When you fall in love and decide to marry your partner, the last thing you’re probably thinking about is protecting your assets should the marriage fail. Later, however, you may wonder, “Can I get a prenup after I’m already married?”
Once you are married, you can no longer get a prenuptial agreement, which, as the name states, occurs before nuptials take place. On the other hand, you still have an option that will allow you to protect your assets and your future: a postnuptial agreement. At O’Mara Law Group, you can work with an experienced Orlando postnuptial agreement lawyer to learn more about how to best protect your assets, even if you are already married.
Can You Get a Prenup After Marriage?
A prenuptial agreement is a contract entered into by each partner before the marriage that determines the disposition of property, debts, and alimony if the couple gets divorced. It helps protect assets that either party owned before the marriage, including:
A prenuptial agreement, by its nature, occurs before the marriage takes place and generally lasts the duration of the marriage. Prenuptial agreements are not just for the wealthy. There are many reasons to get a prenuptial agreement, including any concern over protecting your assets so that you do not have to worry about unfair distribution after divorce.
You have the right to enter into a similar contract, known as a postnuptial agreement, at any point in your marriage, regardless of how long you have been married.
What is a Postnuptial Agreement?
A postnuptial agreement, like a prenup, outlines the division of financial assets and each partner’s property rights if the couple gets divorced. It is a voluntary arrangement, which means neither party can be coerced or forced into the agreement, and the terms are generally designed to protect both parties rather than offering a one-sided agreement that only fits the needs of one spouse.
How Long After Marriage Can You Get a Postnuptial Agreement?
You can get a postnuptial agreement at any point after your marriage. An Orlando postnuptial agreement lawyer can help you draw up a fair, enforceable agreement that lays out the terms of asset division.
Reasons to Consider a Postnup
Parties with considerable assets entering into marriage may have already considered the need for a prenup and even had one drawn up. However, as your marriage goes on, you may run into several scenarios that trigger the need for a different discussion.
1. You and Your Spouse Have More Children
If either or both spouses have children from a previous relationship, the marriage could affect their financial situation, especially if the marriage produces additional children. A postnuptial agreement can protect all the children’s property rights and delineate the assets each is entitled to in the event of a divorce.
Postnuptial agreements may also address the distribution of property if one or both spouses die. Instead of wondering whether your spouse will fairly distribute your assets or hoping your family will handle it reasonably if you both pass away, you may want to draw up a postnup.
2. You Discover Your Spouse's Reckless Spending Habits
Reckless spending, including gambling addiction or reckless shopping, can raise concerns about the liability you might take on if you and your spouse split up. A postnuptial agreement can lay out who bears liability for specific debts and expenses in case of divorce, protecting you from the costly debt created by your spouse.
3. You Own Your Own Company
If you own your own company, you want to protect that asset. You have put your time, money, and energy into building that enterprise. Your spouse may have contributed little or not have the resources to run that company without you, including state licenses. However, without a postnuptial agreement, a divorce could allow your spouse to walk away with part of the company.
4. You or Your Spouse Have Received a Significant Inheritance
Receiving an inheritance can change your financial status significantly. An inheritance does not count as a marital asset in Florida. However, you may use those funds to purchase property or support endeavors that are marital assets, including a marital home. A postnuptial agreement can protect those assets.
5. You Bring Considerable Wealth to the Marriage
If you enter into a marriage with considerable assets, you may want to take steps to ensure that you can protect them. If you did not draw up a prenup before your marriage, you might want to draw up a postnup afterward.
In addition, you can create a postnuptial agreement at any point in your marriage simply because you and your spouse decide you want one.
Do You Need a Lawyer to Create a Postnuptial Agreement?
Having a lawyer ensures that your postnuptial agreement is enforceable. A lawyer can do the following:
Help Navigate the Elements Required for a Postnup
By working with a lawyer, you can feel confident that your postnuptial agreement includes all the elements necessary to be legally binding, including ensuring that both spouses enter the agreement willingly and without coercion.
An Orlando postnuptial agreement lawyer can also lay out all of the factors you may need to consider as part of a postnup, including any asset changes that have occurred since your marriage began, assets you brought into the marriage, or people, including minor children, you want to protect.
Make Sure Your Postnup is Legal
A legal postnup includes all the elements necessary to protect your agreement in the event of a divorce, including your signatures and full disclosure of all your assets, debts, and income. You also need to ensure that your postnup is in writing—not just a verbal agreement—and is notarized. A lawyer can ensure you do not miss any vital steps as you draft and sign your postnup.
An Orlando divorce lawyer can help you develop a full accounting of your or your spouse’s expected financial situations after divorce and advocate for your interests.
Trust in an Experienced Family Attorney
At O’Mara Law Group, we have the experience you need to draw up a fair, legally enforceable postnuptial agreement that will protect both you and your spouse in the event of a divorce.
Mark O’Mara is certified in criminal trial and marital and family law. He has taught numerous seminars, including ones for the Florida Family Law Practice for Paralegals Program. Cathleen Winter has been recognized by the American Institute of Family Law Attorneys for outstanding and exceptional client service and has been listed as a Super Lawyers Florida Rising Star for several years.
Our attorneys have the skills and knowledge necessary to help with all your family law needs, whether you need an Orlando postnuptial agreement lawyer or a divorce lawyer. Schedule a consultation today to learn more.