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3 benefits of negotiating a postnuptial agreement

On Behalf of | May 30, 2024 | Family Law

Some people recognize that they are financially vulnerable at the beginning of a marriage. They may negotiate a prenuptial agreement before they have their wedding to protect themselves and their future spouses from the risks inherent in marriage. Many others allow their enthusiasm in their engagement stage to prevent them from recognizing their need for legal protection. In some cases, it could be multiple years after a wedding before someone begins to worry about how vulnerable they have become.

Postnuptial agreements are not as common as prenuptial agreements, but they are similar in nature. They are contracts negotiated by spouses who want to clarify matters about their marriage and about the possibility of divorce in the future. The following are some of the main benefits people derive from negotiating a marital contract when they’re already married.

Clarification about expectations

Sometimes, disappointed spousal expectations cause conflict within a marriage. If spouses have not communicated about matters related to finances, family expansion or home maintenance with one another, they may become frustrated by the dynamic in their household. Postnuptial agreements often require discussions about what each spouse intends to provide for the marriage and what they expect to receive from their spouse in return. Although postnuptial contracts should not focus on micromanaging marital relationships, it can be beneficial to have discussions about each spouse’s contributions to the household and what they need from the other. Those difficult conversations are one of the reasons why postnuptial agreements often serve to strengthen a marriage.

Protection from spousal misconduct

Sometimes, unmet expectations aren’t the cause of marital discord. Instead, what drives the conflict between the spouses could potentially be bad behavior. Gambling, substance abuse, inappropriate shopping habits and infidelity are all types of marital misconduct that frequently lead to divorce. People become frustrated with the bad behavior of a spouse and worried about the risk it creates for them. Postnuptial agreements can include terms that protect spouses from the financial consequences of the misconduct of the other. They could also potentially include terms penalizing one spouse for making the same mistake again in the future.

Avoidance of a hostile divorce

Some people negotiate postnuptial agreements because they desperately want to make their marriages work. Other people start negotiating postnuptial agreements because they recognize that their marriage is likely to end in divorce. Before conflict becomes overwhelming and spouses give in to their negative emotions, they can theoretically negotiate terms for property division and other key divorce concerns that are mutually beneficial. That way, when the time is right to file for divorce, they don’t have to worry about it becoming a protracted and potentially expensive legal battle.

Proposing a postnuptial agreement does not necessarily mean that someone has given up on their marriage. Spouses who talk about the state of their relationship and what they need from each other might actually enjoy a healthier relationship with each other after signing an agreement.