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Wish you had a prenup? Consider a postnuptial agreement

When you’re young and in love, it’s easy to ignore the potential for problems down the road. Couples are so eager to start their life together that many forego the option to create a prenuptial agreement together.

Months or even years later, you might know more about the benefits of having a prenuptial agreement. If you wish that you and your spouse made an agreement, it’s not too late. At any point in your marriage, you can create a postnuptial agreement instead, which is nearly identical to a prenup.

Like the prenup, a postnup describes each person’s financial stake in the marriage. For example, a couple could decide who gets to keep the house if they divorce. You can also decide what will happen to your business and investments.

Creating a postnuptial agreement might have a few extra complications if you have already been married for several years. The rose-colored glasses of engaged couples sometimes helps to keep the discussion polite. Spouses who may have moved on from their honeymoon phase may have a more difficult time with this discussion. Unfortunately, the idea of getting a divorce can make the process tense.

Both spouses should remember that getting a postnup is not the same as actually going through with a divorce, but it should be a fair plan nonetheless. Both parties will have to give and take while negotiating assets. In fact, waiting a few years into the marriage can give couples a better sense of the assets and responsibilities they need to define within the agreement.

Like a prenup, a postnup may fall under scrutiny during a future divorce case if you don’t draft it carefully. If you create a postnuptial agreement that heavily favors one spouse over the other, it might be invalid. Before deciding the specific terms to include, each spouse should consult with a family law attorney to achieve a fair plan.

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