How Postnups Strengthen Your Marriage
If you didn’t get a prenuptial agreement and you are now married, you might be wishing that you had something in place that could provide some added protection. Should that be the case, you should consider getting a postnuptial agreement. These are legal agreements similar to prenups, but they are made after you are married.
The agreement will explain what is to happen when assets are divided in case of a divorce or separation. The agreement can be deep and detailed and go through all of the various assets that a couple has, or it could be narrow and focus on one or a handful of assets, such as a vehicle or the home.
Although postnuptial agreements might feel like a sign that the marriage is in trouble, that’s not always the case. Of course, in the past, these were often used when there were issues in the marriage, such as infidelity or issues with money. However, they can be used in good marriages, or to strengthen marriages. Let’s examine some of the ways that using these agreements could help your marriage.
Talk About Finances
Finances are one of the major causes of problems in a marriage and will often be what ends up leading a couple to divorce. Sometimes, one or both partners will have financial concerns, but they don’t bring it up to their spouse. They might think it will avoid conflict, or they hope the problems will go away. Even though that rarely happens, typically, they just get worse when you avoid them.
Getting a postnuptial agreement ensures that you do talk about your finances, though. When you negotiate the agreement with your spouse, it forces you to talk about money, and this can help you both to see what is on the other person’s mind. It helps you understand each other’s worries, so you can work together on fixing the problems.
Find Where You Disagree
Just as you can find out more about where you each stand on the financial issues, you will also have a better understanding of other areas where you agree and disagree. These could be things you weren’t even aware of if your communication has been struggling. You may have differing philosophies on certain things. Maybe you both want the same things in life, but you go about getting them in different ways. When you go through this process, you can learn things about your spouse you didn’t know.
Postnuptial Agreements Require Negotiation and Openness
When you go through the negotiation phase of getting your postnup, it requires that you are both open and honest about your assets, your spending, etc. You will know how much money is available, you will learn about all of the assets, including retirement plans, investments you might not have been aware of, etc. You’ll learn the good and the bad during negotiations.
In some cases, you might find that your spouse has been hiding certain things from you, which is sure to erode the trust you have in them. Other times, you might find that your spouse isn’t hiding anything, which will increase the level of trust. Ultimately, this process helps you to learn more about one another and to see behind the curtain.
The Process Can Bring You Closer Together
By going through negotiations for a postnup, you get to see where a lot of the problems in the marriage are. Knowing what they are and dragging them out into the daylight will give you and your spouse opportunities to make changes that could be good for both of you and your marriage. You can work together to find solutions for those problems.
The process helps you to get a better understanding of how you can talk to and work with your spouse. Even if you thought you had a decent relationship before, this new way of looking at things can help to make the relationship even stronger. This will also show you if your spouse is not willing to make changes, which can be just as enlightening. It will let you know whether getting a divorce could be a better solution for you.
It Makes Plans Just in Case
Although the postnuptial does have the potential to strengthen your marriage, there are some cases where it’s not enough. You and your spouse have irreconcilable differences and you’ve grown apart to the point that divorce will be the best course of action for you. If that’s the case, having your postnuptial agreement in place can help to make the divorce process easier and faster. While it might not be needed in all marriages, most should at least consider getting one of these agreements if they do not have a prenup.
How Can You Get a Postnuptial Agreement?
If you believe that getting a postnuptial agreement would be the best thing for your marriage, you will likely want to start by talking with your spouse. Explain to them the benefits discussed above and how it could help to bring you closer together and put you on the same page. Don’t look at it as a negative or an ultimatum. Look at it as a way to move forward together.
When you are ready, you will want to speak with attorneys about drafting the agreement. Ideally, both parties will have an attorney to ensure that the agreement is fair to both spouses.
You will find that if you still eventually pursue a divorce, having a postnup will help immensely. It will make it easier to settle the case since so much of the work has already been done and agreed to by you and your spouse.
When you choose an attorney, make sure they have experience when it comes to postnuptial agreements and that they can help with drafting, negotiating, etc. Ideally, both you and your spouse will have attorneys who will be helping with the process. This ensures that both spouses are treated fairly, and that the postnup does not favor just one of you. The courts frown on this.