The Basics of Postnuptial Agreements

The matters that are typically included in a postnuptial agreement vary depending on the couple. In many cases, though, a couple devises a postnuptial agreement because they want to protect certain assets in case of divorce and divide them the way they see fit, rather than how New York State law may split assets.

According to New York Domestic Relations Law §236(B)(3), your agreement may address possible spousal support (what used to be known as alimony) as well as property division, as courts in Syracuse will recognize an equitable postnuptial agreement as valid, even if it differs from state law on property division. However, any concealment of assets may invalidate the document, as would a scenario in which one spouse receives far more benefits than the other one.

Post-Nuptial Agreement as a Prenuptial Agreement Update

Sometimes, a postnuptial agreement functions essentially as an update to a couple’s prenuptial agreement. Over time, you and your spouse may encounter different circumstances or change your minds about your original “prenup.” In response, you could elect to establish a postnuptial agreement to make matters more equitable.

What Could a Postnuptial Agreement Address?

Additional issues often addressed in postnuptial agreements include:

  • Differentiating between joint and individually held assets
  • Spending of earnings
  • College tuition payments
  • Marital debts and their settlement in a divorce
  • Business disposition after divorce
  • Inherited assets

While inherited assets are the property of the beneficiary, a postnuptial agreement could identify joint usage of such assets during the marriage and address how that might affect future property distribution.

For example, say you and your spouse own your marital home jointly, but one of you inherited a substantial amount of money and paid for a complete renovation, significantly increasing the property’s value. In the event of a divorce, a postnuptial agreement could recognize that one spouse contributed far more than fifty percent to the value of the home. Accordingly, you and your spouse may ultimately split the proceeds of the home’s sale in an equitable way rather than a perfectly equal one.

What Postnuptial Agreements Cannot Do

Postnuptial agreements deal primarily with financial assets and their ownership and distribution. They are not vehicles for deciding child custody or support in the event of divorce, nor are they meant to change a spouse’s behavior. For instance, a postnuptial agreement does not determine who does the shopping or cleans the house.

Talk to a Syracuse Matrimonial Attorney Today

The creation of a postnuptial agreement requires expertise that Tully Rinckey PLLC could offer you. A well-crafted postnuptial agreement may save time, money —and heartache—if a divorce occurs. A badly constructed postnuptial agreement, on the other hand, could be invalidated by a technical error.

Consider hiring a skilled Syracuse matrimonial attorney who could work to ensure your agreement will stand up in court, if and when the time comes. If you would like more information about postnuptial agreements, we are available by phone at (315) 492-4700 or by email at info@tullylegal.com. Call us today to learn how we can help you.

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