Take Control Blog

The Postnuptial Agreement

Starting out in Argentina as newlyweds, Alejandro and Teresa did not have a penny to their names as they made their way to the U.S. Alejandro as a computer programmer and Teresa as a junior bank executive, both with multi-national employers, shared a promising future. Approaching their 25 year wedding anniversary, everything was wonderful–lots of love, two kids, pension plans, money in the bank and a good lifestyle.

But something started to change a couple of years ago. Alejandro abruptly decided to quit his good paying job to start a business. Much to Teresa’s objections, Alejandro began using their savings to fund his start-up. Typical of such long-term marriages, all the couple’s assets were comingled, with each spouse having access to the funds available.

Such a situation is not uncommon. Young couples with not much in terms of assets and little focused on the future see no purpose for a prenuptial agreement. However, the passage of time can change the married couple’s financial circumstances, to the point that one or the other spouse may regret not signing a prenuptial agreement.

In cases such as these, a postnuptial agreement maybe the solution. Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are very similar in nature, but postnuptial agreements can be executed at any time after a couple is married. Many assets become marital property after the “I do” is spoken. A prenuptial agreement stipulates how marital assets and future earnings will be distributed, be it due to divorce or some other life-altering event.

In the case of divorce, both prenuptial and postnuptial agreements can be enforceable. However, some experts believe that prenuptial agreements tend to be the more clear-cut of the two. Still if no prenuptial agreement was signed, a postnuptial agreement is much better than no agreement at all.

Rightly so, Teresa is very concerned about her future and that of their two children. While divorce is on Teresa’s mind, it’s not really an option. Still, Teresa desperately wants to protect whatever assets they have left. Teresa also sees no hope for Alejandro’s plans and wants to force the issue of winding down the business and getting back to work. With this in mind, Teresa recently retained an attorney in order to author a postnuptial agreement.

Do you want to protect your future income? Do you want to control what assets your spouse can access? Do you want to manage how the appreciation of your non-marital assets, such as a business, is handled? As a married couple without a prenuptial agreement in place, considering a postnuptial agreement might be a good idea. Of course, keep in mind that your spouse must agree to the agreement.