Save Your Marriage with a Postnuptial Agreement
I met with a married couple recently who had an unusual request. They wanted
to discuss issues they were having in their open marriage. This was somewhat
of an eye opening situation for me. They had always had an open marriage,
but now they wanted to define and document some conditions. They wanted
to know how they could do this legally. Although they had met with a marriage
counselor who suggested verbal commitments, they wanted something that
could have real consequences if each of their needs were not met. I suggested
a postnuptial agreement. A postnuptial agreement has saved many marriages!
A postnuptial agreement is also a great tool for the smoother transition
of an eventual divorce!
So…..What is a Postnuptial Agreement?
A postnuptial agreement or “postnup” is a written and properly
executed agreement that can be put into effect
after you are married. The agreement documents obligations and responsibilities
of each partner.
What can be covered in a Postnuptial Agreement?
Most issues that are important to your marriage. For some, it addresses
financial concerns, children, religion; for others infidelity, inheritances,
psychological issues and for the couple I mentioned earlier - parameters
for their open marriage and the financial consequences if either party
deviates from the plan.
Creating a Postnuptial Agreement can be like therapy!
Preparing a postnup can be a therapeutic experience. Couples get to discuss
and review all the issues that are important to their marriage. Couples
can establish boundaries and create a plan that works for both of them.
Couples often decide to create a postnup to address one issue and after
a discussion in my office we find there are other issues that need to
be addressed too, like the consequences of a spouse’s gambling habit.
As a psychologically-trained divorce attorney and mediator I encourage
clients who are having difficulties but want to save their marriage to
consider a postnuptial agreement.
The development of a postnuptial agreement helps both parties have a voice,
be heard, and have professional guidance to arrive together at an agreement
that gives them both peace of mind.
Here’s a list of the more common issues addressed in a postnuptial
- Marital goals: what plans do you have for your marriage? Having children?
Who will be the bread winner? How will expenses be handled?
- Children: Are you going to have any? How many? How will they be raised?
What religion? What are your education goals for them? What is your parenting style?
- Property: Will property be in both names? Who will reside there in the
event of a divorce?
- Inheritance: Will each spouse keep their own? Will they share?
- Earnings: Where will earnings be deposited? Will there be joint or separate
accounts? Who will pay the bill? How will you pay the bills?
- Debts: Who will manage the credit cards? Will they be joint?
- Property: What will be marital property or separate property?
- Roles in a marriage: Who will manage the home? Who is going to work?
- Wills and estate planning: Have provisions been made in the event of death?
As a divorce attorney, I know that it is much easier to have the “tough
talk” during a marriage than in divorce court.
A postnuptial agreement gives your marriage a chance to address everything
that is important to both of you. It also helps define a relationship
of trust. Once the postnuptial agreement is completed you can move forward
with a framework that makes you both feel secure and empowered.
If for some reason your marriage does eventually dissolve, you have created
a plan that can now be transitioned into a separation agreement. This
can save you time, money, and emotional pain once a divorce is launched.
If I can help save your marriage or give you a more comfortable pathway
to eventual divorce call me!
Schedule your free consultation- you will learn a lot!