Facts about the Postnuptial Agreement template

What is a Postnuptial Agreement?

Many couples know about prenuptial agreements, but not as many know that there is another kind of nuptial agreement known as a postnuptial agreement. A postnuptial agreement contains similar information as a prenup does. The main difference is one is written after the couple is already married. The contract outlines issues that relate to a marriage, such as asset division and spouse responsibilities, in the event the couple gets a divorce.

In order for a post nuptial agreement to be legally binding and held up in court, it must be in writing, voluntary, fair for both parties and signed. Both parties must also be truthful and disclose all information regarding income, property, assets and debts.

One of the benefits of having a postnup is to protect inheritance if there are children from previous marriages. It is beneficial if one of the spouses enters into the marriage with a company and wants to prevent the other party from getting it in the event of a divorce. A postnuptial agreement also serves as a record of each couple's assets and debts acquired prior to marriage. For some people, having this separation agreement gives them peace of mind and eases stress when thinking about finances in the event of a legal separation. Some aspects of this agreement, such as spousal alimony and child custody, may not be allowed in certain states.

What is a Postnuptial Agreement used for?

A postnuptial agreement is used for multiple reasons, including financial, family, and practical ones. It protects individual assets, family inheritance and individual businesses. It may also lay out budgetary responsibilities of each spouse during the marriage or outline strategies if one spouse will eventually stay home to run the household or raise children. It lays out the financial issues each party enters into the marriage with, so if there is a divorce there is no question as to how to divide them, and it provides asset protection in the event there are children from previous relationships.

Why should you use a Postnuptial Agreement?

A postnuptual agreement is especially beneficial if one or both of the spouses have been married or have children from a different relationship, if one enters into the marriage as a business owner, if one spouse enters into the marriage with substantial assets and if one spouse is expecting a large inheritance. However, this agreement is also beneficial for all other types of relationships as well. Even if neither spouse has property or substantial debts, it can outline how to divide assets and debts that are collected during the marriage.

Without this contract, the courts decide how things are divided, and there is no guarantee that a spouse will get full ownership of a business, property, or other assets. However, a judge may not find the agreement valid if one spouse was forced to enter into the contract or it the agreement only protects one of the parties.

How to write a Postnuptial Agreement?

There are certain elements that all couples should include in a postnuptial agreement, and then there are those specific to a couple’s situation. When composing the contract, each party should make sure their needs are being met and that it is not a one-sided agreement.

  • Each spouse’s name:

    The contract should begin with a date and the full name of each party entering into the agreement.

  • Premarital assets and debts:

    Each party should include in an exhibit to the agreement a list of all assets and debts with which they entered into the marriage. Assets may include bank accounts, investment accounts, real estate, vehicles, jewelry and artwork. Debts include credit card balances, student debt, mortgages and personal loans. In the contract, the couple should define how to divide these.

  • Marital assets and debts:

    This element should outline how the couple will divide assets and debts they gain during the marriage.

  • Business ownership:

    If the couple has a business partnership, this section describes how to divide the company upon the dissolution of marriage.

  • Pet custody:

    If one spouse brought a pet into the marriage, or the couple adopted a pet together, this section can outline who gets custody.

  • Dispute resolution:

    In the event of a divorce, a couple may want to decide ahead of time what process they want to use. Choices include mediation, arbitration and litigation.

  • Signatures:

    The contract must be signed and dated by each spouse, and most states require witness signatures, notarization or both.

How to Fill Out a Postnuptial Agreement with PDFSimpli in Five Steps

  • 1. Document preparation:

    Hopefully divorce never happens, but in the event it does, a well-written postnuptial agreement will hold up in court. That is why each spouse should think hard about what to include in the contract and have numerous discussions about how they want to divide everything. Make sure all assets and debts are accounted for. To ensure each party is represented fairly, each spouse should have independent counsel look over everything. If you prepare properly, filling out the actual agreement is fairly easy.

  • 2. Software selection:

    Although you can write a postnup agreement from scratch, the multitude of templates may help you realize that it is the easier route. There are numerous software programs to choose from, but PDFSimpli offers an easy-to-use format that makes filling it out a breeze. Take advantage of the ability to save as you go in the event you need to take a break and return to it at a later time.

  • 3. Information filled out or edited:

    Once you have prepared all the information, PDFSimpli makes it easy to fill in. The spaces are highlighted so you do not have to search hard to find where to enter the information. It also allows you to edit the wording and add additional information if necessary.

  • 4. Information review:

    Again, since this is a legally binding contract, it is important the information is correct. Read through it multiple times and double check the numbers are right and that the wording is what you two agreed upon.

  • 5. Save, download and print execution:

    Once you have approved the completed document, save it again. You can then download it for your files and print out copies for signatures and notarization. Each of you should keep a signed copy, and you should give one to your attorneys as well.

Postnuptial Agreement Frequently Asked Questions

It largely depends on the state in which you live. Some do not allow any agreements regarding custody, while other states will. However, custody decisions are based on what is in the best interests of a child, so a judge will need to look over what the couple decided to see if he or she agrees with the assessment. If not, that part of the agreement is not considered.

An agreement regarding child support may also not be valid. Each state has a specific way to calculate child support, so the support amount the couple agreed upon must be equal or higher to the state amount.

Although an attorney does not need to be present during the process of figuring out details of the agreement, it may be beneficial. This is especially true in relationships in which one spouse feels the other has a strong personality, and an attorney may be able to help the quieter spouse feel confident asking for more.

Even if the couple does not involve attorneys during the initial process, there should be attorney involvement before both parties sign the contract. A judge may invalidate the agreement if one or both sides did not consult individually with an attorney to ensure it was a fair agreement.

Yes, there are numerous things that may invalidate it. Along with not having independent counsel, other reasons for invalidation include nondisclosure of assets by one or both spouses, it is not in writing, it is not fair and reasonable to one party, one of the spouses was coerced or forced into signing it or it was not signed and notarized.