Most people know what a prenuptial agreement is, but do you know it’s also possible to get a postnuptial agreement?
In both prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, the objective is to establish what happens if the parties get a legal separation or a divorce. Both can cover a wide range of issues, including division of property, financial assets, alimony, and child support. The only difference is that a prenuptial agreement is a contract that is drafted before a couple says “I do,” and a postnuptial agreement is created afterward.
If you do not have a prenuptial agreement and think divorce or separation could be a possibility, you may have good reason to seek a postnuptial agreement. It can also be valuable just for mutual peace of mind, even if you have a loving and secure relationship with your partner.
Sometimes a partner can react negatively to the idea of obtaining a postnuptial agreement. Usually, that is because they do not fully understand all of the reasons why a postnuptial agreement can be beneficial to both parties, as well as any non-adult children who may need care and support. Here are some tips for approaching the subject and negotiating an agreement that works for you and your partner.
- Start by having an open and honest conversation: You want to be clear about your reasons for wanting a postnuptial agreement, not be evasive, such as if you’re concerned about the possibility of infidelity. It’s important to state your motivations clearly and calmly and to listen to your spouse's concerns and objections.
- Emphasize the benefits: It can be helpful to compare a postnuptial agreement to an insurance policy. You do not want to have to use it, but you will be glad you have it if ever a disaster strikes. We are all only human, and despite our best efforts, we can all make mistakes. We also can’t predict the future. A postnuptial agreement can ensure that everyone is financially protected if the relationship ends, and minimize emotional trauma, conflict, and legal fees.
- Seek advice from an experienced mediator or attorney: If you have difficulty discussing the issue with your spouse, you may want to enlist help from a neutral third party. Sometimes logical arguments about uncomfortable subjects are easier to accept from a professional than from a loved one. An attorney or mediator can also facilitate discussions to ensure the agreement is fair and equitable for both parties.
- Be transparent about your assets and finance: This is not the time to start thinking about secretly stashing assets offshore, or hiding them from your spouse. It's important to be upfront and honest about your financial situation and assets when negotiating a postnuptial agreement. This will help to ensure that the agreement is fair and equitable and help build trust between you and your spouse. Dishonesty can derail the discussions and possibly be a strike against you in court later on if you do seek a divorce.
- Be flexible and open to compromise: If you want to get your spouse on board with creating a postnuptial agreement, you should be open to compromise to ensure it addresses their needs and concerns. Take an open-ended approach to solving problems and look for solutions that suit you both.