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Are postnuptial agreements as effective as prenuptial agreements?

Not all couples spend months planning their weddings and their lives together. Some Texas couples may be so exhilarated by the anticipation of getting married that they neglect to discuss important issues, such as the financial status of each spouse. Once the excitement of the honeymoon is over, they may recognize that some matters have been left unattended. While couples who planned their weddings ahead of time may have addressed these issues in prenuptial agreements, impulsive couples may find comfort in learning that state laws allow married couples to sign postnuptial agreements.

A postnuptial agreement is a contract signed by married spouses that indicates the financial obligations and rights of each party if a divorce or death occurs. Circumstances that may lead to couples drafting postnuptial agreements include when marital differences are experienced, and spouses may want to have their respective interests protected. A mental illness or addiction may only become evident after the wedding day, and a concerned spouse may want to ensure future financial security for him or her and any children there may be -- from the current or a previous marriage.

When a prenuptial agreement is executed, it may be based on many unknowns and prior to any financial obligations to each other. Drafting a postnuptial agreement can address known issues and eventualities that could not have been anticipated before the marriage. Other, more positive motivations for postnuptial agreements include one spouse receiving an inheritance, starting a new business or acquiring interests in investments. A postnuptial agreement can ensure those assets go to the intended people upon death or divorce. Some couples have found that signing such an agreement has encouraged ongoing communication about finances and even alleviated financial disputes that threatened their marriages. 

In Texas, the requirements for postnuptial agreements to be enforceable are similar to those for prenuptial agreements. Both parties must have entered into the agreement voluntarily, it must be fair, and disclosure of income, assets and liabilities must be accurate and complete. Furthermore, the respective attorneys of the spouses must have been present during the negotiation of the contract. The services of experienced attorneys are invaluable during such negotiations to ensure all issues are addressed in an appropriate manner.

Source: wealthmanagement.com, "A Potential Alternative to Divorce", Lois Liberman, Aug. 10, 2015

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Vernier & Associates, PLLC Vernier & Associates, PLLC

Vernier & Associates, PLLC
2441 High Timbers Drive Suite 110
The Woodlands, TX 77380

Phone: 281-882-3271
Fax: 832-585-0955

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