What is a Postnuptial Agreement?

If you and your spouse did not draft a prenuptial agreement and are looking to protect your assets, have no fear–you may still draft a postnuptial agreement. Essentially, a postnuptial agreement serves the same purpose as a prenuptial agreement, however, you may only draft a postnuptial agreement after you are already married. If this sounds like something you and your spouse may wish to consider, read on to learn more about drafting a postnuptial agreement.

What specific terms can a postnuptial agreement cover?

Postnuptial agreements cover a wide array of issues. However, while their purpose is protection, confronting your spouse about a postnuptial agreement may sometimes lead to insecurity. This is why you must sensitively approach the matter, and inform your spouse that a postnuptial agreement has little to do with the state of your marriage. Whatever your reason for drafting a postnuptial agreement, here are some of the issues your agreement may address:

  • If one party’s financial circumstances have greatly changed, they may request a postnuptial agreement. A job promotion, a large inheritance, or even the acquisition of stocks or investment options may all warrant a postnuptial agreement.
  • When financial insecurity is affecting the stability of the marriage, couples sometimes establish a postnuptial agreement to put their finances behind them and focus primarily on their relationship.
  • Sometimes, both parties wish to avoid the expense and uncertainty of a potential equitable distribution process. Generally, if you get a divorce and you fall into the litigation process, both parties will be dissatisfied with the outcome. It is a lengthy process within a courtroom setting, so it is no secret why certain couples would like to avoid it, if at all possible.
  • You may also address the issue of financial support for children from a prior marriage.

How do I know if I have a valid postnuptial agreement?

New York courts are well-aware of potentially complex marital issues that may come into play when drafting a postnuptial agreement. Because of this, courts will analyze your agreement with an added degree of skepticism to ensure that one party was not pressured into signing such an agreement. The five primary qualifications for a valid postnuptial agreement are as follows:

  • The financial status of each party, along with any assets addressed in the agreement must be fully disclosed.
  • Both parties must have a reasonable amount of time to make an informed decision regarding signing the agreement.
  • The terms must be fair and reasonable to both parties. 
  • Each party must retain separate legal counsel, or else explicitly waive their right to counsel in writing.
  • There must be no evidence of coercion, deceit, manipulation, or emotional pressure by either party.

Contact our experienced New York firm

Peter V. Mandi, Esq. is an experienced divorce and family law attorney located in Bohemia, New York. If you require strong and dedicated legal representation in Long Island, New York, contact Peter V. Mandi & Associates, Inc. today.