Why the Happily Married Should Consider a Post-Nuptial Agreement
As a divorce lawyer, I've seen a lot of good love gone bad. I've seen once happily married people say things like, "They were my best friend, but I don't even know them anymore.” Or, "I've worked so hard for what I've earned, they don’t deserve what they’re demanding." Or, "I'm going to make them pay for giving up on us."
But despite what we say in the heat of passion – or when reacting to a broken heart – we loved and respected this person enough to marry them and perhaps even have children with them.
So, what's wrong with planning for the unexpected?
A postnuptial agreement is created after marriage
Whereas a prenuptial agreement is signed before marriage, a postnuptial agreement is drafted and signed after marriage. Both types of agreements describe how assets would be divided in the event of a divorce, annulment, separation, or the death of one spouse.
Both spouses must sign a postnuptial agreement for it to be valid. It’s something the two of you can do together if you wish, or you could work with a marital mediator or lawyer to create the agreement. Unlike a prenup, you don’t each need to obtain your own lawyer first.
A postnuptial agreement is a plan for the unexpected
We carry a first aid kit with us when we go camping—not because we expect to fall down and hurt ourselves but because we simply don't know what might happen. We hope we'll never have to use it, but we feel better knowing we have it. A first aid kit is a plan for the unexpected.
So is a postnup.
As a highly experienced divorce lawyer, I suggest that couples talk about the tough stuff while they are head over heels. I’m suggesting they work on a Plan B so they know what life would look like if the unexpected happened.
A postnuptial agreement can answer many important questions, like the following:
- How would credit card debt be divided in the event of a split?
- How would student loan debt be divided in the event of a split?
- How would inheritance money be divided in the event of a split?
- If one parent stays home with the kids, would they get a larger portion of the marital assets in the event of a split?
- If one spouse dies, what happens to their shared marital property?
A postnuptial agreement offers protection and certainty
Some people squirm at the thought of creating a postnup. They also squirm at the thought of creating a will. However, both legal documents offer protection and certainty.
A postnup can do the following for you:
- Protect business interests
- Protect the assets of a spouse who does not work outside the home or earn money
- Provide certainty about property in the event one spouse dies
- Build trust between you and your spouse (nobody’s hiding anything)
A postnuptial agreement confronts the uncomfortable
A postnuptial agreement can be a highly effective tool for mitigating the perils of divorce. But in order to get one, you must confront the uncomfortable.
Hello Divorce can help. For a flat fee, we help clients prepare a post-nuptial agreement so they can get the technical stuff out of the way and go back to enjoying their marriage. Click here to learn more about what we offer.
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