Legal Professionals of Hirsch & Ehlenberger

5 key elements to include in your postnuptial agreement

On Behalf of | Sep 28, 2023 | Prenups and Postnups

Making divorce preparations shortly after marrying a partner can feel cold and unromantic. Some see postnuptial agreements as a sign that their spouse doesn’t trust them, while others don’t want to disclose their finances. Even though they may make people uncomfortable initially, postnups may help couples protect each other.

A postnuptial agreement, sometimes known as a post-marital agreement, is a legal contract that spouses can enter into and execute after they marry. Like a prenuptial agreement, it describes how the couple would distribute assets, debts and other financial concerns upon divorce.

Here are five of the most crucial elements to include in a postnup:

1. Inventory of assets

Individuals often own wealth and assets, or what’s known as separate property, before marriage. When they marry, they start acquiring marital property with their spouse. However, separate and marital property could overlap throughout the marriage, complicating property division after divorce.

When the marriage ends, an accurate inventory of assets can be helpful for both parties to determine precisely what assets belong to whom.

2. Asset division

Married couples are bound to share and own assets together. To minimize future conflicts, the couple can agree on how they want to divide marital assets in case of divorce. The agreement can also clearly specify what portion of the marital assets each spouse is entitled to.

3. Spousal support

In Virginia, spousal support is not a right nor is it guaranteed. However, through a postnuptial agreement, one spouse may pledge to provide financial support to the other. This can be particularly reassuring if one party is dealing with health issues, has sacrificed their career for the marriage, or has been financially dependent on the other.

4. Child support

If the couple has or plans to have children, they may dictate their preferences regarding custody, visitation and support. However, Virginia family courts will always consider the child’s best interests first. While the child support portion in the agreement may not always be binding, it could still play a role in the judge’s decision-making.

5. Financial liabilities

People can rack up debt, such as a mortgage, credit card balances and car payments, before marrying or during marriage. With a postnuptial agreement, a debt-ridden spouse may protect their partner from their financial liabilities. In addition, they can structure the agreement to ensure that any debts a person owes remain solely their responsibility.

Postnuptial agreements can serve as a tool for married couples to address their concerns and reassure each other. Moreover, discussing their finances and future can help them establish boundaries and manage expectations, fostering a healthier and more transparent relationship.


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