A Texas Family Law Attorney Helping Married Couples Protect Their Rights
You are probably familiar with the idea of a prenuptial agreement, but a postnuptial agreement is likely to be more of a mystery. A prenuptial agreement is a contract that goes into effect upon marriage and that regulates the division of a couple’s assets in the event of divorce (or death). A postnuptial agreement, on the other hand, is a contract that is created after a couple has married and that addresses anything from either parties’ individual property ownership to the entire estate owned by both parties.
As couples live their lives through the years of marriage, it is very common for their financial holdings and situations to become more and more complicated. As such, postnuptial agreements are becoming more and more common. Even couples with prenuptial agreements are prone to finding that these contracts eventually fail to adequately represent their current financial-holdings. This is where postnuptial agreements come into play.
Your Circumstances Can Change Significantly Over Time
When young couples marry, they often bring nothing but raw potential into the marriage. Many individuals haven’t yet found their footings in their careers and don’t yet have children. As the years of marriage begin to pile up, however, things change and marriages evolve. There are several significant milestones that commonly develop over the course of a marriage that can have powerful effects on a couple’s finances and on how the couple wants their assets to be divided in the event of divorce or at the time of death:
- Having children
- Having grandchildren
- Honing successful careers
- Building financial security
- Growing financial investments
As marriages evolve over the years, couples often amass more and more wealth, and in the process, they can be motivated to address how these assets will be divided in the event of divorce or at the time of death. When children (and grandchildren) are involved, inheritance issues can also play an important role in the decision-making process. If you are considering drawing up a postnuptial agreement, you shouldn’t view it as a sign that you aren’t committed to your marriage, but instead, should focus on how it reflects on your commitment to safeguarding your separate financial futures as your financial reality becomes more and more complicated.
Common Reasons for Postnuptial Agreements
The reasons behind postnuptial agreements are extremely varied. There are, however, several primary reasons for seeking postnuptial agreements:
If one spouse has quietly taken on a disproportionate amount of debt over the course of a marriage, it can represent a threat to the couple’s ongoing financial stability. A postnuptial agreement can help set the record straight regarding how this debt will be apportioned if the marriage eventually ends in divorce. This can help provide the spouse who didn’t participate in the accumulation of debt a greater sense of security while the couple works toward bolstering their marriage
The Accumulation of Unequal Assets
If one member of a couple earns vastly more than the other member, he or she may seek to secure a higher percentage of marital property in the event of divorce. Conversely, when one spouse walks away from a lucrative career to raise the couple’s children, he or she may be interested in initiating a postnuptial agreement that protects his or her financial future in the event of divorce.
If the marriage in question is a second marriage for one or both parties, it is likely to further complicate the financial considerations, and this is especially true if either spouse comes into the marriage with children for whom they have financial obligations. A postnuptial agreement can provide guidelines for how marital assets will be divided in the event of a divorce and for how inheritances will flow at the time of death. A postnuptial agreement can also serve as a surviving spouse’s insurance policy for remaining financially solvent in the time that intervenes between the death of his or her spouse and the inheritance of the deceased’s children (and grandchildren).
As marriages evolve, they encounter unique circumstances that affect married couples in different ways. Postnuptial agreements allow couples to address financial issues as they arise. This can afford both parties the necessary level of financial confidence to continue moving their marriage forward.
Texas is a community property state, and in general, this means that the property you and your spouse amass while you are married belongs to both of you equally. As such, in the event of divorce, your community or marital property will be divided more-or-less equally between the two of you. As a matter of fact, however, if you and your divorcing spouse can’t come to an agreement regarding the equal distribution of your marital property, the court has vast discretion in determining the “just and right” division of that property. It’s important to point out, however, that the court’s idea of what’s just and right regarding the division of your marital property is unlikely to coincide with your own.
The property that you own upon entering marriage, on the other hand, remains separate property in the event of a divorce. Once a couple enters into marriage, however, things have a way of moving quickly, and the inextricable comingling of assets isn’t uncommon. A postnuptial agreement allows married couples the opportunity to take a step backwards and to get a better handle on making distinctions between marital property and separate property. A postnuptial agreement can serve as a symbol that you and your spouse take your marriage seriously and that you are committed to taking care of financial details in support of both of your financial futures.
For More Information about Postnuptial Agreements, Consult with an Experienced Houston Divorce Attorney Today
Life comes at us fast, and marriage is often part of that package. If you have concerns about your marital financials, a postnuptial agreement could be the answer. The dedicated legal professionals at Rudisel Law Firm, P.C., in Houston, are here to answer your questions and to help you find your best path forward. Please contact or call us at 713-781-7775 for a free consultation today.