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Married with no prenup? Why you may want to consider a postnuptial agreement

In previous blog posts, we’ve discussed how married individuals and couples can benefit by having a prenuptial agreement. Such as agreement is drafted and executed by both parties prior to marrying and provides details related to the assets and debts that each spouse brings to a marriage and, in the event that a couple subsequently divorces, will retain after a marriage ends.

While all couples who plan to marry are encouraged to speak with an attorney to discover why a prenup is a good idea, many unfortunately don’t and may therefore end up going through a lengthy, expensive and highly contentious divorce. Often, couples who fail to draft and sign a prenup prior to marrying can benefit by executing a postnuptial agreement during their marriage.

Much like a prenuptial agreement, a postnuptial agreement can be used to establish each spouse’s claim to certain assets, possessions and debts. There are several life events that may spur a married couple to explore signing a postnuptial agreement including:

  • The birth of a child – in cases where one spouse drops out of the workforce to stay home with a child, terms detailed in a postnup can protect his or her interests to a percentage of shared assets
  • Second or third marriage – a postnuptial agreement can be used to protect the financial interests of children from a prior marriage in the event that a parent passes away
  • Infidelity – as a means to save a marriage, a contrite spouse may propose signing a postnuptial agreement that provides favorable terms for a husband or wife
  • Business ventures and partnerships – a spouse who enters into a partnership or some other type of business arrangement may want to protect his or her own financial interests and stake in a business as well as those of partners

For married couples who are interested in learning more about postnuptial agreements, an attorney who handles family law and divorce matters can provide advice and assist in drafting or validating such an agreement.

Source: ABC News, “Forget the Prenup: Why You May Need a Postnuptial Agreement,” AJSmith, Feb. 16, 2015

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