In Massachusetts, there is a growing acceptance among many married couples to sign a postnuptial agreement. This trend reflects an important change where society is recognizing how careful legal choices can help to minimize any future challenges that may manifest themselves in a marriage.
Unlike a prenup, a postnuptial agreement occurs after marriage, not before. Postnuptial is a wise step forward, particularly if you and your spouse feel that your marriage is going through a stressful phase, but both of you wish to stay married. This agreement is also an ideal move if you and your spouse are pragmatic enough to recognize the future possibility of a separation, depending on your current relationship.
Attorney Jay Davis has the expertise in all aspects of pre and post nuptial agreements in Massachusetts. He will carefully explain to you the advantages, limitations, realities, and repercussions of your situation, and help you negotiate the best possible postnuptial agreement. Call Davis Law Group today at 617-221-3548 to discuss your particular situation, and know whether a postnuptial could be the right way forward for you.
Spouses in Vulnerable Marriages Increasingly Choose Postnuptials
Spouses facing relationship challenges at any stage of their marital life, whether due to financial problems such as a bankruptcy, or due to infidelity or addiction to alcohol or drugs, are increasingly willing to sign postnuptial agreements. Of course, couples in Massachusetts are also signing postnups for other reasons, such as a need to modify an existing prenup, or when one spouse has received a substantial inheritance.
In some cases, Massachusetts divorce courts may find that a postnuptial agreement arises as an attempt by one spouse to making a financial sacrifice with an aim to save the marriage. To make sure that postnups are not abused for emotional leverage, the courts in MA will usually subject postnuptial agreements to greater scrutiny than they would to a typical prenup or separation agreement.
A postnuptial agreement in MA is legally enforceable only if the contract is valid. Davis Law Group has the experience in negotiating postnuptials to ensure that they are appropriate to your situation and legally enforceable. Call us at 617-221-3548 to schedule an appointment to discuss the pros and cons of a postnup in your situation.
Criteria Applied by MA Courts for Valid Postnuptial Agreements
The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts in the landmark case of Ansin v. Craven-Ansin ruled that if a husband and wife enter into an agreement with a goal to determine the financial consequences of a future divorce (which is not contemplated at the time of the agreement), such agreement is legally enforceable and not in violation of any public policy.
The SJC, however, spelled out specific criteria for a postnup’s enforcement, and emphasized that the agreement must be “carefully scrutinized.” Here are the five criteria that an MA court will consider while determining the validity of a postnuptial agreement:
- Did each party have an opportunity for independent legal counsel?
- Was there any coercion or fraud in obtaining a spouse’s consent to the agreement?
- Prior to the agreement’s execution, were all the assets fully disclosed?
- Did both spouses knowingly waive their right to property division and to support in the event of a dissolution of marriage?
- Were the terms of the agreement fair and reasonable at the time the postnup was executed, and are the terms fair and reasonable at the time of divorce when a request to enforce the agreement is made?
It is important to note that the burden of proving that there was no coercion or fraud when the postnuptial agreement was executed will be on the spouse who is trying to enforce it in a divorce case. Jay Davis can provide you strong legal representation to ensure that your rights are fully protected in a divorce case involving a postnuptial agreement. Call 617-221-3548 now to discuss your case with Jay Davis.
Contact Davis Law Group for an Effective Execution or Enforcement of a Postnuptial Agreement
Based on the SJC ruling in the Ansin case, the courts in MA have a mandate to scrutinize postnuptial agreements even more closely than separation agreements in order to determine whether the postnup is fair and reasonable. This is because the parties to a postnup are not in a position to bargain as freely as separating spouses.
Clearly, Massachusetts courts will scrutinize a postnuptial agreement more carefully compared to a prenup or even a separation agreement. If you have more questions about postnuptial agreements, Davis Law Group encourages you to schedule a free and confidential consultation.
Jay Davis is an experienced MA divorce attorney who has successfully represented countless individuals who were in your situation once. He will provide you the best legal advice and support to help you achieve your goals. Call 617-221-3548 today or contact us online.
James H. (Jay) Davis III
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