Should You Get a Pennsylvania Postnuptial Agreement?
Only about 15% of newlyweds sign prenuptial agreements, and postnuptial agreements are even more overlooked. Though this type of marital contract isn’t common, it’s still very useful. To see whether or not a postnuptial agreement is right for you, it’s helpful to learn a little more about how they work in Pennsylvania.
What Is a Postnuptial Agreement?
A postnuptial agreement is any type of marital contract that two spouses sign after they have wed. Often called “a postnup” for short, these contracts let you determine how marriage or divorce will affect your financial assets. Depending on the type of postnuptial agreement you sign, it might discuss the following topics:
- What property is marital property and what is separate property
- How much maintenance or allowance each spouse gets from joint marital bank accounts
- Who gets certain items in the event of a death or divorce
- Which party pays for extra expenses like children’s college
Unlike a prenuptial agreement, you can sign a postnuptial agreement at any time. Many people draft them after major life changes like quitting a job, starting a business, or having a child. If desired, you can also create one simply because you forgot to do a prenup and would like to define your finances a little more clearly.
Benefits of Postnuptial Agreements
The main benefit of a postnuptial agreement is that it clears up any potential disagreements that could arise in the event of a divorce. With a postnup in place, people are less likely to bicker about asset division once strong emotions are involved. It can reduce your need for divorce lawyers and ensure that you spend less time in divorce court.
Some couples start discussing postnuptial agreements because they’re considering splitting up, but sometimes, it is simply a safety measure. For example, if a person starts a business, their business partner might ask them to sign a postnup to ensure that their spouse won’t get involved in the business if a divorce happens.
Another advantage of getting a postnup in Pennsylvania is its flexibility. When you create a prenup, you still have a lot of major life events ahead of you. However, since a postnuptial agreement doesn’t have to be signed before a wedding, it can more easily accommodate big changes. For example, if a couple unexpectedly inherits a number of family heirlooms years into the marriage, a postnup can ensure the heirlooms remain with the right side of the family. You can easily change and adjust postnuptial agreements to account for things like new children or a big real estate purchase.
How to Create a Valid Postnup in Pennsylvania
Postnuptial agreements in Pennsylvania are a little different than postnups or prenups in other parts of the country. Instead of seeing them as their own separate type of contract with unique rules, Pennsylvania mostly just treats postnups like a straightforward contract. Even things like an unfair division of assets are allowed in Pennsylvania postnups. As long as it is written out, signed by both spouses, and notarized, it’s a valid marital contract.
The main thing to keep in mind is just that the contract cannot be signed under fraudulent circumstances or duress. Furthermore, it cannot determine things like child support and custody, which will be left up to the state in the event of a divorce. The final thing to know is that postnups cannot include unenforceable clauses about a person’s right to bodily autonomy and personal freedom, so you can’t use it to determine things like what religion you follow or who does the dishes each night.
If you’re considering a postnuptial agreement, turn to the Law Office of Joanne Kleiner. In addition to postnups and prenups, we also provide assistance with other family law matters like child custody, spousal support, and divorce mediation. To learn more about our services or hire a Jenkintown divorce lawyer, call 215-886-1266 or fill out our contact form.