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Do I need a postnuptial agreement?

Marriage is hard. You don’t know where life will take you in the future, how you’ll change or grow or how having children will affect your relationship. While the U.S. divorce rate dipped to 46% in 2016, many couples still find themselves calling it quits.

For those who may be fearful of a future breakup, completing a postnuptial agreement can help avoid a painful, disastrous divorce, especially if you or spouse have significant assets.

Here are some reasons a postnuptial agreement might be in your best interests:

  1. You entered your marriage with significant financial assets. A postnuptial agreement will ensure you leave your marriage with the assets you brought into it.
  2. You own your own business or you inherited a family business. If you want to protect your business’ assets in a divorce, a postnuptial agreement can detail if your spouse will receive a share of the business in divorce and what that share might be.
  3. You have children from a prior marriage. A postnuptial agreement can insure your children from a prior marriage will receive a fair share of inheritance upon your death and can dictate that if you kept your family home, it will stay with you if your remarriage fails.
  4. You receive a large inheritance. Money you inherit during a marriage can be comingled with marital assets and becomes a joint asset. If your inheritance is a large sum of money, you may want to protect that in case of divorce.
  5. You decide to become a stay-at-home parent. Taking time off to raise young children is a dream of many parents, but it also can have serious financial impacts. One spouse most likely will be leaving their career during their peak earning years. A postnuptial agreement can protect a stay-at-home spouse by ensuring they receive their share of the assets that accumulate while they are raising children.

For some, prenuptial agreements have a stigma. Many couples are uncomfortable hashing out property division before even getting married. Postnuptial agreements offer the chance to have that discussion and hopefully will leave you better about what might happen if you get divorced. Consulting a family law attorney is always the first step to drafting a legal and fair postnuptial agreement.

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