No doubt you have heard of, and maybe even created, a prenuptial agreement. Prenups provide a way for a couple to sit down and discuss the financial expectations of marriage. The document usually covers separate and communal property as well as property division in the event of a potential divorce. It offers protection particularly for parties with high assets. Such agreements can reveal personal beliefs that help couples decide if they should proceed with the marriage.

However, after years of marriage, circumstances change. A new contract, the postnuptial agreement, can address the current situation to give spouses peace of mind.

What is a postnuptial agreement?

Postnups serve a similar purpose to prenups in that they cover the financial aspects of marriage. They are helpful when a couple is having conflict but does not want to divorce. A postnup can determine and divide property to eliminate that step if divorce occurs. Those who have acquired many assets during marriage may benefit from creating a postnuptial agreement.

Are postnuptial agreements valid in Massachusetts?

A postnuptial agreement must meet certain requirements in Massachusetts to be enforceable. The top concern is if it is fair and reasonable. The following factors help determine that quality:

  • Did each spouse have legal representation?
  • Was there full disclosure of financial information?
  • Did the process include any fraud or coercion?
  • Was each spouse aware of and in agreement with waiving property division through the court?

Additional circumstances will also influence the decision such as the motivation behind making the contract and the outcome it will have on the spouses. If the agreement is years old, the judge will also consider if it still fair under the current marital situation. Therefore, it is wise to update the agreement every so often to prevent an outdated document from becoming invalid in a divorce. If the spouses disagree with enforcement, the one who seeks to follow it must prove its validity.