Postnuptial agreements function similarly to prenuptial agreements in that both are contracts used to formally outline and express the couple’s intentions for important issues that may arise during the marriage. Often, people consider postnuptial agreements primarily as a legal contract used to express how assets ought to be divided in a potential divorce.
While this is certainly one reason to enter into a postnuptial agreement, there are many other reasons a married couple ought to consider a postnuptial agreement. Here are two of the most important reasons a happily married couple ought to consider creating a postnuptial agreement.
A Postnuptial Agreement Serves As a Valuable Estate Planning Tool in Florida
As most married couples already know, marriage changes life in a myriad of unexpected ways, both good and bad. Unforeseen challenges (health issues, the loss of a job, etc.) and some of life’s greatest moments (children, career promotions, etc.) can change a couple’s legal planning dramatically.
Postnuptial agreements are uniquely suited to address these changes. For example, if a couple’s wealth increases markedly, a postnuptial agreement may be useful to update a pre-existing prenuptial agreement. The greatest benefit of postnuptial agreements for estate planning, however, is arguably the ability to address how property division and providing financial care to children should be handled if one spouse passes away unexpectedly.
For example, current Florida law requires that spouses must receive the elective share of a deceased spouse’s assets ( a legal concept known as the “elective share”). Creating a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement is the only way a spouse may waive their right to this elective share, according to Section 732.702 of The 2018 Florida Statutes.
Waiving this right may be particularly valuable for married couples who are quite happy in a second marriage, yet their primary desire is for the estate to be fully inherited by children from one spouse’s prior relationship or marriage.
Postnuptial Agreements Protect Business Interests
Suppose a couple is happily married, with one spouse inheriting a business from a relative during the marriage. On occasion, the business owner may decide to pass on the family business only if the couple creates a postnuptial agreement. The reason for this is that the older family member who owns the business does not want to pass the business to their relative only to see the business destroyed in divorce.
As such, the “older generation” may require the couple to sign off on the business valuation and treat the business as separate property via postnuptial agreement. Effectively, postnuptial agreements can keep divorce in mind and protect business assets even when the couple themselves have no intention of divorcing whatsoever.
This final point serves as a reminder that, yes, postnuptial agreements are still an important way to safeguard specific assets in a divorce as well. As an equitable distribution state, Florida provides for an equitable distribution of assets in a divorce, unless a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement expressly provides otherwise.
Contact The McKinney Law Group to learn more about postnuptial agreements and whether they will benefit your Florida marriage.
If you have questions for a Tampa divorce lawyer, or are unaware of the terms and conditions of a Tampa divorce, talk to, and retain, a family law attorney who can help. Contact Damien McKinney of The McKinney Law Group to discuss your case further. He can be reached by phone at 813-428-3400 or by e-mail at [email protected]