You may have heard of a pre-nuptial agreement, commonly known as a pre-nup. However, the mentioning of a post-nuptial agreement may leave you wondering what it is and exactly how it works. Similar to a pre-nup, a post-nuptial is a legal agreement entered into by both spouses after becoming married. The main difference between a pre-nup and post-nuptial is when the couple enters into the agreement, before marriage (pre-nup) or after marriage (post-nup). A couple may elect to establish a post-nuptial agreement for the same reasons a couple would agree to a pre-nup. This agreement essential lays out how assets and debts will be allocated in a divorce or even the death of a spouse.
Why Would A Couple Enter Into A Post-Nuptial Agreement?
As life happens, it is important to recognize that not everything can be expected to be the same as the day vows were exchanged. Factors such as finances, inheritances, investments, business ventures and even children can be game changers in a couple’s life.
A post-nuptial agreement allows an individual to establish safeguards to protect their investments, retirements and other assets, from martial division in a divorce, especially if the other spouse chooses not to partake. In addition, couples with blended families may want to protect their biological children’s inheritance or ensure additional children are cared for in the future.
A post-nuptial agreement can even limit the amount your spouse can receive from their own business earnings or eliminate one spouse’s liability from financial obligations resulting from a judgment against the other spouse or their business.
How To Approach The Subject Of A Post-Nuptial Agreement With Your Spouse.
If you believe that entering into a post-nuptial agreement is necessary or beneficial, the following suggestions may be helpful in starting the conversation with your spouse:
- Make it about “us” and not about you. Initiating a conversation about a post-nuptial agreement may become a sensitive subject for your spouse. Ensuring that your spouse understands that a post-nuptial agreement is something that is beneficial to you both, and any children involved, will help ease any unpleasantness caused by the subject.
- Use changes in circumstances to your advantage. If you and your spouse have recently experienced a big change financially through a new job, investment growth, inheritance, or large real estate sale, this may be the perfect event to trigger a conversation about a post-nuptial agreement and financial planning for your future.
- Suggest it as an update or “refresh” to your pre-nuptial agreement. If you signed a pre-nuptial agreement that did not cover an unanticipated life event, suggest that you and your spouse review it together with trusted counsel to determine if it still seems fair and reasonable to both parties.
- Discuss it while discussing other future-planning essentials. Creating a will or engaging in estate or financial planning provides an opportunity to initiate the discussion of establishing a post-nuptial agreement. Remember these agreements may be utilized as a highly effective financial planning tool to protect your children’s or family business’ futures.
- Have your attorney or family planner bring it up. A trusted advisor is an ally in working towards a bright and promising future. Talk to your advisors and trusted counsel about approaching the idea with your spouse. A neutral adviser may ease any tension or emotional response that may arise if they introduce the subject. This can remove the burden from you while allowing you and your spouse to address the matter together in a more business-like manner.
Get an experienced attorney to advise you.
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