If issues or disputes have arisen in your marriage, you may be regretting the fact that you did not ask for a prenuptial agreement. Such contracts can be invaluable for resolving conflicts before they even come up, and many successful marriages can credit a well-constructed prenuptial agreement for addressing those issues.
However, all is not lost if you missed your chance to sign a prenup. You may find that a postnuptial agreement can help you meet your goals and open productive lines of communication between you and your dysfunctional spouse.
What is the purpose?
While not as well-known as the prenuptial agreement, a postnuptial contract can be just as effective. As its name implies, such a contract occurs after you are already married, perhaps even many years afterward, but it can protect you in the same way that a prenup can. Like many couples who decide to draft postnuptial agreements, you may be facing difficult issues in your marriage, such as any of the following:
- One spouse is spending too much, or you want to control your debt.
- You and your spouse disagree on which of you should handle certain responsibilities in the home.
- Your financial situation has changed, such as if one of you has started a new business, and you want to keep the business and its profits separate from marital assets.
- One spouse will be leaving work to care for the children, and you want to outline the compensation for that spouse if the marriage should end.
- You want to clarify ownership of your property and debt in case of divorce.
You may have a different motivation for wanting a postnuptial agreement. For example, if your spouse has been unfaithful, you may want a postnuptial agreement to establish specific financial consequences for any future misbehavior.
Is it valid?
Because the courts in Texas may not always accept the validity of a postnuptial contract as easily as a prenuptial agreement, it is important that you take every precaution to ensure your agreement is transparent and legal. This includes providing a full disclosure of assets and debts for both you and your spouse. The court will also want assurance that both you nor your spouse is are in compliance with the specific requirements for a postmarital agreement in the Texas Family Code.
To satisfy the court that you and your spouse are signing the postnuptial agreement in good faith, advisors encourage spouses to obtain the advice of separate experienced Board-certified Family Law expert attorneys who can counsel them and review the documents for legality.