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Understanding Postnuptial Agreements in Ohio

by | Oct 31, 2023 | Estate Planning

In recent years, postnuptial agreements have gained popularity as a means of safeguarding one’s financial interests within a marriage. These agreements and the ability to modify prenuptial agreements after a marriage provide significant changes for Ohio residents. It is crucial to understand the recent changes in Ohio laws if you  want to enter into a postnuptial agreement or modify your existing prenuptial agreement.

What are Postnuptial Agreements?

Postnuptial agreements, also known as postmarital agreements, are legally binding contracts entered into by spouses after they have already married. These agreements outline how marital assets and debts will be divided in the event of divorce, separation, or the death of one spouse. It is essential to distinguish between postnuptial agreements and prenuptial agreements, which are entered into before marriage. While both serve similar purposes, postnuptial agreements are unique because they are created after the marriage has already taken place.

Legal Status of Postnuptial Agreements in Ohio

Before March of 2023, postnuptial agreements in Ohio were not legally enforceable. That is, spouses could not enter into contracts with one another that would alter their legal relations after marriage. Ohio recently joined 48 other states and legalized postnuptial agreements that meet specific requirements. Additionally, the same new law allows spouses to modify or terminate most prenuptial agreements. This is significant in situations where a prenuptial agreement is at risk of being invalid or unenforceable due to the circumstances when the agreement was negotiated.

Postnuptial agreements and prenuptial agreement modifications are permissible if the following requirements are met:

  1. The agreement is in writing and signed by both spouses.
  2. The agreement is entered into freely without fraud, duress, coercion, or overreaching.
  3. The agreement includes full disclosure, full knowledge, and an understanding of the nature, value, and extent of the property of both spouses and
  4. The terms of the agreement do not promote or encourage divorce or profiteering from divorce.

How to Create a Postnuptial Agreement

Creating a postnuptial agreement in Ohio involves several key steps:

  1. Consult an Attorney: Seek legal counsel from a qualified attorney to ensure the agreement complies with state laws and is tailored to your unique circumstances.
  2. Full Financial Disclosure: Both spouses must provide complete and accurate financial disclosures to ensure transparency and fairness.
  3. Clearly Define Terms: Clearly articulate the terms of the agreement, including property division, spousal support, and any other pertinent issues.
  4. Review and Revise: Take the time to review and, if necessary, revise the agreement to ensure it meets both parties’ needs and is legally sound.
  5. Execute the Agreement: Sign the agreement in the presence of witnesses.

Future Changes to Postnuptial Agreements in Ohio

Understanding the changes to postnuptial agreements in Ohio is crucial for anyone considering this legal instrument. The recent legal adjustments have made it easier for spouses to protect their financial interests within a marriage while also fostering financial transparency and trust. When properly crafted and executed, postnuptial agreements can be valuable tools for securing one’s financial future and protecting assets.

If you are considering a postnuptial agreement or if you believe your prenuptial agreement is invalid or outdated, you would benefit from a discussion regarding your options. You can contact Amanda May at 216-621-7860 to discuss it further.

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