Post-nuptial agreements gaining momentum

Spouses describe them as insurance policies

Brian and his wife, Mary, are past divorcees who recently tied the knot.

This time, Mary wanted to protect her assets.  So she and Brian signed a post-nuptial agreement.

A post-nup is a legally binding document that's similar to a pre-nuptial agreement, but is signed after a couple says their vows.

With divorce rates and litigation costs on the rise, the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers says a growing number of couples are looking into these so-called "marital contracts."

Ken Altshuler is a lawter.  He says, "Any two people who feel that they're in conflict and feel that a marriage may be dissolved should try and define what they would do in the event of a divorce in advance. It does bring clarity to the situation."

Some happy couples are also signing post-nups for a sense of security.

The terms of the agreement can deal with practically anything, from checking and savings accounts, to debt and child support, to personal property.

Altshuler says, "We have many instances where people talk about who is going to have custody of the pet. I've had different pieces of china and silverware that were divided in advance."

For Brian and his wife, working out who gets what was simple.    

He says, "What we come into the marriage with is what we would each leave with."

Allison Pescosolido, co-founder of Divorce Detox, says post-nups can often be tricky to approach.

She says, "Both people are going to have to give up what their ideal is. You also want to walk away if it starts getting heated and set a specific time to get back together."

Pescosolido also recommends reaching out to a therapist. No matter how you choose to go about it…

The most important thing is a full disclosure.  Otherwise, the post-nup could be thrown out in court.

Brian and Mary look forward to a lifetime of love, but consider the post-nup a kind of insurance policy.

He says, "It's almost like putting on a life jacket when you're going to go boating. You don't anticipate using it, but you want it there."

Print this article Back to Top