Beyond the emotional, often gut-wrenching pain of divorce comes the difficult task of dividing marital property between husband and wife.
Long before the ink dries on the divorce papers, it may be useful to have your attorney draft a postnuptial agreement which outlines the rights and responsibilities of the divorcing couple. Once signed, the postnuptial agreement becomes a legal contract, usually before the divorce decree is entered. Further, the postnuptial agreement is tailor-made to meet the specific needs of the divorcing couple. This type of agreement can give both spouses a greater sense of security in what is typically a very chaotic time.
Besides property issues, postnuptial agreements can be used to address other topics, such as child custody, child support, secondary education, life insurance, health insurance, income tax, and related matters important to the divorcing couple.
Before going to your attorney’s office to have a postnuptial agreement prepared, try to put together a list of the topics that you want covered in the agreement. Make a list of your marital assets and debts so that your lawyer can examine your plan for property division. Do your best to include the values of the marital home, automobiles, bank accounts, investment plans, pension plans, etc. Specifically describe your debts, including mortgages, loans, and credit card balances. Tell your lawyer about bankruptcies, tax issues, or any other financial problems you have or anticipate having in the future.
With this information your lawyer will draft the postnuptial agreement to suit your goals. Once you are satisfied with the agreement, it will be sent to your spouse and his or her attorney for review. Usually changes are made, and eventually the divorcing couple agrees to a compromise plan with which they both can live. If the husband and wife are able to negotiate an acceptable agreement, they will save themselves the grief and considerable expense of fighting these issues out in court.
Feel free to call us if you have any questions about postnuptial agreements or family law.
– Amanda Davidson