Most people, especially in our day and age of media-driven celebrity tales of marital discord and divorce, are arguably familiar with the basics of a prenuptial agreement — what it entails, why it is written and when it is executed.
As for a postnuptial agreement, uh, not so much.
Both are central documents in the realm of marital contracts. Prenups, sometimes called premarital contracts or agreements, are executed prior to a marriage. Postnuptial agreements, also commonly referred to as postmarital agreements, are executed in exactly the manner their name implies – post-marriage.
Reasons vary for why a couple seeks to draft and sign a marital agreement following marriage, but they generally coalesce around the same factors that drive a prenuptial contract: Couples often talk of peace of mind, stability, the reduction of uncertainty and the simple tranquility that can come from openly discussing issues, writing them down and then putting them into a legal instrument that explicitly sets forth how hitherto unresolved matters will be handled.
That can go a long way toward comforting husbands and wives who are entering a second or subsequent marriage and don’t want to contemplate the idea of a potential dissolution leaving important matters as open ended and unattended to as they were the first time around.
Some couples are able to dispassionately equate a marital contract to an insurance policy.
With one, says one third-time husband, “I think there’s a bit more peace of mind, a bit more stability in a sense.”
Executing such a document does not mean that couples expect a relationship to go sour or ultimately end. Rather, and especially for couples who are not marrying for the first time, there are often significant and weighty matters to think about, such as accumulated assets, pensions and retirement plans and children from prior marriages.
A marital contact can help to fully disclose all those things and put into writing exactly how a couple wants to handle them.
Source: ABC News, “Postnuptial agreements becoming more common, signed after couples get married,” Ric Romero, Aug. 29, 2012