The Lesser Known Cousin of the Prenup
We’ve all heard of a prenup – when spouses to be enter into a contract, commonly governing distribution of their assets in the event of divorce. But what if you’re already married? Turns out it’s not too late – enter the postnuptial agreement.
There was a time when a postnuptial agreement was impossible under US law. Prior to the second half of the twentieth century, the law considered married couples as a single entity for the purposes of contract law — effectively, the two spouses formed a single person, an idea referred to as marital unity. Since an individual cannot contract with themselves, postnuptial agreements were impossible.
After the advent of no-fault divorce, and as divorce started becoming more common in the US, the idea of the postnup began to gain in popularity. A postnup can cover a wide array of subjects, from distribution of assets in case of divorce to more minor, behavioral disputes, like where and how often the couple will vacation, or how much money they can each spend on personal expenses.
When a postnuptial agreement might be right for you
The stereotype with postnuptial agreements is that they are a precursor to divorce. After all, if a couple settles their disagreements with a legal contract, their marriage must be doomed, right? Wrong. In many cases, couples actually report that getting a postnuptial agreement strengthened, or even saved their marriage.
Check back in a few days for postnuptial agreements part 2!