Why Get a Postnuptial Agreement?
The Wall Street Journal says postnuptial agreements are on the rise. Just like a “prenup,” a “postnup” is used to lay out the assets and liabilities of a couple and designate who gets what in a divorce or after the death of one spouse. The difference is that a postnuptial agreement is created after a couple gets married (or becomes domestic partners) and smooths the hurdles to marital bliss that arise as the honeymoon wears off.
Differing opinions on financial matters and the division of household and parenting duties cause impasses in the best marriages. And in more trying situations, resentment, passive aggressive standoffs, screaming matches, and feelings of being taken advantage of lead to the familiar “I can’t do this anymore” divorce refrain.
By clearing these roadblocks, couples can get back to enjoying why they paired up in the first place. Many couples have said that the process of examining their finances and daily duties and airing their concerns with the help of a mediator was cathartic.
Some Common Postnup Topics
Along with sorting out finances, the couple can include anything that enhances their sense of peace and security. Some common topics include the following:
Possessions and Inheritance
Family antiques, collections, and anything of personal value can be assigned to one spouse legally. In the event of a divorce or death, this angle would already be covered.
If one spouse reluctantly gives up a career for the good of the family and fears their job prospects will be compromised should the marriage fail, making a financial bargain helps ease resentment on both parts. It can also designate who manages the children’s sports, schooling, and other activities.
Some parents want to dedicate assets to their birth children.
If a spouse has been causing heartache with drinking and gambling, the other can use a postnup to protect his or herself financially. It can list the conditions of a partner who has been cheated on to give the other another chance. Similarly, it can provide an incentive not to cheat.
For example, some tabloids claim that singer Justin Timberlake will pay actress Jessica Biel $500 million if he cheats, and that Catherine Zeta Jones allegedly gets $5 million if Michael Douglas falls to temptation. While we can’t verify this, we can say that these kinds of caveats exist in some pre- and postnuptial agreements.
Who takes care of household duties, upkeep, and repair are fair game.
Evening the playing field on each partner’s time spent outside the marriage on social events can also be stipulated.
Why Bother if I Think We Are Headed for Divorce?
For those who acknowledge that the marriage may not be salvageable, it is a good time to put some controls into place while the parties are still talking. Since somewhere over 40 percent of marriages end in divorce, postnuptials can expedite the process if the couple has already laid the groundwork for financial and childrearing duties.
Why Involve a Family Lawyer
Like valuable marriage counseling, which encourages cooperation and good intent, having agreements in writing is another powerful tool to show good faith yet hold each party accountable. To hear more about how a postnuptial or prenuptial agreement can benefit you, please call the Law Office of Laurence J. Brock for a free consultation. He has helped couples smoothly navigate their family law issues for decades. Just call 909-466-7661 or complete the form below.