When it comes to romance and contracts, it may seem like two things could not be further apart. But, for many couples, pre-nuptial and post-marital agreements are practical tools for protecting both parties’ respective interests. What are circumstances in which post-nuptial agreements could be sought out by couples?
If a couple is reaching a separation point, post-nuptial agreements can be a solution for addressing prior issues or changes in circumstances. These can be used in situations like infidelity, financial impropriety or addiction, among other reasons.
One or both spouses may have separate business interests they seek to protect. Postnuptial agreements can be drafted to protect both spouses’ relative businesses, like if one spouse brings a small business into the marriage or the other creates one during the marriage. It is important to note that one spouse cannot deceive the other regarding the value of the business and expect an agreement crafted under deception to be upheld.
During any length of marriage, it is possible for either spouse to inherit property. Most states like Virginia, have rules meant to protect inherited property acquired during marriage. It can still be beneficial to delineate property contractually.
But, let us say spouse A inherits a house and co-marital funds are used to renovate that home, it becomes more of a grey area. Again, in this hypothetical case, spouse A and spouse B could reach an agreement saying spouse A retains ownership of the home post-divorce and spouse B will be reimbursed contributions to the home if they divorce. You can even craft broader agreements.
These are just two possible reasons people craft post-marital agreements. There is a myriad of other reasons a couple may look into these agreements, and whatever brings you two to the table, you must ensure your agreement is legally enforceable.