Marrying creates a variety of legal bonds between two people. Every piece of property, asset, or debt that the couple accumulated during the marriage is marital property, and both may have rights to it. If the marriage ends in divorce, a court can allocate property to either spouse.
It therefore is easy to understand how a divorce can become divisive and disputed. Not only is a divorce generally difficult emotionally, but it can end with a party losing a business, being forced to sell the family home, or being stuck with restrictive alimony payments.
Fortunately, married couples have a way to protect themselves from this unpredictability. Laws in Washington DC allow people to enter into marital agreements that dictate how they want to divide assets or debt in case the marriage ends in divorce. Naturally, if the marriage does not end with a divorce, these agreements have no effect. A DC postnuptial agreements lawyer can help you remain hopeful and optimistic for the best and a happy marriage but also to be prepared and secure in your financial future by drafting a postnup contract that meets your goals.
Why Having a Postnuptial Agreement Can Be Helpful
It is impossible to understate the monumental effects that a divorce can have on the rest of a person’s life. Courts in Washington DC are obligated to use the concept of equitable distribution concerning marital property if a couple separates. Marital property includes all assets and liabilities that a couple accumulates while being married. In some cases, marital property can also include assets that would normally be considered one spouse’s sole and separate property.
“Equitable distribution” may not mean equal, and what a court considers equitable certainly may not seem fair. Equitable distribution means a court-ordered allocation of debts and assets after consideration of certain factors. Equitable distribution is designed to leave both parties on the same financial footing as when they entered the marriage. Thankfully, the Code of the District of Columbia §16-910 states that courts must recognize and enforce valid spousal contracts, such as postnuptial agreements, when making this determination. As a result, a properly formatted and executed postnuptial agreement can help parties avoid the unpredictable and yet required “equitable distribution” in a divorce. A DC postnup agreements attorney can help explain the significance of a postnup under local laws.
What Topics Can a Postnuptial Agreement Address?
A postnuptial agreement should address how a couple wishes to distribute property and debt in the event of a separation or divorce. Of course, if a divorce never occurs, that agreement has no legal effect. Still, it is necessary to understand what issues can arise during a divorce in order to form a comprehensive postnuptial agreement.
The primary function of a postnup is to avoid a court-ordered equitable distribution of debt and assets. If the two parties can agree on how to divide bank accounts, control over a business, personal property, and real estate, then the agreement can outline those desires in plain language.
Postnuptial contracts can also speak as to the desires of parties concerning alimony. Spousal support laws in Washington DC allow either party to a divorce to ask the court to award alimony. Despite these laws, a postnuptial agreement can restrict these requests to a certain dollar amount or period of time. Postnuptial agreements can also prevent alimony from ever being awarded in the event of a divorce.
In general, a postnup can contain any provisions that the couple wishes, and a postnuptial contracts lawyer in Washington DC can help draft this contract. One essential exception to this rule concerns the care and custody of children. While an agreement can provide the couple’s wishes for any arrangement, a court must still find it in the best interest of the child. While the court considers the best interest of the child paramount, it will also almost always honor the parents’ agreement concerning what they have determined to be in the best interest of their child.
A DC Postnuptial Agreements Attorney Can Help
A couple’s relationship can change over the months and years that they are married. During this time, they might accumulate substantial assets or start a new business. Because they are married, the law considers these assets and property acquired during the marriage to be shared by both spouses. While it can be a nightmare to contemplate, a potential divorce can create chaos concerning property rights.
One way that spouses can retain some control in case of a future divorce is to enter into a postnup. An attorney can help you identify your needs for a postnuptial agreement. In the event of a separation or divorce, the attorney can then introduce the document in court to ensure that it is enforced. Contact a DC postnuptial agreements lawyer today to see how they can help you.