24th Dec 2019
You got married, took the biggest leap of faith of your life, and did it without some ugly fight about a prenup. But, then again, maybe you thought about a prenup . . .and maybe it wouldn’t be a fight now that both of you have anted up on the commitment. Whether your relationship has deteriorated or soared, there are good reasons to consider a postnuptial agreement. As long as you are honest and patient with each other, this move could avert prolonged misery in the future and provide peace of mind. A postnuptial is an agreement that settles a married couple’s affairs and assets in the case of separation or divorce. Like a prenup, it has to be entered into voluntarily, preferably with the help of separate attorneys. Here are some legitimate reasons to look into a postnup:
You meant to get a prenup but did not
Any time there is asset disparity, age disparity, or children from a previous marriage, a prenup clears the air of suspicion once and for all about financial motivations for marriage. Some people feel like it is a denunciation to the selfless spirit of marriage, so they never broach the topic. Frankly, both parties need to feel assured their independent hard work prior to marriage as professionals and parents is honored.
Sudden change in financial circumstances and/or professional outlook
Change is disruptive, even if it is good. Sometimes a spouse makes a sudden career change that requires years of schooling or makes a decision to take a pay cut to do what he/she loves. Who will pay for the difference and will it affect the couple’s/family’s quality of life? Perhaps one spouse starts a business that seems to be heading in the wrong direction (or maybe, conversely, is thriving): who should pay the business debts or reap the profits in case of a divorce? Finally, what if one of your parents reveals a trust that will soon kick in or a large piece of property? Should the in-law spouse be able to walk away with part of the land and give it to their children from a previous marriage? These issues all raise the possibility of postnuptial agreement for how to deal with emerging financial challenges.
You have been separated or are nearing divorce
Nearing the cliff may give you a new perspective on the need for transparency and security. Especially if one partner has been unfaithful or made past threats, part of reconciliation could be a reassuring postnuptial agreement. Divorce befalls many of us (around half in the first marriage and more in every subsequent marriage). Being prepared makes marriage no less blissful.
Alarming behavior that could threaten the family unit
Gambling, drinking, depression, drug use—there are many unforeseen behaviors that increase anxiety about potential life after marriage. Establishing a trust for children or making sure new assets of yours don’t become marital assets may be the security you need in a postnup.
As a caregiver, you feel vulnerable
Postnups are not just for the person with more assets. The cost of childcare and the long hours of other jobs can cause one partner to abandon career aspirations for familial ones. It is terrifying to think that your value in the labor force has deteriorated and the more powerful partner could leave you penniless after a divorce. That perceived leverage can further sour a marriage with resentment and fear.
Postnups, as negative as some of the emotions they entail may be to face, are not embarked upon by plotting spouses. Postnups are to protect the marriage from financial suspicions or erratic future behavior. They are often a truce to a silent battle that can erupt any time. As with prenups, issues of general behavior during the marriage and child custody questions afterward cannot be included.
If you’re interested in securing helpful, compassionate legal assistance to guide you through the process of securing a postnup agreement, please contact us today by clicking here.