You have probably heard of a prenuptial or premarital agreement which engaged couples use to establish their rights and responsibilities for property and debt that each is bringing into the marriage. These agreements allow engaged couples to determine how their property and debt will be divided if they divorce or one of them dies after marriage. But what if you are already married and want such an agreement?
Indiana law allows married couples to enter agreements similar to prenuptials in certain circumstances. These agreements are called postnuptial agreements. Originally a postnuptial agreement was only valid if one of the spouses in a marriage had already filed in court for legal separation or divorce. Spouses already in the process of a divorce or separation could sign a postnuptial agreement in order to settle financial differences as a part of reconciliation of their marriage. Dismissing the divorce or legal separation would be a requirement of these agreements, which are sometimes called “reconciliation agreements”.
Changes in Indiana law have allowed couples to use postnuptial agreements even if they have not filed for legal separation or divorce. If a married couple uses a postnuptial agreement to reconcile a marriage which would have ended without the agreement, there is no requirement that one of the spouses actually file for legal separation or divorce. This can help a couple whose disagreements are about money or property. If the disagreement is severe enough that it would end the marriage, the parties can solve the disagreement with a contract that sets their legal rights and responsibilities about the money or property issue that has caused the marriage to falter.
It is wise to ask a lawyer to help write a postnuptial agreement to make sure it meets the legal requirements and will be enforceable. Call Wanzer Edwards for a consultation about your postnuptial questions.