Our Postnuptial Agreement Attorney Team Will Guide and Represent You in Drafting a Postnuptial Agreement to Protect Assets for Both You and Your Spouse If You Are Already Married in Indiana or Michigan.
Why You Should Speak With a Postnuptial Agreements Attorney to Protect Yourself and Your Spouse
A postnuptial agreement may be the solution you are seeking if you are wondering, “Can you sign a prenup after marriage?” A postnuptial agreement is a legal contract between already-married spouses that outlines how assets and liabilities would be divided in the event of a divorce or death. A layman’s postnuptial agreement definition is similar to a prenuptial agreement, with the main difference being that both spouses enter it after marriage. A postnuptial agreement can anticipate or address emerging issues and strengthen a marriage by clarifying shared expectations, making it an effective means for spouses to protect themselves and each other. Many married couples find that working closely with a postnuptial agreements attorney can be a practical step for financial planning and reducing potential disputes in the future — providing peace of mind and control over their assets.
Married couples may pursue a postnup soon after they wed or wait much longer to formally address these considerations — in anticipation of or in response to emerging issues. A postnuptial agreement is inappropriate for couples that believe a divorce is imminent, but it can address asset and liability issues while the spouses also seek to manage their ongoing spousal relationship.
There are several reasons to work with an experienced postnuptial agreement attorney:
- Legal Knowledge: Laws regarding postnuptial agreements can be complex. An attorney can ensure your agreement complies with state law and court guidelines.
- Full Disclosure: An attorney can ensure that both parties fully disclose their assets and liabilities. This disclosure is critical because an agreement can be invalidated if one party doesn’t fully disclose their financial situation.
- Fairness: An attorney can help ensure the agreement is fair and reasonable. An agreement may not be upheld in court if a judge determines that the agreement is unconscionable or highly unfair to one party.
- Complex Assets: If you or your spouse have complex assets — such as a business or investment properties — an attorney can help you properly address these in the agreement.
- Protection of Interests: Each spouse should have their own attorney to protect their interests and prevent coercion or unfairness claims.
- Changes in Circumstances: If significant changes occur in your financial situation — such as a substantial increase in income, inheritance, or the start of a new business — an attorney can help you update your agreement to reflect these changes.
A postnuptial agreement is a proactive way to manage your financial future together. It’s not about mistrust or anticipating divorce but rather about working together to create a financial plan that is fair and mutually beneficial. Call LaBre Law Office today to schedule a consultation so we can discuss your unique goals.
Assets to Include in a Postnuptial Agreement
There are a variety of assets that you should consider when drafting a postnuptial agreement:
- Real Estate Property: This includes your marital home and any vacation properties, rental properties, or land owned by either or both spouses.
- Business Ownership: If one or both spouses own a business, it’s crucial to define how business interests will be handled in the event of a divorce.
- Investments: This encompasses stocks, bonds, mutual funds, retirement accounts, and other investments.
- Bank Accounts: This includes joint and separate checking and savings accounts.
- Personal Property: Vehicles, furniture, jewelry, art, and other valuable items should be addressed in a postnuptial agreement.
- Inheritances: While they are typically considered separate property, it is still wise to include provisions about inheritances in your postnuptial agreement — especially if they’ve been commingled with marital assets.
- Debts: The postnuptial agreement should clearly outline who is responsible for existing debts and how future debts will be handled.
- Future Assets: If a spouse expects to receive significant assets in the future, such as a business profit or an inheritance, these potential assets should be addressed in your postnuptial agreement.
- Retirement Benefits and/or Pensions: These can be substantial assets that should be included in the postnuptial agreement.
- Intellectual Property: This can include patents, copyrights, or royalties from published works.
Every couple’s financial situation is unique, so it’s important to consult with a knowledgeable postnuptial agreements attorney to ensure all relevant assets are addressed in your postnuptial agreement.
What Cannot Be Included in a Postnuptial Agreement?
While a postnuptial agreement in Michigan can encompass a wide range of financial matters, certain things cannot be included. The following types of assets or decisions typically cannot be included in a postnuptial agreement:
- Child Custody and Parenting Time: The court has the final say in matters related to child custody and parenting time based on the interests of the child. A postnuptial agreement cannot predetermine these issues.
- Child Support: Child support obligations cannot be waived or predetermined in a postnuptial agreement. These decisions are made by the court, based on statutory guidelines and the interests of the child.
- Illegal Activities: Any provisions encouraging illegal activities would not be enforceable.
- Personal Non-Financial Matters: Personal matters such as household chores, frequency of visits to in-laws, or other non-financial matters are generally not enforceable in a postnuptial agreement.
- Spousal Support Waivers: While some states may allow waivers of spousal support (alimony) in prenuptial or postnuptial agreements, courts in Michigan have the discretion to decide whether such waivers are enforceable. It’s essential to consult with an attorney about this issue.
- Future Income: While you can decide how to divide current assets and debts, you cannot predetermine the division of future income or assets that are not yet known or acquired. (This is distinct from interests and earnings related to specific business endeavors, which can be addressed in a postnuptial agreement.)
While many postnuptial agreements are prepared when a marriage may be in trouble due to several interacting dynamics and changing factors in a relationship, a postnup cannot encourage divorce. Postnuptial agreements are not for couples intending to divorce, as individuals in such a situation should instead be working with a divorce attorney to assess their appropriate next steps.
Anticipating or Responding to Emerging Changes in Circumstances with a Postnuptial Agreement
Some conflicts, scenarios, and financial circumstances can be anticipated or mitigated by properly planning with a postnuptial agreement:
- Changes in Income: If one spouse experiences a significant increase or decrease in income, a postnuptial agreement can outline how this will affect the couple’s financial obligations and asset division in the event of a divorce.
- Inheritance: If one spouse inherits substantial assets during the marriage, a postnuptial agreement can specify whether these will remain separate property or become part of the marital estate.
- Business Ownership: If one spouse starts a business during the marriage, a postnuptial agreement can protect the other spouse from potential business liabilities and define how the business would be valued and divided upon divorce.
- Investments: If a spouse makes a significant investment, such as purchasing real estate or buying into a business, a postnuptial agreement can determine how to handle it in the event of a divorce.
- Liabilities Specific to Hobbies or Projects: If one spouse takes on a hobby or project that could potentially incur significant debt or liability (for example, restoring classic cars or investing in a high-risk venture), a postnuptial agreement can protect the other spouse from these liabilities.
- Future Earnings/Potential: If one spouse has a significant potential for future earnings (for example, if they’re about to publish a book, launch a startup, etc.), a postnuptial agreement can address how these future earnings will be treated.
Protecting Children from a Previous Relationship with a Postnup
There is a risk that children you had before your current marriage could be left out of inheritance if you do not plan appropriately by incorporating a postnuptial agreement or coordinated estate planning means such as a will or trust to ensure particular assets are to be set apart and reserved for them upon given conditions. Consider the following factors when creating a postnuptial agreement to protect children from a previous marriage or relationship:
- How Assets Were Acquired and Will Be Divided: If assets were acquired before the current marriage, they are typically considered separate property. However, if they’ve been commingled with marital assets, they may be treated as marital property. A postnuptial agreement can specify that these assets should go to your children in the event of a divorce or death.
- Current Marriage and Threats to Children’s Inheritance: If you acquire significant assets during your current marriage, those could potentially go to your current spouse in the event of a divorce or death rather than to your children. A postnuptial agreement can specify how these assets should be divided.
- Securing Assets for Your Children’s Future: A postnuptial agreement can ensure the setting aside of certain assets for your children’s future needs, such as their education or other expenses.
Shielding Yourself or Your Spouse with a Postnup
At times, the unforeseen expenses or financial risks linked to a partner’s hobbies, habits, businesses, or projects can jeopardize the assets or interests of their spouse. A postnuptial agreement provides a means for married couples to establish clear distinctions between separate property and marital property, and it allows for the specification that any debts or liabilities incurred by one spouse due to their personal endeavors will be solely their responsibility.
Both spouses can approach a postnuptial agreement in a caring spirit and consider it an opportunity to shield themselves and their spouse from these issues and conflicts.
What To Do If You Need to Modify, Revoke, or Contest a Postnuptial Agreement
Modifying, revoking, or contesting a postnuptial agreement in Michigan involves specific steps and considerations. Here’s a brief overview:
Modification of a Postnuptial Agreement
Both parties must agree to any changes in the postnuptial agreement. Both spouses need to have these changes reviewed by independent legal counsel and properly documented to ensure they’re legally binding.
Revocation of a Postnuptial Agreement
If both parties decide they no longer want the agreement to be in effect, they can revoke it. Revocation usually requires creating a written agreement explicitly stating the intent to revoke the postnuptial agreement. Both parties should sign this document in the presence of their respective attorneys.
Contesting a Postnuptial Agreement
Contesting a postnuptial agreement is more complex. The challenging party must prove in court that the agreement is invalid. Grounds for contesting might include:
- Coercion or Duress: If one party was pressured or forced into signing the agreement, it may be deemed invalid.
- Fraud or Misrepresentation: If one party was dishonest about their assets or liabilities, the agreement could be contested.
- Unconscionability: If the agreement is highly unfair or one-sided, a court may choose not to enforce it.
- Lack of Independent Legal Counsel: If one or both parties didn’t have their own attorney during the creation of the agreement, it may be contested.
Contesting a postnuptial agreement can be a complex and potentially contentious process. You should work with an experienced postnuptial attorney if you’re considering this course of action.
A Postnuptial Agreement is a Way to Solve Issues You Did Not Address or Anticipate with a Prenuptial Agreement
A postnuptial agreement is a valuable tool for addressing issues that a couple may not have anticipated before marriage, or even issues they didn’t foresee when drafting a prenuptial agreement. Marriage is a dynamic journey, and circumstances can significantly change over time.
A postnuptial agreement allows couples to adapt to these changes and unforeseen situations in a way that respects both parties’ interests. It proactively provides a flexible framework for dealing with these new circumstances, helping to prevent potential disputes down the line and often contributing to a more secure and harmonious marriage.
Contact LaBre Law Office to Discuss How a Postnuptial Agreement Can Protect You, Your Spouse, and Your Assets If You Are Already Married
It is important for both spouses in a marriage to maintain a shared understanding of their goals for their assets. A postnuptial agreement is a great way to assess and plan for these concerns, whether or not you had previously considered them before you wed or at earlier times during your marriage.
At LaBre Law Office, our postnuptial agreement lawyer team can guide you through the steps to protect your interests in a fair and appropriate way for both spouses and your family. Postnups are proactive tools for addressing asset interests and concerns in the context of your continuing spousal relationship; they aim to responsibly prepare for a divorce contingency without encouraging it. We can help you throughout the “Michiana” area, as we are licensed on both sides of the Michigan-Indiana border.
Contact LaBre Law Office today to schedule a consultation. We will discuss your concerns and goals regarding assets and surrounding factors to begin planning for your postnuptial agreement needs.
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