Prenuptial and Postnuptial agreements are a good strategy to protect assets and establish reasonable agreements in the event a marriage ends in divorce. The principal reason to have a prenuptial agreement is to protect established intellectual property, a business or substantial wealth when contemplating a marriage. Any asset which is owned or acquired before the date of the marriage is considered to be a “separate” asset for the owner in the event of property division in a divorce.
A prenuptial agreement can help to protect the status of those assets while establishing reasonable agreements in advance regarding issues such as spousal support. Another common use of a prenuptial agreement is to protect assets and wishes regarding existing children when you are entering a blended family. A postnuptial agreement is established between two people who are already married who wish to memorialize an agreement which is reached regarding the same type of assets.
Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements have developed a bad reputation based upon sensational media reports as well as TV and movie dramas. When they are seriously considered and openly discussed between the parties prenuptial and postnuptial agreements can strengthen a relationship while protecting substantial interests. The key to enforceability for these marital agreements is a carefully crafted agreement which captures the understandings between the parties without creating unreasonable terms or pressure to initiate the agreement. Any symptom of pressure or coercion provides a path for the agreement to be overturned. In addition the failure to disclose assets or relevant information related to the agreement, fraud or making false promises can also affect the enforceability of the agreement.
Another factor which affects the enforceability of prenuptial and postnuptial agreements is fairness. If the agreement is completely one-sided or unreasonable a Judge is likely to strike a portion or all of the terms of the agreement. Well crafted prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are enforceable and help to establish clear expectations while protecting valuable assets.
Prenups and postnups (as they are often referred to) can be modified in the future, contain terms which expire after a specific date or event has occurred or suspended altogether based upon agreement between the parties.