more about postnuptial agreements, the team at New Direction Family Law is available today to answer your questions. With decades of combined legal experience, our attorneys are knowledgeable, effective, and compassionate professionals. We will help you understand your legal rights and work hard toward your best outcome. We proudly serve clients in Wake, Johnston, Durham, and surrounding counties. Contact New Direction Family Law at (919) 646-6561 to schedule a consultation, or visit us at our website.

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