Most people understand the premise of prenuptial agreements. But far fewer understand the reasons for postnuptial agreements — or even know that they exist. While a prenuptial agreement, also called a marital contract or shortened to prenup, is developed prior to the marriage and serves as an instrument to help each party clarify what they are bringing into the relationship, the postnuptial agreement is created and revised over the duration of the marriage.
In some cases, a postnuptial agreement might correct any real or perceived inequities in the previously signed prenuptial agreement. For instance, imagine that you and your spouse are approaching your 20th anniversary. Due to the longevity of the marriage, the new postnup might grant greater assets to one of the spouses if a split occurs.
A postnuptial agreement can also address inheritance issues with children from other marriages or prior unions by specifying certain assets will go to them (and not the marital estate) when their biological parent dies. This is particularly useful in blended families.
In cases where one spouse left the workforce to care for the kids and the home, a postnuptial agreement can also assure their compensation in a divorce will be commensurate with their contributions.
Unfortunately, there is no document in existence with the power to keep an errant spouse from cheating. However, a well-crafted postnup can spell out the adverse consequences a spouse will face in a divorce should instances of infidelity be unveiled. For some individuals, that can be an effective deterrent to adultery.
These kinds of postnuptial agreements can even restore a sense of trust in a marriage where infidelity has caused some damage.
If you’re interested in learning more about the value of a postnuptial or prenuptial agreement, there’s no reason to delay. Speak to an experienced legal professional about your options as soon as possible.