Overview of Postnuptial Agreements in Honolulu
How is a postnuptial agreement different from a prenup?
A postnuptial agreement is a written contract executed by a married couple after they have entered into marriage. The postnuptial agreement is designed to settle the couple's affairs and assets in the event of a divorce or death. A postnuptial agreement functions the same as a prenuptial agreement; however, unlike a premarital agreement, the postnuptial agreement is drafted after the marriage has taken place. Much like a prenuptial agreement, the terms of the postnuptial agreement can vary widely, but such marital agreements commonly contain provisions for the division of property and alimony in the event of death or divorce.
In the last several decades postnuptial agreements have increased in popularity and have become widely used by couples all over the country. There are many valid reasons why a couple may consider adopting a postnuptial agreement. For instance, some high-net-worth couples who failed to obtain a prenuptial agreement prior to marriage may later change their mind after determining that they would prefer to have some sort of a financial plan in place in the event of death or divorce.
Another reason why couples might wait is there may be an unanticipated and major change in the financial circumstances of the couple, and this may include a major career change or an inheritance, either of which may change the couple's financial landscape significantly. In cases such as these, a significant life change may warrant the execution of a postnuptial agreement.
In the United States, postnuptial agreements are required to be in writing (oral promises are prohibited and unenforceable), they must be executed voluntarily, there must be a full and fair disclosure at the time of execution, the agreement cannot be unconscionable, and the agreement must be executed by both parties in the manner that deeds are recorded; this is known as an acknowledgement and it must be done before a notary public.
Benefits of a Postnuptial Agreement
As a Honolulu family law attorney, I have personally handled prenuptial and postnuptial agreements over the course of my career. Due to the nature of my work, I am highly involved with the planning process in order to establish the property rights of my clients prior to marriage through a prenuptial agreement and during marriage through a postnuptial agreement. It is surprising how many high-net-worth couples do not properly address these types of issues, and as a family law attorney I have observed the enormous benefits of integrating my clients' estate planning into marital agreements so that my clients can be sure that their rights are protected in the present and in the future.
While there are many reasons why couples choose not to adopt a prenuptial agreement, often times the reasons have to do with a lack of planning, "being too busy," not having the time, or in most cases my clients intended to enter into a premarital agreement, but were unable to do so before the wedding.
Contact a Honolulu Family Lawyer
At Law Office of Steve Cedillos, I represent existing spouses who wish to enter into a postnuptial agreement with their spouse so they can clearly outline the rights of both spouses and the rights of any heirs in the event the marriage ends as the consequence of death or divorce. Additionally, a postnuptial agreement can provide for the immediate transfer of assets between spouses, to their children, or to a trust and frequently in conjunction with the establishment of an estate plan.
There are many benefits to entering into a postnuptial agreement, especially if you own property, have children from a prior marriage, or if your finances otherwise warrant such an agreement. Without a prenuptial agreement in force, should your marriage come to a divorce, your property will be subject the laws of equitable distribution under the state's laws. This means that if you and your spouse cannot agree on dividing your property, then the court will make this decision for you and it may not be in a manner that you would have wanted. To obtain more information about postnuptial agreements in Hawaii, please contact me at my firm to schedule a consultation. I have been in practice as a Honolulu family attorney for more than two decades, so you can rest assured that I am well-equipped to handle your post-nup.