Postnuptial Agreements: The Agreement for Couples Already Married

On behalf of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Agreements on Thursday, August 22, 2013.

What is a postnuptial property division, and why have one? Some people say “take money out of the equation, and a lot of marriages would not end in divorce.”

That’s why many people sign prenuptial agreements before they marry. Because money problems are at the root of a lot of divorces, more and more couples are signing postnuptial agreements.

Postnuptial agreements are similar to prenups, except they are for married couples. Postnups are prepared after the marriage, and state what your rights and obligations are if you divorce or die.

As USA Today reports, postnups are on the rise across the country:

Postnup agreements can cover everything from how to divide financial assets in divorce to limits on partners’ weight gain, just as prenups can.

And in a survey of divorce lawyers by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 51% saw an increase in postnups.

Now that the Supreme Court has struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, experts say more postnups could be in the offing.

It’s not because newly married same-sex couples’ unions are likely to suddenly founder. On the contrary: They will need to re-allocate some of their property now that they can tie the knot.

“You can anticipate that couples are going to want to address property rights in a postnup for property that otherwise would have been deemed separate, because they acquired it before the marriage,” she said. “Many couples will want to give recognition to those assets and put them in the marital estate.”

After the Supreme Court’s DOMA decision, spouses who have the benefits may want to protect them, and couples who rushed to get married after the DOMA decision, and who did not want to delay their weddings by negotiating a prenup, are rushing to get postnups.

There are some good reasons for a postnup:

  • You ran out of time to hire an attorney to prepare a prenup;
  • You want to give your marriage a last-ditch effort by working out the financial problems;
  • Asset protection – when you receive a large gift or inheritance;
  • You have done something you feel guilty about, and want to make concessions to save your marriage;
  • You want a say in how to distribute your assets before you die;
  • You want to define both spouses’ obligations during the marriage – who pays for what, or do you file taxes jointly or separately?

In 2007, Florida adopted the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act to establish some uniformity in agreements and hopefully reduce litigation. Whatever your reason for a postnup, relationship planning can save you a lot of money down the road.