Prenuptial agreements are more popular and better understood compared to postnuptial agreements. Many things change when people get married, which might create a need for a postnuptial agreement. The critical difference between the two is the timing. Postnups come after the union is officiated, while prenups are made beforehand.

A postnup can be challenging to enforce, especially if it does not adhere to specific requirements. Skilled family lawyers in the Tri-Cities can review any existing marital agreement and advise on whether it could be acceptable in a Washington State court.

What Kinds of Postnups are Acceptable in Court?

Some postnuptial agreements are not upheld in divorce because it is believed that married couples might not have as much bargaining power as they do before they say “I do.” But in some instances, the court accepts these kinds of agreements. Your postnup could be accepted if:

  • It was entered into voluntarily
  • It abides by the local laws
  • Its terms are fair
  • Each spouse had full knowledge of their rights
  • Each spouse received advice from an independent counsel
  • There was full disclosure of the value, character, and amount of each spouse’s assets
  • There is a reasonable provision for the spouse that is not seeking enforcement of the postnuptial agreement

A knowledgeable divorce attorney in Tri-Cities can look at your postnuptial agreement and advise on the likeliness of acceptance in court. If they doubt it, they could tell you about other options worth exploring in Washington State.

Which Postnup Agreements are Unacceptable in Divorce?

An outrightly unfair agreement might not be upheld in a Washington court. For instance, it would be unjust for the spouse with substantial assets to draft the deal through their attorney. Worse if it provides nothing for the other spouse in a divorce, and if the other spouse doesn’t get a chance to review it beforehand.

An experienced divorce attorney in Tri-Cities can tell a possibly unacceptable postnuptial agreement when they see one. They could advise on alternatives such as mediation that could accelerate the divorce process. If you can agree on the contentious issues reasonably and acceptably, the proceedings might go faster than when you disagree on most aspects.

What Aspects Make Postnuptial Agreements Unreasonable?

A postnuptial agreement might have met all other requirements of an enforceable document, but some aspects could make it difficult to enforce. The marital agreement can be thrown out if:

  • There is a provision regarding child custody
  • The amount of child support is too low and might negatively impact their well-being
  • It has a condition that denies one spouse support might render them dependent on the state
  • Some requirements are against public policies

Notably, the child’s best interest overrides any marital agreement that might have been entered into. For example, the court cannot award custody to an unfit parent simply because it was agreed in the postnuptial agreement. Similarly, the judge might not leave one spouse destitute just because the couple decided that no one gets alimony in case of divorce.

What Factors Should a Postnup Cover?

Knowing what should be included in a marital agreement can help you counter-check the document for enforceability. The formal agreement should talk about:

  • Financial resources to be awarded to the spouse that stops working to care for the children
  • Ways to financially protect a spouse if they get a financial windfall in the form of lottery winnings, inheritance, or significant salary bump
  • Combating a continuously financially irresponsible spouse, e.g., a chronic gambler or a repeat DUI
  • Protecting the inheritance property of children from previous relationships or marriages and making sure certain assets pass on to them
  • Each spouse’s wishes on the division of various property

A postnuptial agreement that reasonably covers the above aspects can readily be accepted in court. If you are unsure what should be included in the agreement, consider consulting with a skilled postnuptial attorney in Tri-Cities, WA.

How Much Does a Postnuptial Agreement Cost?

The cost of preparing a marital agreement varies depending on the circumstances. It might be cheaper to use one attorney, but it might bring up issues of conflict of interest. So, to ensure that the agreement is enforceable, it might be advisable for each spouse to have a separate legal counsel. This means a couple could pay double legal fees for the same postnuptial agreement.

Another factor that might vary the cost is the nature of the estate. You might pay more if the agreement covers big businesses or a sizeable estate. The money spent might be high, but it might be cheaper than going through a divorce without any deal. Besides, you can minimize the hourly attorney fees by agreeing on most issues before the primary day.

When Can We Present a Postnuptial Agreement?

A postnuptial agreement can be made at any time of the marriage. Many people wonder whether they are supposed to file the document as soon as they sign it or wait until a later time. Just like prenuptial agreements, postnuptial agreements should be kept safely until needed. Knowing the right time to present the document is critical to its enforceability.

A postnuptial agreement is not filed along with the divorce papers. But make sure you present it during the court hearing or mediation proceedings. If you are unsure about when or where to bring the document, you can give it to your seasoned divorce attorney in Tri-Cities, and they will avail it when necessary. Begin by filing for the dissolution of marriage, and the postnuptial agreement will follow.

Lawyers Fighting for the Bright Future of Families

Your postnuptial can be accepted and enforced in court if it meets the legal and reasonable requirements. So, before presenting the document in court, it might be advisable to have it reviewed by a knowledgeable and skilled attorney serving in Walla Walla, Spokane, and Richland.

We can guide you toward achieving the best possible outcomes. If the marital agreement isn’t valid, we can guide you on other options available to you and your soon-to-be-ex. We’re ready to listen to you. Speak to us today for personalized legal advice.