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Prenuptial & Postnuptial Agreements
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A decision on whether to sign a prenuptial agreement can be a difficult one. There are important things to consider when deciding whether a prenup is right for you. A prenuptial agreement is a contract between two people who intend to marry. The agreement is a road map for the couple to understand their individual rights and responsibilities in the marriage. A prenuptial agreement can provide a couple a level of comfort in the certainty of knowing what will happen should unforeseen events occur, like death and divorce.
A prenuptial agreement can do many things including:
· Waive any rights provided to an individual by law.
· Identify separate property being brought into the marriage.
· Determine which funds from certain sources belong to one or both parties.
· State how both spouses will spend money during marriage.
If you have decided that establishing a prenuptial agreement prior to your marriage is right for you, keep in mind that the following elements are required to make the agreement valid:
· The Agreement must be fair, in writing, signed by both parties, properly witnessed and notarized.
· The Agreement must be executed voluntarily.
· There must be full disclosure of each party’s financial picture as of the time of execution of the Agreement.
It is also advised that each party obtain his or her own legal representation when drafting a prenuptial agreement to insure that each party is fully and fairly advised as to the consequences of entering the Agreement. Such a prenuptial agreement is more likely to be upheld in the event of a divorce than if there were not separate lawyers involved.
A postnuptial agreement is very similar to a prenuptial agreement in that it is a contract between two people that typically covers a variety of financial related topics and sets forth the right that each party has to the other’s property throughout marriage and in the event of a divorce or death. These topics may include:
· Property division
· Wills and estate planning
· Alimony and financial support
· Personal rights and obligations
Married couples often decide to make a postnuptial agreement in attempt to alleviate a problem occurring in the marriage, especially financially related disputes, or to address and prevent potential problems in the future. Though not all states recognize postnuptial agreements, the State of Florida allows a couple to make agreements either before or after marriage. If you do not currently have a prenuptial agreement in place, a postnuptial agreement can be an alternative to a prenuptial agreement for couples that are already married.