Some people view the creation of a prenuptial agreement as inherently crass. After all, how does it benefit the start of a marriage to plan for a worst-case scenario? A prenuptial agreement is essentially an attempt to negotiate the terms of a divorce before you even get married. Some people might consider this planning for failure.
However, with the divorce rate relatively high and more couples sharing the fiscal responsibilities of wage-earning in a marriage, prenuptial agreements are not as rare or unusual as they once were. Young couples, in particular, are more likely to seek the protections of a prenuptial agreement before tying the knot.
These sorts of agreements can offer legal and financial protection to both spouses in a marriage. Even couples that have already married may benefit from a similar agreement. A postnuptial agreement could offer security for some and reduce the uncertainty about the end of a marriage for others. This is one reason why these agreements are increasingly common.
What is a postnuptial agreement, and how do they benefit couples?
For those who are unfamiliar with postnuptial agreements, they are quite similar in nature to prenuptial agreements. They are effectively contracts created between spouses after a marriage has already taken place. Sometimes, couples create postnuptial agreements after decades of marriage.
The point of the contract is to create firm expectations for the continued marriage and to outline how the couple will address issues like asset division in the event of a divorce. This can benefit couples, because it streamlines the divorce process if the marriage ends. It can also remove potential financial incentives for seeking divorce.
Postnuptial agreements can help you in a final attempt to save a marriage
For couples whose marriage has seen recurring issues or one major problem, a postnuptial agreement could help. Instead of seeking a divorce immediately, the couple can agree to execute a postnuptial agreement. The agreement may outline specific expectations for the duration of the marriage.
For example, if one spouse engaged in an affair or began gambling during the marriage, a postnuptial agreement can address those behaviors. In some cases, couples will agree to penalties in the event that one spouse engages in those negative behaviors again.
This kind of clause could prevent someone with poor willpower from committing the same mistake multiple times. It can also provide their spouse with some incentive to stay in the marriage. After all, they may receive more of the marital assets if the terms of the prenuptial agreements are broken.
If the financial situation in your marriage has changed or you believe that there is potential for a divorce in the future, negotiating a postnuptial agreement now could save you a lot of time and frustration in the future.