The Most Useful Guide to Writing a Postnuptial Agreement
What happens if you get married without a prenuptial agreement but then change your mind? It is nothing to worry about because you can make a postnuptial agreement instead.
If you don’t know how to write a contract or any other legally binding document, this article will provide you with all the necessary information.
What Is a Postnuptial Agreement?
A postnuptial agreement is a legal document created by spouses after they get legally married.
Similar to a prenup, a post-marital agreement includes the details regarding ownership of the assets, child custody, and division of debts in case of divorce.
The contract also outlines the set of rules and obligations—usually involving children—for the duration of the marriage.
When Is a Postnuptial Agreement Necessary?
Most post-marital agreements are written when the spouses are worried about the state of the union. Postnups usually focus on money and protection of the funds in case of divorce. Drawing up a postnuptial agreement is particularly recommended if one or both spouses:
- Are wealthy—to protect all of the assets in case of divorce, so both parties exit the marriage with what they brought into it
- Own a business—to protect the assets earned during the marriage
- Have children from previous marriages—to determine the share of assets the surviving spouse will get in case of death and make sure children outside the marriage get their inheritance
- Have received a large inheritance recently—to prevent inheritance assets from becoming joint assets
What Should Be Included in a Postnup?
As with prenuptial and even marital settlement agreements, the terms of a postnup mostly revolve around finances and the division of responsibilities in case of divorce or separation. Here is a brief overview of the most common terms of a post-marital agreement:
|Postnuptial Agreement Terms||What Should Be Discussed?|
Division of assets
Dispersion of debts
Death of either spouse
Can You Write a Postnuptial Agreement on Your Own?
The short answer is—yes, you can. There are books, courses, and software that can teach you how to write legal documents. If you don’t have time for that, you can find postnuptial agreement templates online.
The long answer is that even though you can, it is not recommended. Avoiding enormous attorneys’ fees is appealing, but drawing up an inadequate legal document can end up costing you even more.
There are many loopholes and technicalities that you can overlook without proper knowledge and legal training. The lack of experience might cause you to forget to incorporate an important clause or make your contract unenforceable.
How Much Does a Post-Marital Agreement Cost?
Drawing up a postnuptial agreement can cost you a pretty penny if you decide to go through an attorney. For a standard postnuptial document, you will have to pay from $1,000 to $3,000. The expenses only go up from there—for postnups with complicated terms that require ongoing negotiations, costs start at $10,000.
What Makes a Postnuptial Agreement Valid?
A court will consider a post-marital agreement valid and enforceable if it meets certain criteria, including the following:
- Postnuptial agreements must be in written form—oral postnups won’t be considered valid
- Each party to the postnuptial agreement has to sign the contract voluntarily and intentionally
- Each spouse must make a fair and full disclosure to the other party of his or her assets, debts, and income—if the information on either side is not correct or complete, the agreement won’t be enforceable
- The agreement must be fair to both parties—a contract that is one-sided and exceedingly unjust toward one of the spouses will not be valid and enforceable
- The postnuptial agreement is valid if it meets the requirements by its state’s laws—signatures from both parties must be notarized for valid execution of the contract
Rules and regulations can vary from one state to another, and it is best to check the laws in your state to ensure your postnuptial agreement is valid.
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Not everyone who wants to make a postnuptial or other agreement is wealthy, and paying so much money for a document seems excessive. If you don’t have the money for attorneys and overpriced fees, DoNotPay is the right choice for you!
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What Documents Can DoNotPay Help You Draw Up?
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- Bill of Sale
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- Intent to Purchase Real Estate
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- General Business Contract
- Non-Disclosure Agreement
- Independent Contractor Agreement
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