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What is a Postnuptial Agreement?

February 12, 2020

As opposed to a prenuptial agreement, which is agreed to before the marriage, a postnuptial agreement is a contract entered into by spouses after they are married. Prenuptials are the most common, however there are many benefits to postnuptial agreements as well.

A prenuptial agreement is a legal contract which couples may choose to enter before they marry. Historically, prenuptial agreements were used to protect wealthy individuals in the event of death or divorce. However, prenuptial agreements are quite common and are used for a variety of reasons, including safeguarding a family business, retaining family heirlooms, and clarifying the financial responsibilities of each spouse. There are many benefits to entering into a prenuptial agreement, such as avoiding expensive and lengthy divorce proceedings, keeping a spouse’s debts separate, and agreeing on how marital property will be divided before conflict arises.

A postnuptial agreement, on the other hand, is a legal contact which couples may choose to enter after they have already married. After their marriage, couples who did not sign a prenup may decide that certain issues must be addressed after all. Those who did enter a prenuptial agreement may find that the terms are no longer desirable or applicable and may therefore decide to set forth new terms in a postnuptial agreement. Also, couples who are planning on getting a divorce may decide to agree to certain terms in a postnuptial agreement to minimize the legal expenses associated with divorce proceedings.

Benefits of a Postnuptial Agreement

As is the case with prenuptials, there are many benefits of entering into a postnuptial agreement. Some reasons couples may choose to enter into a postnuptial agreement include:

  • Defining what constitutes marital property, in accordance with state law. Alabama is an equitable distribution state; therefore, marital property does not need to be split equally, but rather in a way that is equitable and fair.
  • Ensuring that certain assets are protected for children from a previous marriage.
  • Protecting one spouse from the other’s debts incurred after the marriage.
  • Providing adequate financial resources, or maintenance, for a spouse who stops working to care for minor children.

Postnuptial Agreement Requirements

Certain requirements must be met for a postnuptial agreement to be enforceable. Courts generally scrutinize postnuptial agreements, especially during contentious divorce. A postnuptial agreement will only be valid and enforceable by the court if:

  • It is in writing and signed by both parties
  • Each party entered into the agreement freely and voluntarily
  • The parties fully and truthfully disclosed their financial information
  • The terms are fair and not unconscionable

Huntsville Divorce Lawyers at Hodges Trial Lawyers, P.C. Help Clients with Postnuptial Agreements

For assistance with your postnuptial agreement or any aspect of your divorce, contact a Huntsville divorce lawyer at Hodges Trial Lawyers, P.C. Located in Huntsville and Athens, Alabama, our skilled attorneys serve clients throughout Alabama, including the areas of North Alabama, Madison County, Limestone County, Marshall County, Jackson County, Morgan County, and Lauderdale County. To discuss your case, contact us online or call us at 256-539-3110 for an initial consultation.