Prenuptial agreements have historically been viewed with everything from disfavor to outright revulsion by the party being asked to sign one. While more and more couples are choosing to enter into prenuptial agreements now because both parties are bringing significant assets into the marriage, being asked to sign such an agreement prior to getting married can still strike a potential spouse the wrong way. Given what a delicate topic signing a prenuptial agreement can be, why would you agree to sign a postnuptial agreement? A Murfreesboro family law lawyer at Bennett | Michael | Hornsby offers some general information about postnuptial agreements and explains several reasons why you might want to enter into one.
What Is the Difference Between a Postnuptial and a Prenuptial Agreement?
A prenuptial agreement is a legal agreement executed by two parties in anticipation of marriage. The agreement covers things such as how decisions will be made during the marriage, the responsibilities of the parties during the marriage, and how debts and assets will be handled if the parties divorce or upon the death of one party. A prenuptial agreement does not go into effect until the parties are legally married. A postnuptial agreement is similar; however, it is executed after the parties are legally married.
Why Sign a Postnuptial Agreement?
If you didn’t consider establishing a prenuptial agreement or were not asked to sign one, you are likely wondering why you would later decide to sign a postnuptial agreement after you are married. There are several common reasons to do so, such as:
- Providing a framework for financial decisions. Money – how to earn it, spend it, save it, and manage it – is at the top of the list of problem areas for most married couples. Instead of arguing about finances once a month, taking the time to sit down and create a framework for financial decisions in a postnuptial agreement can be much more constructive.
- Facilitate communication. Sometimes, instead of arguing over money or assets, couples stay silent. While this avoids open disputes, it does not resolve the issues. Negotiating the terms of a postnuptial agreement can break the silence and get the parties talking about the issues.
- Protects children. If you have children from a previous relationship, or children are born into the marriage, you want to make sure they are protected while you are married as well as if you get divorced or one spouse dies.
- Clarifies expectations. Some couples fail to adequately discuss expectations prior to marriage. Others realize that expectations have changed since the marriage. Either way, entering into a postnuptial agreement can help clarify what expectations both parties have for each other and for the family.
- Resolve disagreements. Sitting down with a neutral third party (an attorney) to discuss the provisions of a postnuptial agreement can lead to resolving disagreements that may otherwise threaten the marriage.
- Defines changing roles. At some point during the marriage, one spouse may agree to stay home with children or make a significant geographic move to support the other spouse’s career. Making such sacrifices can cause that spouse to suddenly feel insecure about his/her financial security. Executing a postnuptial agreement can go a long way toward defining the roles and expectations of each spouse going forward.
- Offers stability and security. Whether one spouse voluntarily gives up a career or a spouse begins to earn considerably more than he/she did prior to the marriage, such changing circumstances can lead to instability and insecurity. Establishing a postnuptial agreement is one way to replace the stability and security both spouses need.
To increase the likelihood that a postnuptial agreement will be upheld should your spouse attempt to invalidate the agreement, be sure to have both spouses consult with an experienced attorney before signing the agreement.
Contact a Murfreesboro Family Law Lawyer
If you have questions or concerns about whether you should sign a Tennessee postnuptial agreement, contact a Murfreesboro family law lawyer to discuss your options. Contact the team at Bennett | Michael | Hornsby as soon as possible by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your free appointment.