Pennsylvania Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements

Lancaster family law firm helps prospective spouses safeguard their interests

Like purchasing insurance, establishing a sound prenuptial or postnuptial agreement is a good way to be prepared for an unpleasant event in the future. At Chan & Associates in Lancaster, I take the awkwardness out of the process for Pennsylvanians who appreciate the security that a valid agreement confers on both parties. Though you and your spouse might never get divorced, discussing important financial matters with the guidance of a knowledgeable attorney while your relationship is strong could be a decision that you’re grateful for years down the road. 

Pennsylvania prenuptial agreements

No one can predict the future, and having a plan in place could help you avoid a costly, bitter divorce process if you decide to end your marriage at some point. Like any other type of contract, a prenuptial agreement is a legal document agreed upon by the signatory parties that can be enforced in court if necessary. Prospective spouses can set forth terms relating to property division, spousal support and alimony in a prenuptial agreement. When working with clients on a prenuptial agreement, I encourage open communication and guide couples toward fair, reliable terms that accurately reflect each individual’s situation and needs.  

Reasons for having a prenuptial agreement

For many people, financial security is the motivation for creating a prenuptial agreement. These legal instruments can declare what assets should be excluded from the distribution of marital property and give business owners the opportunity to maintain full control over what they’ve built. Prenups also reduce the chance of a contested divorce if the relationship breaks down. With a sound agreement in place, parties do not have to stay in a failing marriage because they are unsure about their financial future.

Pennsylvania postnuptial agreements

A postnuptial agreement is executed by an already married couple. Like a prenuptial agreement, it can address property distribution and spousal support issues. Sometimes, a couple might believe that their relationship is in danger of breaking down and would like to avert a costly battle in the event that they do decide to divorce.

Reasons for having a postnuptial agreement

Negotiating a postnuptial agreement offers the same benefits as a document created before marriage. Along with the general protections afforded by a marital agreement, there are several events or situations that might motivate spouses to create a postnup. A new business venture or substantial financial shift could compel a husband or wife to clarify potential property division and alimony terms in light of the changed circumstances. Spouses could be concerned about the financial effect of a divorce on their children from other relationships. In some cases, the parties might not have had the time to complete a prenuptial agreement before their wedding.

Exceptions that can prevent the enforcement of an agreement

Spouses cannot resolve every aspect of a potential divorce order through a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. Provisions relating to child custody or child support will not be enforced. A party who wishes to contest the application of a prenup or postnup has the legal burden of demonstrating that their approval was not truly voluntary due to fraud, coercion or lack of capacity. Judges might also invalidate the terms of a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement based on their belief that the language is unconscionably unfair to one side.

Contact a Lancaster attorney to discuss a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement   

Chan & Associates works with south central Pennsylvania residents on the development of prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. Please call 717-869-0015 or contact me online to make an appointment with a qualified family lawyer. My office is located in Lancaster.