The social stigma attached to prenuptial agreements has diminished in recent years. More couples now view these documents as practical rather than an indicator of bad faith by either spouse. A growing number of middle-class couples sign prenuptial agreements to ensure a smoother divorce if the marriage doesn’t last.
However, many people get married before they recognize that a prenuptial agreement would have benefited them and their spouse. If you find yourself wishing that you had had the foresight to sign a marital agreement before tying the knot, you may be a good candidate for a postnuptial agreement.
These marital agreements can benefit and protect you in many different ways, making them valuable in certain circumstances.
They could help you save your marriage
Few things are as potent of a wake-up call to a disengaged spouse as their partner wanting to negotiate a marital agreement. Faced with the reality of what a divorce might involve, your spouse may address problem behaviors or commit themselves to the relationship.
The process of talking about your expectations and needs could help you and your spouse do a better job of supporting each other in the future. Some couples find that drafting a postnuptial agreement is what keeps them out of divorce court.
They can help you protect certain assets
Is the executor of your grandmother’s estate about to sign over the title for her home to you? Although an inheritance is your separate property, living there together with your spouse could lead to claims of commingling and may let your spouse claim the property if you divorce.
When you have an inheritance or other personal assets you want to protect, you can designate them as separate property in a marital agreement.
They can protect you from your spouse’s misconduct
Have you found yourself considering divorce because your spouse cheated on you or spent some of your retirement savings on alcohol or drugs?
Those facing risk because of their spouse’s misconduct can address those behaviors in a postnuptial agreement. You can protect yourself from certain forms of liability or potentially even impose a penalty on your spouse for continuing to engage in the same misconduct after signing the agreement with you.
Recognizing some of the ways that a postnuptial agreement could help might convince you to draft one with your spouse.