The Pros and Cons of Postnuptial Agreements
Postnuptial agreements are legal contracts which are entered into after a couple has married. They are used to define how a couple’s finances, assets and property will be divided in the event of separation or divorce. In this way, they are very similar to prenuptial agreements. The only downside to signing a postnuptial agreement is that they are less likely to be enforced because courts prefer these types of contracts to be entered into prior to marriage. If you are married and are interested in drafting a postnuptial agreement, it is important that you retain and consult an attorney. This attorney should be separate from your spouse’s attorney, as sharing counsel in this sort of matter is considered a conflict of interest. The lawyers at the Law Offices of Sadek and Cooper can help guide you through this process.
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Pros of Postnuptial Agreements
Although entering a postnuptial agreement rather than a prenuptial agreement is not ideal, there are advantages to signing this type of contract. Below is a list of the benefits of signing postnuptial agreements:
- It gives a couple a chance to assess their financial situation. One of the most common reasons that couples get divorced is because of disagreements over finances. Openly communicating about finances and assets gives a couple a chance to not only plan for the future but also to address any issues with spending habits. If a couple recognizes that they are having difficulties due to finances, communicating about these issues allows them to make necessary lifestyle chances to have a better marriage going forward.
- If a couple gets married when they are young, sometimes it is difficult to address asset and property division out of fear of being insulting or offense. After time goes by and a couple matures and becomes comfortable with one another, it is easier to put all of the cards on the table without fear of resentment and hurt feelings.
- Usually the reason a couple signs a postnuptial agreement is because there has been a change in circumstances in the marriage. If a couple has experienced a brief separation or other tribulations that foreshadow a potential divorce in the future, postnuptial agreements can relieve anxiety over finances and assets.
- If you or your spouse are in your second or third marriage and have children from a previous marriage, signing a postnuptial agreement can help protect the interests of those children. In the event of separation or divorce, a postnuptial agreement can ensure that certain assets will be allocated to your children.
Cons of Postnuptial Agreements
There are disadvantages to signing a postnuptial agreement. As stated above, postnuptial agreements are not enforced as often as prenuptial agreements. Below is a list of the drawbacks of signing a postnuptial agreement:
- Similar to a prenuptial agreement, one of the disadvantages of a postnuptial agreement is that it can feel like it is tainting the marriage and planning for a breakdown that is inevitable. If a couple signs a postnuptial agreement after a defining event in the marriage such as infidelity, this can feel like the couple is on the fast track to getting a divorce.
- While a postnuptial agreement can facilitate constructive conversation about assets and finances, in the same light it can sometimes do more harm than good. If a couple cannot agree on a provision of the contract, and one party insists that it is enforced, this could create more problems and possibly lead to a premature breakdown of the marriage.
- There is ample opportunity for coercion when a couple signs this sort of agreement. If one party, for example is the breadwinner and has more assets, that individual may unfairly coerce the other spouse into signing the agreement. This could be done by holding money and fiscal responsibility over his or her head.
- Lastly, the enforceability of these types of agreements always rests in the hands of a judge. Judges will scrutinize postnuptial agreements more closely because they are entered into by spouses who owe a significant duty to one another. If there is not full and thorough disclosure of all financial information, this could cause a judge to throw out the agreement.
Philadelphia Divorce Attorney
If you are already married and need to consult an attorney about drafting a postnuptial agreement for you and your spouse to review, the Philadelphia divorce lawyers at Sadek & Cooper can help. We are a group of experienced divorce attorneys that can help you draft a detailed agreement that will protect the interests of both you and your spouse in the event of separation or divorce. It is imperative that you consult an experienced divorce attorney to walk you through the process of fully disclosing your financial information to your spouse so that a judge does not find the terms of the agreement unfair or unconscionable. To schedule a free and confidential consultation, call our Philadelphia law firm at (215) 814-0395.