Most couples understand the elements and process of utilizing a prenuptial agreement. While those contracts may be more common, another option exists for couples who have married already and did not create an agreement before the wedding.
Postnuptial agreements provide an opportunity for married couples to tailor the division of assets and other terms of a potential divorce or separation. Although some may associate postnuptial agreements with marital infidelity, couples may choose to draft an agreement for any number of reasons during a happy marriage as well.
What can a postnup include?
Each couple is different, so each postnuptial agreement may differ as well. Couples can use an agreement to dictate the division of property and assets in the case of a future divorce. Additionally, an agreement can spell out expectations for the number of vacations taken per year and daily marital responsibilities.
As long as both spouses agree to the terms with full disclosure of assets and free of coercion, an agreement can include almost any expectations for the marriage going forward. Some couples in Pennsylvania use postnuptial agreements as a means to dictate domestic decisions such as who performs what housework and the type of affection shown to the other spouse.
Who can benefit from a postnup?
Are postnuptial agreements only for couples heading toward divorce? Absolutely not. One main demographic group who may benefit from a postnup is business owners. If a couple own a business together or one individual owns a business separate from their spouse, it's important to dictate whether the business is a martial asset.
Parents who own a business and intend to leave ownership or stock options to their children may recommend any married children dictate those benefits as separate from marital assets. Equitable distribution of property is an important element of a divorce, so postnuptial agreements provide the opportunity to set aside some assets as unrelated to this division process.
For spouses who left the workforce to support the family in a domestic role, a postnup may provide coverage if the marriage ends, particularly in later years. If you and your partner decided to split responsibilities in a way that took one out of the workforce, a postnuptial agreement can recognize the importance of that role and protect the spouse from an uneven division of financial assets later on.
If you're already married but would like to dictate financial and domestic roles, consider a postnuptial agreement with your spouse. These agreements can benefit both spouses.