Married couples are legal and financial partners. Some couples determine the scope of their financial partnership before marriage with a prenuptial agreement. Others define their partnership after marriage with a postnuptial agreement.
A postnuptial agreement is a contract spelling out the couple’s wishes about any issue of concern. Usually, it has to do with managing money and property. Like any contract, it must conform with legal formalities to be enforceable.
If you and your spouse wish to formalize an agreement and make it legally effective, contact a Fort Lauderdale postnuptial agreements lawyer. A trusted marital agreement attorney can draft a document that meets your needs and that a court will honor.
Reasons for Entering a Postnuptial Agreement
A couple could make a postnuptial agreement for any reason. Many couples enter a postnup when they are preparing to separate or divorce, but any changes in their life could prompt them to formalize an agreement.
For example, a couple may begin a successful business, win the lottery, inherit a large sum, or experience another windfall. They could make a postnuptial agreement to govern how they will handle their wealth as a couple and anticipate what might happen to their property if one of them dies or the marriage fails. If the couple has a disabled child or grandchild, a postnuptial agreement could help secure the child’s future.
Sometimes couples use a postnuptial contract to amend a prenuptial agreement that is no longer relevant or fair. In other cases, a couple could enter a postnuptial agreement to address adultery or other marital misconduct. An attorney can learn a Fort Lauderdale couple’s goals and advise whether a postnuptial agreement is a good way to accomplish them.
Requirements for a Valid Postnuptial Agreement
A postnuptial agreement is not valid unless it is in writing and signed by both parties. Both spouses must enter the agreement voluntarily. If one spouse later presents evidence of coercion or duress, a court could invalidate the agreement.
Each spouse must make full financial disclosures to the other to create a valid postnuptial agreement. If one spouse hides assets or debts from the other, there is no valid consent to the contract and a Judge may choose not to honor it.
Postnuptial agreements require consideration, which means each spouse must give up something and gain something in return. A Fort Lauderdale attorney can help a couple determine adequate consideration for their postnup.
Challenging a Postnuptial Agreement
A spouse could attempt to challenge a postnuptial agreement. Although courts enforce valid agreements, a Judge could modify a postnuptial contract or set it aside entirely if the challenging spouse has proof the agreement is invalid.
Failing to make a full financial disclosure provides grounds for setting aside a postnuptial agreement. If one spouse felt substantial pressure to sign because the other spouse was making threats or unreasonable demands, the Judge could declare the spouse signed because of coercion or duress, and decides to set the agreement aside. A Judge also could invalidate a postnup if it is unreasonably one-sided.
Couples could enhance the likelihood that a Judge will enforce their agreement by consulting individually with their own attorney before signing the document. The legal professionals can ensure each spouse understands the contract and what rights they gain and lose by signing it. Courts are less sympathetic to arguments that a spouse felt pressured to sign a contract or did not understand the consequences of it if they reviewed the agreement with an independent lawyer before signing it.
Consult a Fort Lauderdale Attorney for Advice About Postnuptial Agreements Today
A valid postnuptial agreement is a binding contract, and you should not sign one unless you are willing to live by its terms. To avoid any surprises, consult with The Florida Probate & Family Law Firm to help you understand the contract’s implications.
A Fort Lauderdale postnuptial agreements lawyer can draft a contract to carry out your wishes or review a contract your spouse has asked you to sign. Call now to schedule a free case evaluation.