Couple discussing a Postnuptial Agreement

Decoding Postnuptial Agreements: Understanding Their Purpose and Benefits

In News by YKF Law

With a wedding comes moments of bliss that the newlyweds will remember for their entire lives. An evening surrounded by loved ones, celebrating the marriage is unlike any other feeling. Though a wedding is beautiful and emotions run high, the reality of married life often hits as the couple adjusts to sharing life as a married couple.

It’s common to feel a sense of shock as you navigate married life. There is so much to adjust to, from sharing a home with your spouse to adapting to their traditions and schedule to navigating finances post-wedding. It can often feel overwhelming to adjust to these changes, which is why some couples will consider getting a postnuptial agreement in place.

What exactly is a postnup, and how does it work and differ from a prenup? Keep reading as we discuss what a postnuptial agreement is and what to expect during the process.

What Exactly is a Postnuptial Agreement?

A postnuptial agreement is a legal contract established after a marriage that outlines the rights each spouse is entitled to in the event of a death or divorce. A postnuptial agreement protects each spouse’s assets if the marriage ends or a spouse passes away. Assets like money and property are settled by both individuals in advance, saving them from having to divide the assets should a divorce or death occur. 

If a spouse passes away or the couple decides to divorce and a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement wasn’t established, assets will be divided in a certain way by the courts pursuant to state law. However, when a couple chooses to get a postnuptial agreement, these assets are divided after marriage, before death, or divorce. Postnuptial agreements allow both parties to divide assets to prevent the need for litigation down the road.

Postnuptial agreements often include properties, assets, and debts from both parties. Also included in postnups are the following:

Though assets and properties can be divided before a couple separates, child custody cannot be established before, only after. Litigation will be required for a custody case, and the court will determine the best interest of the child or children.

What’s the Process of a Postnuptial Agreement?

The process of getting a postnuptial agreement is similar to a prenuptial agreement. Both parties can meet with an attorney to establish and sign a postnuptial agreement that specifies how assets, property, and debts will be split should something happen down the road. 

Though the process is a relatively easy one, there are some things to be mindful of – the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (UPAA) and the Uniformed Premarital and Marital Agreements Act (UPMAA). They outline what can be included in a premarital agreement as well as things that make the premarital agreement enforceable and unenforceable. 

Only 28 states have adopted the UPAA/UPMAA. Since Missouri has not adopted the UPAA/UPMAA, you will want to meet with a family law attorney who can help steer you in the right direction and offer legal advice if you have questions.

Why Would a Couple Establish a Postnuptial Agreement?

There can be many reasons a couple chooses to establish a postnuptial agreement after marriage. Perhaps one of the spouses received a sizeable inheritance they want to protect, or one started a new business after marriage that they would like to be protected. Other scenarios could include one spouse beginning to earn a significantly higher income than the other or new property obtained by one spouse that they want to cover. 

Couples may also want to amend a prenuptial agreement during their marriage which would be considered a postnuptial agreement if signed after marriage.

How Does a Postnup Differ from a Prenup?

A postnup differs from a prenup by one simple thing: a postnup is established after a couple marries, whereas a prenup is established before a couple weds. Both a prenup and a postnup cover how assets, property division, and debts will be divided in the event of a death or divorce. The difference being the couple established the contract either before or after marriage. 

How Can I Get a Postnuptial Agreement?

Any couple can get a postnuptial agreement in Missouri, but it needs to be done the right way. Meeting with a family law attorney to discuss your postnuptial terms is the first step in the right direction. They can help guide you through the legal process and help you determine what should be in the postnup. Before signing any postnup, make sure you and your spouse have consulted with a separate lawyer to ensure the agreement is fair and conscionable.

At The Law Office of Young, Kuhl & Frick, LLC, we’ve been providing services for marital contracts, including postnups, for years, with over five decades of combined legal experience. If you are going through any family law matter and are looking for a family law attorney in Kansas City and the surrounding area, we can help. 

We’re dedicated to the practice of family law and can help guide you through any family law matter, keeping your best interests in mind. Our team is skilled in negotiation and litigation, handling family law matters from the most complex to the most straightforward.
Our office is located in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. In addition to our physical location, our firm’s family and divorce attorneys have practiced in Jackson, Clay, Cass, Lafayette, Platte County, Missouri. Contact our family law firm today to schedule a consultation – we can meet in person or face-to-face via Zoom.