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What is a postnuptial agreement?

On Behalf of | Dec 2, 2023 | Family Law

Most people are familiar with the idea of a prenuptial agreement. They may even know someone who negotiated a prenup during their engagement to reduce the financial risk that comes with marriage. However, postnuptial agreements are less common.

Many people are unfamiliar with them even if they can likely guess about their use given their title. Quite a few married couples would potentially benefit from negotiating for example agreement. What can a postnuptial agreement potentially achieve for those already married?

People can address assets and expectations

A postnuptial agreement often includes many of the same terms that people integrate into prenuptial agreements. The focus is often on the status of different assets and conduct during the marriage.

Acquiring new property, possibly through an inheritance, is one reason that people decide to negotiate a postnuptial agreement. They use the agreements either to designate certain assets as the separate property of the spouses or to clarify exactly how they would value and divide those assets if they divorce.

A postnuptial agreement can also help clarify what each spouse expects from the marriage and in the event of a divorce. Some people even include penalty clauses to deter their spouse from engaging in inappropriate conduct in the future. Those remaining married despite issues with infidelity, addiction or gambling sometimes decide to draft postnuptial agreements as a means of protecting themselves.

At its most basic, a postnuptial agreement is a contract between people who share resources due to marriage. It can help resolve marital conflict and may guide the divorce process if the people who sign the document eventually separate. Learning about postnuptial agreements and other aspects of family law can help married individuals more effectively protect themselves and their personal resources.