A Vetrano Family Lawyer Discusses: When are Post-Nuptial or Mid-Nuptial Agreements Appropriate?
Family lawyers are finding that couples are increasingly turning to post-nuptial agreements, sometimes referred to as mid-nuptial agreements, to deal with many issues that can arise during a marriage. A post-nuptial agreement differs from a pre-nuptial agreement because it is entered into during the marriage, not before. A post-nuptial agreement addresses issues that might not have existed at the time of the marriage. For example, a spouse that stands to gain an ownership interest in a business or inherit a large amount of money from his or her parents during the marriage may enter into a post-nuptial or mid-nuptial agreement to ensure that the business or inheritance remains in the family. Oftentimes, the parents of the spouse that stands to receive the ownership interest in a family business will condition the transfer of ownership on the signing of a post-nuptial agreement to ensure that the other spouse is not able to gain access to the business in the event of a divorce.
Another situation where a post-nuptial or mid-nuptial agreement is beneficial is when one spouse wants to start a business or take on some other risky investment, with which the other spouse does not agree. Debts that are incurred during the marriage are typically shared in equitable distribution. A post-nuptial agreement can ensure that the spouse taking the risk will be solely responsible for any debts and liabilities associated with the investment should the couple decide to divorce. Post-nuptial agreements are also utilized when one spouse has committed some type of marital misconduct, and may want to show remorse for their wrongdoing by agreeing to give the wronged spouse more than what they would legally be entitled to in the event either one files for divorce, in exchange for the spouse’s forgiveness. Couples may also wish to enter into a post-nuptial or mid-nuptial agreement simply to establish a set of “guidelines” for the marriage, such as setting a budget for household expenses, or how much they will contribute each year to a child’s 529 Plan.
A post-nuptial or mid-nuptial agreement can also be useful when couples have already discussed divorce and agreed to many of the issues that might arise in a divorce at a time when their “cooler heads prevail,” so as to avoid a long drawn-out battle over their finances and custody of their children should they move forward with a divorce in the future. The post-nuptial agreement can provide a framework for dealing with the division of assets, alimony, child support, and child custody before the parties reach the “breaking point” and battle lines are drawn. Negotiating the terms of the divorce while the parties are still relatively amicable can save time and legal fees and can reduce conflict, particularly if the parties want to remain civil for the benefit of the children. In fact, by being forced to address the financial aspects of their marriage, a couple may be able to move past the big financial hurdles that exist in their marriage in a way that marriage counselling may not be able to address.
While post-nuptial and mid-nuptial agreements are generally enforceable, a court will scrutinize these agreements to ensure that there is full and fair financial disclosure of all relevant assets and liabilities. It is important to retain the services of an experienced family lawyer when entering into a post-nuptial or mid-nuptial agreement because you could be unknowingly waiving important rights that you would otherwise be entitled to in a court of law, such as spousal support and alimony.
Call Vetrano for Experienced Family Lawyers in Wayne or other Main Line Communities
A family lawyer at Vetrano|Vetrano & Feinman, LLC can help identify whether a post-nuptial or mid-nuptial agreement is right for you and your family. Our attorneys understand the many issues that can emerge as a result of conflicts in a marriage and are practiced in guiding clients through the process of resolving these conflicts. Contact us today for a consultation with one of our skilled family lawyers.
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