Can you protect your assets with a postnuptial agreement?

You met, fell in love, and got married. It seemed like the natural progression of any relationship. But now you’re wondering if you thought everything through.

What happens if things start to fall apart? You have a successful business that’s allowed you to buy your dream car and that weekend lake house you always wanted.

She didn’t bring much into the marriage. She helps you out occasionally at your office, but other than that, does not work. You haven’t been married that long and you’re starting to become concerned that she may have just married you for your money.

Can you protect your assets if you get divorced? You didn’t ask for a prenuptial agreement and now you’re wondering if it’s too late. Maybe a post-nuptial will help, but is it enforceable in New York?

As with many answers to legal questions, it depends. Read below for basic information on postnuptial agreements.

What is a postnuptial agreement?

A postnuptial agreement is a contract that you and your wife enter into after you’re married. In essence, the agreement functions the same way as a prenuptial agreement.

You can include details about property will be divided in the event of a divorce. It can even cover what happens if additional debt is incurred during the divorce process and the terms for spousal support.

Will a postnuptial benefit me?

Since you’re a successful business owner, you have property that you want to protect. A postnuptial agreement can give you sense of security that if the worst happens, you won’t end up broke because of high alimony payments.

Are postnuptial agreements enforceable?

Many people believe that a postnuptial agreement is an ironclad legal contract that is always enforceable in the court.

This is not always the case. The validity of a postnuptial agreement can be disputed in court. For example, if you and your spouse were not represented by different attorneys during the drafting process, the contract can be challenged.

Another reason a court might find the agreement invalid is if it is found that you failed to honestly disclose all of your assets or if you willfully hid assets.

If it becomes clear that you used coercion to pressure your spouse into signing a postnuptial agreement, or if you did not give her enough time to consider the agreement, then the court may choose not to enforce it.

A postnuptial contract that unduly favors you over your spouse, leaving her with nothing, also may be enforced by a New York court.

If you are considering how to best protect your assets after marriage, a postnuptial agreement may be your best option.