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Understanding the principles of a postnuptial agreement

When two people enter a marriage, the idea in mind is to be together forever. In reality, however, many Pennsylvania couples will experience a divorce that may end up in contentious litigation over financial assets, children and property. A divorce can often be a tumultuous process, but in truth, it doesn't have to be.

For many, the term "prenuptial agreement" is a familiar, albeit unromantic one. The process of carving out a division of assets in advance can come in handy down the road should things fizzle out. However, for a lot of love-struck pairings, the notion simply doesn't enter their thoughts. For already-married couples that have found themselves in a period of strife, there is fortunately another option, the postnuptial agreement, and it may actually improve a marriage.

What is a postnuptial agreement?

A postnuptial agreement is a contract that a couple enters after a marriage has already taken place. This document can cover such items as:

  • Alimony payment amount
  • A division of assets outside of what is typical of Pennsylvania law
  • "Lifestyle agreements" that seek to prevent behaviors like extramarital affairs

If some of the aforementioned topics tend to sow discord within a marriage, putting a specific plan in writing could potentially lead to a more harmonious union. It could also be valuable in the event that one spouse's financial situation changes significantly after a marriage.

How is such an agreement created?

As with any legal contract, couples interested in drafting a postnuptial agree would be best suited to consult with legal counsel. It's important that each party use their own lawyer, so as to protect their best interests.

Additionally, it's pivotal that a full disclosure of assets takes place, and that neither party is unduly coerced into entering the agreement. When a judge measures the contract's validity during a divorce, they will be looking to ensure that everything is on the up and up.

A postnuptial agreement may not be a positive solution for all couples, but for those who feel as though they've tried everything else it may grant some peace of mind.

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