Florida Family Law: A Brief Overview of Postnuptial Agreements
When Canadian singer Justin Bieber secretly married model and TV personality Hailey Baldwin in 2018, the press reported that they bypassed a prenuptial agreement to protect their respective fortunes. The couple was ridiculed for overlooking this step, given the fact that Bieber was worth an estimated $265 million while Baldwin was rumored to be worth $3 million. However, it’s not too late for the Biebers or any other couple to define their expectations for the marriage. Postnuptial agreements may not be as well-known or widely-used as prenups, but they can be used to specify in advance what will happen to money, property, assets, and even pets if the marriage ends in divorce. In this respect, they can even prevent these issues from causing disputes that could jeopardize the relationship later on. Below is a list of four ways that a postnuptial agreement can benefit a married couple. 1. You Can Plan for Your Future Family If you plan on having children together, a postnuptial agreement lets you specify in advance how they will be raised. Will you or your spouse take time off work to be a stay-at-home parent? If so, for how long? The longer the parent stays out of the workforce, the more important it will be to discuss spousal support if divorce occurs. 2. You Can Protect Your Financial Future If your income is significantly less than that of your spouse, a postnuptial agreement can help ensure that you have the financial resources you need to start over if the marriage ends. You can agree on the amount and duration of spousal support now to avoid the expense of litigation later. 3. Separate Property Is Identified In most cases, the property you owned before the marriage will remain yours after a divorce. The same goes for inheritances and gifts made to you personally by anyone except your spouse, but there are exceptions. By identifying this property in a postnuptial agreement, you can save yourself and your spouse future stress. 4. You Can Protect a Business If you own a business, you want to protect your investment in it. Without a postnuptial agreement, a divorce could force you to give shares in the company to your spouse or even sell the business in order to divide its value. A postnup can keep the enterprise under your control, provided your spouse receives a marital asset of equal value. You and your spouse should put a lot of consideration into your postnuptial agreement. To be enforceable, it must not have been signed under duress, which is why family courts frown on documents being signed at the last minute. It must also be fair: the court won’t enforce an agreement that is too one-sided, but there are exceptions. A one-sided agreement can still be enforceable, if the parties can show they really thought about it and both sides had an attorney to review and discuss the pros and cons before signing it. While some people decry postnuptial agreements as a sign that the couple doesn’t trust one another, they can actually create the foundation for a strong marriage based on trust. A valid agreement requires both of you to be completely honest with each other regarding your finances, assets, debts, and expectations for the relationship. Once it’s signed, you can focus on building your future together. Contact a Florida Family Law Attorney If you and your new spouse want to create a blueprint for an open, trusting, and happy marriage, contact the prenuptial and postnuptial attorneys at Jarbath Pena Law Group. We will help you draft an agreement that’s fair, clarifies expectations, and protects your respective futures.