On Thursday’s all-talk edition of the Social, our co-hosts will be tackling this question from a viewer:
“My husband is buying out his family business and wants me to sign a post-nup. We’ve been together over 2 decades, have 4 kids and I’ve worked for him for 13 years. Does this seem right?” – Anonymous
First of all, Anonymous, thank you for writing. And second, I think the best piece of advice anyone who is not a lawyer could give you is: You should get a lawyer. Not because anyone thinks your husband has nefarious intentions (after all, he may be doing this to financially protect you and your four children), but because a lawyer you hire will presumably have your back.
In the meantime, it turns out that post-nups, which are pretty much the same as pre-nups—only they are undertaken after the knot is tied—are on the rise.
And, according to Prenup.ca, your situation revolving around a business venture is a common reason why: “As part of a partnership agreement or shareholders agreement, there may be a requirement to enter into a postnuptial agreement ensuring that spouses of partners or shareholders do not gain any ownership or control of the business. Such an agreement is likely to be upheld by a court,” the legal website says.
But there are also some legal concerns:
“In determining the validity of a postnup, courts treat them with special caution. Even though the agreement may be exactly the same as a prenup, from a legal perspective, they are very different. This is because before you are married, you have no special legal rights or obligations to the person whom you are about to marry. Therefore, in legal theory at least, no one is giving up any rights when entering into a prenup. “However, the day you get married, you acquire various family law rights and obligations to and from your spouse. So, when you enter into a post nuptial agreement, normally at least one person will be giving up legal rights that they already have. There is nothing wrong with this, but a court will be extra cautious in examining the circumstances surrounding why a postnup was entered into when determining the validity of a postnup. So, you will need to be extra cautious in documenting this through legal counsel, and take extra care to ensure that the agreement is fair.”
The good news is that you’ve already acquired those “various family law rights” because you are already married.
SoI think the question that you really need to focus on is this: “What are the legal rights you are being asked to give up?”
Which brings us full circle: You should get a lawyer.