What Is a Post-Nuptual Agreement?

A post-nuptual agreement is a private contract between spouses, entered into after marriage, that defines and delineates the division of certain assets in the event of a separation or divorce.

When are they used?

They are most common in marriages in which a significant amount of wealth or independent assets are involved. They can be useful for blended families in which one or both spouses have children from prior relationships whose interests they wish to protect.

Adultery clauses are also popular in post-nuptual agreements. Such a clause outlines the consequence a party will endure, such as alimony or a financial penalty, should it be proven that they committed adultery. For example, the unfaithful spouse could agree to forfeit their equity in the home.

What makes them different from a Pre-Nuptual Agreement?

Pre-nuptual agreements perform the same or similar function, but by their definition, a pre-nuptual agreement is reached prior to the marriage. Pre-nups cannot anticipate the significant changes that can and do occur during the course of a marriage.

Even couples who are still madly in love with each other can experience changes. For example, perhaps over time one of the parties has made a series of poor financial decisions, or taken on a significant amount of debt. Or, perhaps a child of a previous marriage has been identified and a spouse wishes to protect their entitlement through inheritance or otherwise.

These agreements are not common, and may be difficult to enforce, especially if not carefully written. However, for some couples they may be worth pursuing and all couples should at a minimum consider the future in all the decisions they make.

This article is for general information only and is not intended as and does not constitute legal advice or solicitation of a prospective client. It should not be relied on for legal advice in any particular factual circumstance.