A postnuptial agreement is a written agreement between two married people that details the rights of each party in the event of a divorce. Such an agreement may be narrow, covering only one topic, such as the division of individual assets, or broad, covering a multitude of topics or assets.
A postnuptial agreement is different from a prenuptial agreement primarily in regard to the timing of when it is executed. A prenuptial agreement is executed before the marriage occurs, while a postnuptial agreement is executed after the parties are married.
Due to the fact that an agreement will impact the respective parties’ rights in the event of a divorce, it is essential both parties understand what their rights would otherwise be should they not enter into such an agreement. A dedicated Fairfax postnuptial attorney can be incredibly useful in this regard, by helping prepare for what to expect and by ensuring that all terms are understood. To discuss your options regarding postnuptial agreements, consult with our experienced attorneys in Fairfax today.
There are two primary benefits of entering into a postnuptial agreement. The first benefit is that such an agreement provides certainty to both parties regarding their respective rights in the event of a divorce.
Secondly, such clarity can reduce the time, stress, and costs associated with the divorce process as a postnuptial agreement reduces the number of issues that can be disputed and must be litigated within the context of the divorce proceedings.
Approaching a Postnuptial Agreement
In constructing a postnuptial agreement, a married couple should begin by taking an inventory of the assets and liabilities both parties have at the time of the agreement’s construction. This is to ensure that both parties have full information about the state of the other’s assets and liabilities, as well as to ensure all such assets and liabilities are considered in the agreement’s construction.
Once such an inventory is complete, it should be taken to an experienced postnuptial agreement lawyer in Fairfax. Such a lawyer can advise the consulting spouse about the various possibilities on how to address the financial issues in the postnuptial agreement. It is also advisable that each party to the agreement consult an independent postnuptial agreement attorney who can advise each party of their individual rights such that both parties can make separate appraisals of the postnuptial agreement before entering into it.
Factors to Consider
When entering into a postnuptial agreement, an individual’s primary concern should be what their rights would be if no postnuptial agreement were executed. This is of considerable importance, as any individual entering into a postnuptial agreement should be fully apprised of the benefits and consequences of that agreement.
Moreover, a person entering into a postnuptial agreement should consider the extent to which that agreement makes sense for their family as a whole. This consideration will involve an exploration of each party’s respective financial circumstances, the goals each spouse has individually in the event the marriage should end, and the goals the spouses have jointly for the family unit. All of these factors should be considered when an individual is first exploring the idea of a postnuptial agreement.
Postnuptial vs. Will
A postnuptial agreement does not per se take the place of a will. However, one of the issues that can be, and often is, addressed in a postnuptial agreement is the rights of the surviving spouse in the event that one of the spouses should die while the parties are still married. Alternatively, the terms of the agreement can also waive certain rights to the estate of a spouse, effectuating the distribution of a party’s estate upon death.
While a postnuptial agreement does not take the place of a will, the rights delineated within such an agreement can give some certainty regarding the rights of a surviving spouse, and an experienced Fairfax postnuptial agreement attorney will be able to explain and protect your rights.
Working with an Attorney
A Fairfax postnuptial agreement lawyer can advise a person looking to enter into a postnuptial agreement regarding what their potential rights would be in regards to financial support, the division of assets, and separation of debts within the context of the agreement and within the context of the law.
Such information is important in determining whether a postnuptial agreement is in the best interest of a party to that agreement and may have a significant impact on an individual’s decision whether or not to enter into such an agreement.