People are generally familiar with prenuptial agreements, but post-nuptial agreements might be a new concept. Postnuptial agreements could address various issues that a couple might wish to resolve regarding their finances or property even after they have tied the knot.
A postnup is a binding marital agreement and courts will enforce them if they meet all legal requirements. You should work with a Florida postnuptial agreements lawyer in Coral Gables to ensure you understand all the implications of the agreement and that it is constructed fairly.
Reasons to Get a Postnuptial Agreement
Couples with substantial assets or children from previous relationships often find postnuptial agreements helpful. The couple can lay out their understanding about who inherits certain assets in order to prevent potential disputes between the children and the step-parent if one of them dies. Similarly, if one spouse wishes to preserve sole rights to a business or professional practice, a postnuptial agreement could make clear who owns that asset. A postnup agreement is one of the few ways a spouse could give up the rights to the other spouse’s retirement funds, since federal law controls these assets.
A couple that is considering divorce might create a postnuptial agreement to make the property division process easier. A separating couple could include child custody and visitation agreements in this agreement, but parents cannot waive the right to visitation or child support because those rights reside with the child. A Coral Gables attorney could draft a postnuptial agreement in Florida that includes the spouses’ decisions about:
- Disposition of the marital home;
- Division of marital property;
- Exclusions of certain property from marital property;
- Custody of pets;
Some couples who plan to remain married often find postnuptial agreements helpful in guiding how they use their money. For example, they might agree to set aside a specific portion of their income for retirement savings and another portion for a college fund; or they might distribute each spouse’s income for a specified purpose. A postnuptial agreement could help a couple manage their finances, document their financial goals, and hold themselves accountable.
Postnuptial Agreement Basics
A postnuptial agreement is a contract. Although some oral contracts are enforceable in Florida, a postnuptial agreement must be in writing, and the parties must sign it.
If the agreement directs how assets will be distributed after a spouse’s death, it must be executed as if it were a last will and testament. That means that it must be signed in front of two witnesses, who must also sign it.
Any contract can be voided if it is considered unconscionable, including postnups. An unconscionable contract is one that directs an unfair portion of either the benefit or the risk onto one party. A lawyer with experience drafting marital contracts can review a postnuptial agreement to ensure that a court would not strike it down as unconscionable.
Consideration for Post-Nuptial Agreements
The law provides each spouse specific rights regarding inheritance and division of property. Many postnuptial agreements require one spouse to give up some of the rights that the law provides. For example, perhaps a spouse will agree that their partner’s children should receive a higher percentage of their parent’s property upon death than the law dictates.
A legally enforceable agreement requires that a spouse provide something of value, called consideration, in exchange for the other spouse giving up their legal rights. An agreement that does not offer consideration, or offers inadequate consideration, cannot be enforced.
The postnup must include clear language stating the consideration provided in return for the agreement. Sometimes, the parties could each provide consideration if both are giving up some rights. A Coral Gables attorney with experience in Florida prenuptial agreements can help a spouse negotiate appropriate consideration.
Work with a Florida Attorney in Coral Gables to Draft a Postnuptial Agreement Today
If you and your spouse want to formalize your decisions about how you plan to handle your finances, a postnup could be the answer. This contract can make sure your wishes are followed if you decide to separate or if one of you dies.
A Florida postnuptial agreement lawyer in Coral Gables can help you negotiate and draft an agreement in such a way that the court will enforce it. Schedule a no-fee consultation with an experienced local attorney today.