A Brief Q&A on Post-Marital Agreements

In the past, pre- and post-marital agreements (also known as postnuptial agreements) were primarily associated with people from high financial backgrounds. Today, couples from virtually all walks of life turn to these agreements for mutual protection in the event of a divorce. While many people have heard of prenuptial agreements, a postnuptial agreement can also be beneficial to newlyweds (and no, there’s no stigma to having either one in place!). In this blog, we answer some common questions about postnuptial agreements.

What is a Postnuptial Agreement?

A postnuptial agreement is a legal document designed for married couples, establishing how their assets should be divided in the event of a legal separation or divorce. It can also define how much spousal support (if any) should be awarded in case the marriage ends. In a postnuptial agreement, both parties disclose to each other all the assets they currently own (including money and property), whether separately or as a couple, and then describe everyone’s responsibilities during the marriage.  

What is contained in a Postnuptial Agreement?  

What can and cannot be included in a postnuptial agreement is mostly governed by State law. The most common provisions include:  

  • How you will divide your assets in the event of a divorce  
  • Whether spousal support will be needed and, if so, for how long  
  • How marital debts should be handled in case of a divorce, including things such as credit card debt, mortgage loans, and so on  
  • How assets should be distributed if one spouse dies during the marriage

What are the benefits of having a Postnuptial Agreement?  

There are many benefits of a postnuptial agreement, including:  

Defining Separate Property – A postnuptial agreement is a great way to distinguish separate property in a marriage. Separate property refers to any assets you bring into the marriage. As long as you don’t combine it with the property you obtain with your spouse, separate property will continue to belong solely to you even after the dissolution of your marriage. It is important to specifically identify separate property in your postnuptial agreement; otherwise, it may be treated as community property during the divorce.  

Defining Community Property – Just as in the case of separate property, you can also use a postnuptial agreement to define community property. Community property refers to any assets you and your partner obtained together, but it can also include separate property that you want to be treated as marital property. 

Establishing Maintenance – A postnuptial agreement can be used to establish spousal support in the event of a divorce. It is a good way to define the type of maintenance one spouse should provide to the other during or after a divorce.  

Separating Pre-marital Debt – Any debt brought into the marriage can be separated from the other spouse through a postnuptial agreement.  

The importance of hiring a trained and experienced lawyer when drafting a postnuptial agreement cannot be overemphasized. For more information on this and other types of estate planning documents, contact Katrina Zafiro today at 206-547-9906.

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Zafiro Law

As an attorney, I am passionate about helping my clients achieve peace of mind in navigating the complex areas of family law and immigration law. Your case will get my full and dedicated attention—whether you are seeking to navigate the complexities of your family law matter or overcome the challenges of your immigration law case.

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