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What Are Postnuptial Agreements, and How Do They Work?

Many people are aware of what a prenuptial agreement is. However, quite a few people know that there are also postnuptial agreements to consider. It’s not much of a surprise as prenuptial agreements are usually more common. Most people turn to a family law attorney to explain the difference between both agreements and why you should enter into one.

In both cases, the parties disclose their financial situations entirely and agree on what happens to their assets during a divorce or when one party dies. Sometimes, a postnuptial agreement also covers how the couple will handle finances in the marriage. In this article, a family law attorney from Waple and Houk will walk you through all you need to know about postnuptial agreements.

Which Is Better: Postnuptial or Prenuptial Agreement?

There are varying reasons why you might decide to opt for a postnuptial agreement over a prenuptial agreement. A common one is when the couples don’t agree on certain things before the wedding. Maybe the couple was focused on their wedding and planning their lives together. Sometimes, couples never get around to consulting a family law attorney before their wedding. However, after a wedding, a couple might realize they need an agreement to financially get on the same page.

For many people, conversations about money and the possible end of a marriage are uncomfortable. However, a postnuptial agreement will help you protect yourself even after the wedding. Although it makes sense to establish the framework before the wedding, it is still possible once the wedding begins. Prenuptial agreements give the other party a chance to walk away if they don’t like the agreement. However, a postnuptial gives a married couple a chance to show their fiduciary duty to each other.

If there have been changes in your marriage, like you purchased an asset, you might want to assert that the asset won’t be subject to division upon divorce. A postnuptial agreement doesn’t always have to be because of finances. The other party might want to protect themselves if their spouse has an affair. Sometimes, spouses require a prenup renegotiation after the wedding due to some changes. However, the situations surrounding your relationship before and after a wedding determines the best option for you.

What Do You Need for a Valid Postnuptial Agreement?

For a postnuptial agreement to be viewed as valid, there are some requirements that it must meet, and we’re outlining them below.

  • Written: Postnuptial agreements will not be considered valid if they’re oral. Postnups need to be in writing.
  • Voluntary: Both parties must sign the agreement voluntarily and intentionally. If one party consults a family law attorney because you coerced them into signing, your agreement is null and void if proven to be true.
  • Full Disclosure: Full disclosure is vital for your postnuptial agreement to be valid. Both parties must fully disclose their assets, income, and liabilities during the agreement. It is crucial as postnuptial agreements determine how you will handle these assets and liabilities if the marriage ends.
  • Fairness: A postnuptial agreement should always be fair. Any postnup found to be one-sided or unjust towards a party would not be enforceable.
  • Validly Executed: The agreement must meet the laws of North Carolina to be valid. This means that their signatures need notarization.

How the Court Views Postnuptial Agreements

If you want to enter into a postnuptial agreement with your spouse, it is essential to know that they are not ironclad. Even when valid and enforceable, the court might choose to strike it down. Sometimes, the agreements are not upheld if one party isn’t allowed to review and discuss the agreement terms with their family law attorneys.

Although North Carolina has an equitable distribution law, you nullify this law when signing a prenuptial agreement. Therefore, the state takes a hardline approach to enforcing postnuptial law. However, if the court finds out there wasn’t complete and fair disclosure, it could dismiss the entire agreement.

Contact Our Family Law Attorney for Your Postnuptial Agreement

Just because you didn’t get a prenup before your wedding doesn’t mean you can’t reach an agreement after the wedding. Postnuptial agreements help to prevent financial disagreements within the marriage. It also helps avoid expensive conflicts when there’s divorce, as asset sharing features in the postnuptial agreement.

When you choose to work with a Waple and Houk family law attorney, you will be able to create a fair postnuptial agreement that complies with all North Carolina laws. Our dedicated family law attorney can help you draft a binding postnuptial agreement without errors or oversight. Therefore, you should contact us today to ensure your rights are protected.