A postnuptial agreement, or postnup, is a legally binding contract between spouses listing how their marital property will be divided in a divorce. While a prenuptial agreement is signed before marriage, a postnup can be created and signed at any point during the marriage.
Each state has its own laws regarding what a postnup may include and when they are enforceable under the law. A Bellevue family lawyer can help you create an enforceable post-nuptial agreement that meets the approval of both parties, simplifying divorce proceedings and protecting each party's property.
Who Should Have a Post-Nuptial Agreement?
Postnups are generally used as a tool for property division in a Washington state divorce. Instead of waiting until the relationship is at a crossroads, a postnup allows both parties to make decisions before any sign of trouble. A postnup also will enable you to address concerns as they arise during the marriage, while prenups contain hypothetical cases (such as if one spouse gets a job offer, the other agrees to move).
It may be a good idea to consider a postnuptial agreement if:
- You or your spouse has significant assets. Any couple who would have a high-asset divorce should make plans to protect themselves financially before (or shortly after) marriage. Many people who bring large sums of money and property into a union or expect to inherit significant future assets often create postnups stipulating that each spouse “leaves with what they came in with” and splits the rest down the middle.
- One spouse makes significantly more than the other. Depending on certain factors, postnups can be used to set a specified amount for spousal maintenance. For example, maintenance may increase if one spouse leaves the workforce to raise the children or care for elderly family members.
- You or your spouse own a business. A postnup can help protect the income or assets generated by a spouse who owns their own company. Even if the other spouse plays no role in the business, the company’s earnings during the marriage could be considered joint property. Your postnup can spell out whether a non-owning spouse is entitled to a share of any profits or losses and if they can continue to have a stake in the business after a divorce.
- You’re getting an inheritance. The law allows inheritances to remain the separate property of the receiving spouse, but the inheritance can become a joint asset if it’s used for marital purposes. A postnup can help keep a sizable bequest or a gift from a family member solely for you in case of divorce.
Let a Washington State Divorce Attorney Create Your Marital Agreement
Once you’ve decided to make a postnup, it’s vital that you have someone on your side to protect your legal rights. At the Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny, we know the most common points of contention in a divorce and can plan to avoid future problems when and if you separate from your spouse. Call (425) 460-0550 today or use our online contact form to arrange a private consultation, or read through our free guide, 9 Urban Myths about Divorce That Can Hurt You.