For some couples, a prenuptial agreement can resolve complex financial matters that may otherwise lead to intense disputes in the event the marriage should end in divorce. A prenuptial agreement allows the couple to make decisions about which assets or debts will be excluded from asset division, such as those related to a business or inheritance. However, certain matters may not arise until after the couple is already married. In these cases, a postnuptial agreement may be appropriate.
Postnuptial agreements often have a different purpose and may be the result of some tension or disagreement between the spouses. In many cases, such contracts can help resolve those tensions, which may improve the marriage. Some ways couples use postnups include the following:
- A spouse who spends freely or gambles may agree to keep his or her debts separate from the debts of the other spouse.
- A postnuptial agreement can resolve other financial disagreements, such as how to earn, save or spend money.
- A spouse who earns more money than the other spouse may create a safety net for the lower-earning spouse by agreeing to financial support in case of divorce or death.
- A postnuptial agreement can spell out many of the same kinds of decisions a couple may have made in a prenuptial agreement.
In many cases, postnuptial agreements come up in conversation because a couple is already struggling or considering divorce. While these contracts may offer some support and resolve certain issues, it is important that both sides have separate legal counsel so that their rights and best interests have solid protection.