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Key aspects of postnuptial agreements

Though couples do not usually get married planning to split up, for many couples, divorce becomes a reality. In such cases, having a plan in place for the dissolution of the marriage can be beneficial.

If a prenuptial agreement is not in place, a postnuptial agreement could be beneficial. There are a few things to understand about this type of agreement.

What it is

As the name indicates, a postnuptial agreement is an agreement a couple comes to after they officially marry. A postnuptial agreement usually focuses on finances and the division of assets upon divorce but can contain additional elements.

Validity

Similar to a prenuptial agreement, a postnuptial agreement must meet certain requirements to be valid. Along with the document being in accordance with the state's most-recent divorce laws, both parties must be in agreement with the terms. To ensure this, the agreement should be in clear terms, to ensure both parties understand it. As with any other legally enforceable document, it must be in writing and signed by both parties.

What it is not

A postnuptial agreement is different from a prenuptial agreement or a separation agreement. While a postnuptial agreement is quite similar to a prenup, the timeframes of the two documents is the main differentiator. The timing of a separation agreement may differ as well, considering that the parties may already separate from each other when the agreement is in place, and a separation agreement facilitates the separation of assets while the couple remains married. Though a postnuptial agreement may be in place, it is not set in stone. Therefore, it is important to understand that some aspects may not hold up in court, such as certain pre-determined alimony or custody terms parties may try to include. 

Understanding the postnuptial agreement can be quite helpful in determining how it can benefit your situation. Take some time to decide if a postnuptial agreement is right for you, and consider consulting with an attorney.

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