Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements don’t sound very romantic. However, they can allow couples to reduce financial uncertainty before or after a marriage and focus on other aspects of their relationship.
Let’s face it. A marriage is a legal partnership into which each partner brings debts and assets. No one wants to think about a marriage ending, a separation or a death. But it’s important to think long-term and protect your interests and those of your children.
As more and more Americans wait until later in life to get married, they may have built nest eggs they want to protect. Also, people with children from prior relationships use prenuptial agreements to protect their children’s inheritance rights. More couples are deciding together before a wedding what will happen to their property and debts if their marriage ends.
A prenuptial agreement (prenup) is a written agreement signed voluntarily by both partners prior to a marriage. It helps protect the assets you’ve acquired while you were single and separates them from the marital assets in the event of a divorce. Verbal promises will not be recognized by a court in the event of death or divorce.
A prenup can also include instructions for the division of marital property, payment of spousal support or how attorney fees would be allocated.
A separate attorney for each party can make the process of discussing these types of agreements more comfortable. They can also negotiate any sticking points. This is so much easier to do when you are blissfully in love than during a difficult divorce.
Prenuptial agreements can be revoked or amended after a marriage takes place if both parties agree and file a new document.
Indiana is one of the states that has adopted the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (UPAA) which is a set of guidelines judges use to determine if a prenup will be enforced. Again, all valid Indiana prenups must be in writing and signed by both spouses.
A postnuptial agreement (postnup) is created after a marriage takes place, and a divorce is contemplated, whether filed or not. The post-nup is created in accordance with the parties’ wish to reconcile, but define the boundaries should a dissolution take place in the future. A post-nup has a similar effect as the prenuptial agreement. It’s meant to keep certain assets protected and out of the marital estate. It can also help determine the division of assets.
Like prenups, postnuptial agreements must be in writing, signed and witnessed.
What can’t these agreements do?
Pre and postnuptial agreements cannot determine child support or child custody in Indiana. The State says that all parents have a legal and moral obligation to support their children. That obligation can’t be contracted away in an agreement.
The right to child support actually belongs to the child and neither parent has the right to agree that the other does not need to pay child support or set the amount.
Custody is based on what is in a child’s best interests at the time of divorce or separation. Circumstances can change, so parents can’t agree on custody before they marry or before a child is born.
Still not sure if a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement is right for you? Contact Family Law Attorney Mary Foley Panszi for a consultation. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 317-732-1500.
- Posted by Mary Foley Panszi
- On July 21, 2017
- 0 Comments