Prenuptial & Postnuptial Agreements
Most people are not aware of how a marriage will influence their legal rights to the property they owned prior to the marriage and acquired during the marriage, as well as their rights and obligations to support their family and children. Sometimes a marriage can impact those rights in ways that are counter-intuitive to one's reasonable expectations. This can create unnecessary tension in a marriage.
Whether you and your fiancé are just starting out in life, have children together or from a prior relationship, or have assets or financial obligations that you acquired prior to the marriage, a prenuptial agreement can be a simple way to define each person's rights and obligations to the other, so that both are on the same page from the start of your marriage. A consultation regarding the advantages and disadvantages of a prenuptial agreement will facilitate an early discussion of these issues and possibly an early and orderly resolution that promotes harmony and trust.
It would be prudent to initiate this process well in advance of your planned nuptials to avoid last-minute efforts that can frustrate and upset you and your spouse-to-be and jeopardize the enforceability of the agreement itself. Your spouse should also have the opportunity to seek and receive independent legal representation during this process, so that he or she knows and understands the rights and obligations set forth in the agreement.
If this discussion does not occur prior to the marriage, it can be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to later preserve rights to property that could have been protected with advanced planning. So, educating yourself prior to the marriage is important. Our team of seasoned family law attorneys can guide you through the process of educating yourself, evaluating whether or not a prenuptial agreement is right for you, and, if necessary, crafting a prenuptial agreement that is tailored to your priorities and concerns. We will also assist you in preparing the necessary financial disclosures that accompany the prenuptial agreement, which are critical to ensuring that the agreement is valid and enforceable.
A prenuptial agreement can also serve as an adjunct to your estate planning. We frequently prepare prenuptial agreements that address not only what occurs in the event of separation or divorce, but also what occurs in the event of the untimely passing of one or both spouses.
Postnuptial and Reconciliation Agreements
Similar to a prenuptial agreement, spouses are also free to enter into postnuptial and reconciliation agreements. A postnuptial agreement is nothing more than a prenuptial agreement that is executed after the marriage. A reconciliation agreement is an agreement that provides an amicable plan for separation and/or divorce if attempts to repair a marriage are unsuccessful. Both postnuptial and reconciliation agreements address the same types of issues as prenuptial agreements, as discussed above.
In addition to drafting these types of agreements, we are also frequently called upon to consult with individuals who are married and have signed a prenuptial agreement, postnuptial agreement, or reconciliation agreement, and wish to explore their legal options concerning interpretation, enforcement, and/or rescission of such agreements.