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3 reasons many married couples decide to create postnuptial agreements

On Behalf of | Apr 19, 2024 | Prenuptial & Postnuptial Agreements

Prenuptial agreements are contracts that people sign before getting married. They establish clear expectations for the marriage and also discuss what might happen if the couple ever divorces. Only a minority of spouses begin a marriage with a prenuptial agreement in place.

Many spouses who do not have a written contract may come to realize that they actually need some degree of legal protection. Postnuptial agreements have become increasingly popular among married couples in a variety of different situations. Postnuptial agreements often include many of the same elements as prenuptial agreements. The main difference is the timing of the contract’s execution.

Why do so many married couples decide to negotiate marital contracts with each other?

Inheritances or professional development

Changing financial circumstances are often the main motivation for marital contracts. Perhaps one spouse recently inherited quite a bit from their parents. They want an agreement to ensure the protection of their separate property in case they ever divorce. Maybe one spouse is about to start a small business or begin their own professional practice. Postnuptial agreements can be a way to protect assets and minimize the risk involved when one spouse decides to pursue new career opportunities that come with a degree of risk.

Serious marital issues

Postnuptial agreements can often be a way of working on a marriage. Maybe one spouse emptied out joint checking accounts because of a gambling addiction or substance abuse disorder. Maybe there were issues with infidelity. When significant misconduct has rocked a marital relationship, postnuptial agreements can be beneficial. They can create penalties for future misconduct and can clarify what each spouse expects from the marital relationship going forward.

Divorce discussions

Maybe there hasn’t been a single precipitating incident leading to divorce negotiations but instead of slow breakdown of the marital relationship. When spouses have begun growing apart from each other, the possibility of an acrimonious divorce may make them both feel insecure. Negotiating a postnuptial agreement provides an opportunity to work on the marriage and take some of the risk out of divorce. Even if the marriage is not salvageable, couples can set terms now that can lead to less contentious divorces later.

Postnuptial agreements may help preserve marital relationships or may take much of the conflict out of ending them. Taking the time to negotiate appropriate terms for a marital contract can make a major difference for those facing marital hardship or who are worried about the future.