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Making a Postnuptial Agreement
A Postnuptial Agreement is a two-way contract made by a married couple that is intended to protect both spouses by outlining each person's existing assets and debts, defining how finances will be managed during the marriage, and planning what will happen if the partners choose to part ways, either voluntarily or by death. Postnups are not just for the wealthy, they are suitable for any married couple who wants to have more control over their finances.
There are many reasons why a married couple might decide to make a Postnup. Here are a few examples:
Any lawyer, accountant, or survivor of a challenging divorce might say that every married couple can benefit from having a Postnuptial Agreement in place. In reality, the decision to make a Postnup is up to you and your spouse. An uneven agreement could have detrimental long-term consequences, so it is a good idea to ask a lawyer to review your agreement before you sign.
A Postnuptial Agreement template usually includes statements about how property (separate and jointly held), debts, and taxes will be handled should the couple part ways, either through divorce or death. The agreement also covers expectations for economic and non-economic support in the event of a divorce or disability. Each person typically discloses their full financial information, including income, assets, and debt, as part of the agreement.
The agreement can be ended at any time by following the instructions provided in the Revocation section of the postnup. When you create your postnup with Rocket Lawyer, your agreement will include a Revocation clause that complies with your state’s requirements.
A Prenuptial Agreement is a contract that is signed and notarized (if your state requires it) by a couple planning to get married. A Postnuptial Agreement is essentially the same as a prenup, except that the contract is signed after the couple is married. Both agreements cover the couple’s separate and joint property ownership, assets, and debts should the marriage end in divorce or death. Separate property owned before the marriage may or may not change status once the couple is married, depending on the couple’s state laws, and this may be a reason to consult with a lawyer before making either agreement.
Postnuptial Agreements can be made at any time during the marriage. They do not have to be made right after the wedding. Couples sometimes create postnups if their marriage is not on solid ground, or if they end up having children together in a second (or more) marriage and want to make sure children from previous marriages are considered in any future plans.
The cost of a Postnuptial Agreement can vary widely, roughly between $550 and $10,000, if an attorney is drafting one for you. The exact price in this instance depends on the prevailing attorney rates in your area and the relative complexity of your agreement. Customizing your own agreement and having a lawyer review it for you may work just fine if you know what you want and your situation is relatively simple. This is an option that is cost efficient, and one that Rocket Lawyer can provide.
Whether or not you should sign a Postnuptial Agreement is dependent on your particular situation. If you are having doubts about signing a postnup but are feeling pressured to do so, you might want to consult with a lawyer to make sure you are not giving up important spousal rights by signing it. In some states, being forced or coerced into signing a postnup makes the agreement invalid. Likewise, a postnup that is not properly executed (signed and notarized in some states) is not enforceable, which means there is no legal agreement between you and your spouse.
Postnuptial Agreements may significantly affect the finances and property ownership rights of the couple entering into the agreement, as well as any children and grandchildren they have or may have together or through separate, previous marriages. If you are considering a postnup, it may be wise to have a postnup lawyer review and answer questions about your agreement before signing, or for each of you to have your own lawyers as a way to ensure each of your interests is being independently represented.