Postnuptial agreements are similar to prenuptial agreements but are created after a couple is married. Postnuptial agreement are also known as “post-marital agreements” or “postnups.” A postnuptial agreement is a contract created by spouses that provides for the distribution of assets and/or other marital obligations such as spousal support or alimony in the event of a divorce.
If you are currently married and believe you would benefit from a postnuptial agreement, you should discuss your rights with an experienced divorce lawyer or family law attorney.
Postnuptial agreements often help parties reconcile and avoid divorce by alleviating the risks posed to one spouse for staying married. Postnuptial agreements can be beneficial when:
- at least one or both parties have children from prior marriages or relationships, and no prenuptial agreement was signed
- one or more of the parties owns a profitable business
- one or more of the parties either expects or has recently received a large inheritance
Postnuptial agreements often provide for the following in the event of divorce:
- the waiver of alimony or spousal support
- the amount of alimony or spousal support or other divorce related payments
- the identification of separate property that will not be part of the divorce settlement
- waivers of interests in the other spouse’s probate estate
The Massachusetts Probate and Family Court (divorce court) typically weighs the following factors in determining whether a postnuptial agreement is valid and enforceable if the spouses eventually divorce:
- whether each spouse had the opportunity to obtain separate and independent legal counsel of their own choosing.
- whether there was fraud or coercion in signing the agreement.
- whether all assets were fully disclosed by both spouses before the agreement was signed.
- whether each spouse knowingly and explicitly agreed in writing to waive their right to an equitable division of assets and alimony or spousal support in the event of a divorce.
- whether the terms of the agreement were fair and reasonable at the time of the agreement is signed.
- whether the terms of the agreement remain fair and reasonable at the time of the divorce.
If you have signed a postnuptial agreement in the past and are now contemplating divorce in Massachusetts, you should consult with an experienced divorce attorney or family law lawyer to discuss the enforceability of the contact. If you wish to learn more about a postnuptial agreement or have been approached by your partner to enter into a postnuptial agreement, please contact the Law Offices of James Benjamin at 617-431-8071 to schedule a consultation today.