Can I Write My Own Postnuptial Agreement?
Posted in Prenuptial Agreements on March 5, 2023
A postnuptial agreement, commonly called a postnup, is a legal contract outlining how assets and debt are allocated in divorce. It is created after a couple is married to define the rights and obligations of both partners if they were to separate or divorce. While it is entirely possible to construct your own postnuptial agreement, it is not typically recommended.
There are pros and cons to writing your own postnup and why you might benefit from an attorney’s input.
Why You May Want to Write Your Own Postnuptial Agreement
One of the main benefits of drawing up your own postnup is saving money. You can avoid the expense of hiring an attorney if you are both comfortable with the terms of the agreement and the legal language that is necessary to make it clear. You can tailor it to fit your specific needs and modify it later if you deem it necessary.
Reasons to Avoid Writing Your Own Postnup
There are risks to writing your own prenup. The biggest is making mistakes that void the document and make it impossible to enforce. Postnups have particular legal requirements with which they must comply, and these requirements are listed below:
- The postnup must be voluntarily entered into by each spouse. Neither should feel pressured or coerced into signing the agreement.
- Each spouse must offer full disclosure of their assets and liabilities. Providing accurate lists of their property, bank accounts, retirement, and investment accounts, as well as a complete listing of their debts and financial responsibilities.
- Postnuptial agreement terms must be appropriate and fair for both spouses. To be legal, it must not favor one spouse above the other.
- Consideration, meaning that each spouse gives up or agrees to in order to secure their spouse’s agreement to the postnup’s terms
- The postnuptial agreement must be made in writing, signed by both spouses, and notarized. It is a good idea for them to have separate attorneys who will look over the agreement for them.
- Postnuptial agreements must agree with acceptable public policy. For instance, a postnup that attempts to avoid child support is not likely to be enforceable.
You could face a disadvantage by drafting your own postnup if you make mistakes that void the document or make it illegal to enforce. They must be voluntarily entered into, meet appropriate legal requirements, and include full disclosure of the finances of each partner. A postnup lacking any of this can be deemed unenforceable by the court.
Seeking Legal Assitance with Your Postnup
There are several benefits to using a lawyer when drawing up a postnup. Listed below are some of these benefits:
- Experience and legal acumen are crucial to drawing up a prenuptial agreement that will hold up in court.
- Your rights are protected because a lawyer will understand any vulnerabilities that need to be provided for and will ensure your best interests are secure.
- More amicable agreements through a neutral third party
- If you and your spouse had a prenuptial agreement and need to revise it, your attorney can review it and make the type of amendments that fit your current financial situation.
Paying for Legal Expertise Now Can Mean Spending Less in the Future
When making the decision to draw up a postnup yourself, you are likely considering the money you can save in attorney’s fees. It is important to note that while you may be saving money immediately, this could cost you more in the long run. One wrong move, and your postnup is unenforceable.
Secure your financial future by speaking to an attorney with Ratzer | Dobis about the goals you have for your postnuptial agreement.