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Postnuptial agreements may save a struggling marriage

When you and your spouse married, the topic of a prenuptial agreement may never have crossed your mind. Maybe you felt you had no reason for such a plan, especially if you had little money and few assets. Perhaps you fully intended to write a prenuptial agreement, but the confusion and stress of planning a wedding put the idea on the back burner until it was too late.

However, it may not be too late. In fact, apparently more married couples are entering into postnuptial agreements, which are similar to their pre-wedding counterparts except that they are signed after you are already married. Of course, the reasons why couples do this are varied and often unique to each couple's situation. However, you may find some commonalities with your circumstances.

What does a postnuptial agreement contain?

In addition to missing the opportunity for a prenuptial agreement, you may be considering a postnup because the financial circumstances in your marriage have changed, such as one of you starting a business, receiving an inheritance or accumulating significant, individual debt. However, like many couples, you and your spouse may be looking for a way to save your marriage.

Many times, couples want to restore harmony to their marriages after an indiscretion or some inappropriate behavior. A postnuptial agreement can facilitate a reconciliation and help couples work out their differences by bringing common conflicts to the surface. Like a prenuptial agreement, your postnup may address some of the following topics:

  • How you will divide marital assets
  • The specifics of spousal support
  • Who pays for legal fees
  • How you will separate retirement accounts
  • The consequences of future infidelity

You may feel that a postnuptial agreement is your last and best option to save your marriage, and in some cases, the open discussions they require do help to bring a couple closer. However, if this is not the case and your marriage doesn't survive the rocky time you are going through, the existence of a postnuptial agreement will certainly simplify the divorce process.

Are postnups even legal?

While prenuptial agreements have been widely recognized in Minnesota and across the country for generations, the postnuptial agreement is a relatively new tool, and some courts are reluctant to accept them as valid. Other courts may challenge certain aspects of a postnup, such as alimony.

To ensure your postnuptial agreement is valid and contains the appropriate language that will minimize the chances of a court rejecting its contents, the assistance of legal counsel is advisable. In fact, without separate legal counsel for you and your spouse, it is not likely your postnup will win the approval of the court.

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