A lot of focus is given to agreements made before a marriage, also known as prenups. These agreements allow a couple to map out what will happen if they decide to divorce. However, there are other options for couples that are already married but would still like to set legal boundaries regarding assets and property. This option is called a postnuptial agreement, and can hold up in most family courts across the country.
Until recently, postnuptial agreements were not considered an option for most couples since, in the eyes of the law, a married couple is one unit and can't create a contract with itself. However, Pennsylvania and other states have begun to allow postnuptial agreements in family courts.
Pennsylvania Allows "Unfair" Postnuptial Agreements
In most states, in order for the court to recognize these agreements, they must be fair for both parties involved. In Pennsylvania, these contracts are not required to be fair to be recognized by the court.
Pennsylvania law decrees that the document is valid if:
- There was a full disclosure of assets; and
- Neither party committed fraud
Like prenuptial agreements, a postnup can include details of what happens to possessions and debt in the event of divorce. Unlike prenuptial agreements, postnuptial agreements can include details for married life that may seem bizarre, such as stipulations on public displays of affection if both spouses agree.
Using Postnuptial Agreements as a Tool
When considering a postnuptial agreement, both parties must discern what each person is entitled as a result of the marriage and what rights they may be giving up by entering into this contract. Sometimes this is exactly why such an agreement is considered. It can also be very helpful to separate family property from marital property to avoid future conflict or dispute.
A postnuptial agreement can be looked at as a tool for marriage. In some instances, it can create financial peace of mind for a spouse that is worried about their partner's spending habits. For others, it can ease social tensions between a couple that have concerns about the implications of a divorce.
An agreement of this type can benefit a marriage. If you feel as though a prenuptial agreement is right for you and your spouse, consult with a family law attorney to ensure the legality of your postnuptial contract!