Eric S. Neumann, APLC
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Could a postnuptial agreement improve your marriage?

Many coupes draft and sign prenuptial agreements, but far fewer utilize the benefits that postnuptial agreements can provide. In fact, many couples don't even realize that it's possible to re-tool your marriage after taking your vows.

These legal contracts address the disposition of community property assets in the event of separation or divorce. Postnups can also address how debts will be divided if the couple decides to split.

Postnuptial agreements can be signed by the parties at any point after the marriage. But what circumstances would make this desirable? Read on to learn why signing a postnup might strengthen your marital bonds.

It's not your first marriage

When either or both spouses have been married prior to this union — or if either have children from a former partner — you may have very specific plans for the way your assets will be divided so that your children are protected. A postnup can address these concerns and put them to rest.

Infidelity has occurred

When one spouse steps out of the marriage with another partner, it can decimate the trust needed to sustain the marriage. If the cheating spouse is sorry for the transgressions and wants to remain married, he or she may be able to persuade the betrayed spouse to stay married by signing a postnup. In it, he or she can outline the favorable terms for divorce for the faithful partner should infidelity occur again.

One parent quits work to take care of the kids

Some Lafayette parents believe that having one parent stay home to rear the kids is best for their families. But that level of parental involvement doesn't come at no cost to the spouse who steps out of the workforce. It can be a career-ending decision that has potentially adverse financial consequences should the marriage later falter. A well-crafted postnup can protect the interests of the spouse who left a lucrative career to become a stay-at-home mom or dad.

Both spouses need their own legal counsel

If you decide that a postnup will be a good idea, it's vital that both spouses retain their own attorneys to review and approve these agreements before they are signed. While that increases the total cost, it ensures that both parties' interests are protected and lessens the likelihood of a successful challenge to the agreement's terms later.

There's no hard and fast rule about whether to sign a postnuptial agreement. As with most marital decisions, electing to sign a postnup depends upon the individual couple's circumstances. Ask your Lafayette family law attorney for guidance should you have further questions about these legal documents and their efficacy.

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