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When & Why Married Couples Should Create Postnuptial Agreements

Updated: Jan 10

A postnuptial agreement is a contract between spouses (in the same way a prenuptial agreement is), but it is created after marriage. Some people may recognize the need for a prenuptial agreement but do not have the time to finalize it before they get married. They still have the option of safeguarding their assets, their credit and mapping out a plan for the future through postnuptial agreements.

They identify what property or debts that you brought into the marriage (which is usually viewed as separate property) and how your marital assets get divided if you decide to end the marriage or upon death. The court considers most assets that are acquired during marriage to be community property because Washington is a community property state. However, you can hold certain assets separately if you and your spouse agree, and it is fair.

It is common to assume that a marital agreement only benefits the monied spouse. When you create a postnuptial agreement, you can outline a plan for spousal maintenance, which is also referred to as alimony. Suppose you took over the responsibility of maintaining the marital home and raising your children so your spouse could work. In that case, a postnuptial agreement could assure you that you will receive appropriate financial support if your marriage dissolves. It may also provide clarity on support after death if your spouse has children from another relationship.

In addition to assets, married couples also accumulate community debts and liabilities. Postnuptial agreements can address how these obligations get managed after a divorce or death.

Your Postnuptial Agreement Must Be Enforceable

Both parties want the postnuptial agreement to be created fairly and it should have fair terms. It is paramount that both parties have their own attorneys for this reason. Both parties have to agree upon the terms, and they will be able to discuss the terms of the postnuptial agreement with their attorneys privately and confidentially. Marital agreements are invalid and will not be enforceable if:

  • One person unduly pressured the other into signing it

  • The terms of the agreement aren’t fair

  • If it favors one person so well that it will be to their advantage to seek a divorce

Create Your Postnuptial Agreement With View Ridge Family Law & Estate Planning

The attorneys at View Ridge Family Law & Estate Planning are accustomed to assisting clients with creating marital agreements (pre & postnuptial) that appropriately identify how a divorce will impact their assets and resources. It is a means to give you confidence and peace of mind in the face of uncertainty. For more information about how we can help you with any family law or estate planning issue, contact us to schedule a consultation.

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