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Postnuptial agreements are on the rise, lawyers say

If you got married without a prenuptial agreement, and regret not getting one, don’t worry. It is not too late to protect your finances in writing in case you ever must get divorced.

Just as a “pre”nuptial agreement is drawn up before you and your spouse-to-be get married, a “post”nuptial agreement is created after the wedding has already taken place. Otherwise, they are the same. They both are legal contracts that lay out how the spouses will divide up their marital assets and debts if the marriage ever ends in divorce.

Though prenuptial agreements are better known than their postnuptial cousins, postnups are becoming increasingly popular, the Wall Street Journal reports. A survey of divorce attorneys by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers revealed that fully half of them have had more clients asking for a postnup in the past three years. Wealthy people with substantial property to protect are especially interested, according to the Journal.

The reasons people go to their attorney for a postnup vary. The surveyed lawyers noted that revenge was a common factor, such as when the client caught his or her spouse cheating. On the flip side, some spouses use a postnuptial agreement to try to heal a troubled marriage. They will promise a generous settlement in their spouse’s favor to show how committed they are to the relationship.

Whatever your reasons for seeking a postnuptial agreement, it can provide peace of mind for both spouses, and having one does not mean you will ever necessarily get a divorce. Talk to a family law attorney for more information.

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