Should You Be Concerned If Your Spouse Wants a Post-Nuptial Agreement?
Most people have heard of pre-nuptial agreements, whereby couples make legal arrangements regarding their respective estates prior to marriage, just in case the marriage ultimately ends in divorce. These types of arrangements are often designed to protect property or an inheritance that one party wishes to walk away with intact instead of splitting as part of marital assets.
You may be less familiar with the concept of post-nuptial agreements, which are entered into after the marriage goes into effect. Why would anyone sign such an agreement after the marriage vows have been spoken? More importantly, why would your spouse ask for a post-nuptial agreement? Should you be worried? Here are a few things you should know.
Different Types of Post-Nuptial Agreement
The first thing you should understand is that there are three main categories post-nuptial agreements fall into. One type of post-nuptial agreement occurs when spouses separate and enter into a written, legal agreement regarding marital assets and debts. For legal purposes, this type of post-nuptial agreement is considered a settlement agreement.
The other two types of post-nuptial agreements are entered into while spouses are still married and living together. The first involves a written agreement regarding inheritance rights and the second revolves around what will happen in the event of a divorce.
The reason you need to understand these categories is that the legal classification could affect whether or not the agreement is enforceable. The first two types of post-nuptial agreements (a settlement agreement or an agreement regarding inheritance) may be enforceable as long as they are valid, fair, and equitable.
The third type, regarding divorce rights, is NOT enforceable in the state of Michigan for the simple fact that such an agreement could encourage divorce. Once a spouse gets his/her partner to sign a post-nuptial related to divorce rights, there’s nothing to stop the divorce from proceeding, except that the courts won’t recognize such agreements as valid.
Why Would Anyone Ask for a Post-Nuptial Agreement?
There are several possible reasons why your spouse might ask for a post-nuptial agreement, and your knee-jerk reaction to this proposition is likely negative. That’s because there are few valid reasons for entering this agreement and giving up rights to marital assets.
If you are separated and planning to divorce, a settlement agreement could help you to come to an amicable agreement. If, however, a couple is still living together, the spouse asking for the post-nuptial is likely trying to get his/her partner to willingly give up the right to marital assets, whether divorce is imminent or not.
What Should You Do if Your Spouse Asks for a Post-Nuptial Agreement?
If your spouse asks you to sign a post-nuptial, you might want to ask if he/she is considering divorce, or at least why he/she thinks you would willingly sign away your legal rights to marital property. A post-nuptial agreement is bound to be contentious, so you need to ask why your spouse would take such a step.
It’s probably a good idea to explore your finances and seek legal assistance. By consulting with the experience attorneys at The Gucciardo Law Firm, you can get information and advice about post-nuptial agreements and figure out how to move forward. Contact us now at 248-723-5190.
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