How many days have you spent talking to family members and friends concerning their problematic marriages? “I can’t talk to my spouse at all,” is the typical lament. It appears married people can talk to anyone but their spouse when their marriage is in trouble. When they do manage to communicate with each other, it usually results in a yelling match. Couples can try to discuss issues through a marriage counselor, but it’s not always an effective way to resolve deep-rooted issues, like fears concerning financial security, or a spouse’s spendthrift ways.
One way to recognize and resolve these issues is to create up a postnuptial agreement. These agreements, sometimes referred to as “postnups”, are devised and carried out after you are married. They codify the responsibilities and duties of each spouse. Actually, marriages are an financial partnership in which both parties are able to benefit from a written agreement.
Creating a postnup may be a surprisingly psychotherapeutic experience for couples. It is an opportunity to examine their assets, liabilities, and spending habits, and to look at the effect of financial strain on their emotional lives. Complaints can be aired, and self-doubt expressed. Couples can discuss matters like how much spending money needs to be given to children from a previous marriage, or how many girls’ or boys’ night outs are reasonable. More importantly, the couple can set conditions reasonable to each party.
Example of a Saved Marriage
Here’s a good instance of how a postnup saved a marriage. It’s a story about spouses, constantly fighting over money, that saved their marriage by getting into a postnup. The husband’s business liabilities had squandered through inheritance money, and the couple had 2 mortgages on their home. The wife was concerned she might be evicted out of her home, whereas the husband believed his wife didn’t have belief in his business. Even though the couple had discussed these matters with a marriage counselor, they could not put their issues to rest. Lawyers were able to suggest positive solutions to their situation. They devised a postnuptial agreement in which the house was transferred into the wife’s name, and the spouses agreed to divide the mortgage and other household costs. The wife no longer was concerned of losing her home, and the husband no longer believed his wife was curtailing his business.
More and more married couples are devising postnups. When you’ve remarried and have children from a prior marriage, and did not sign a prenup, then you should seriously think about entering into a postnup.
Prenup FAQ Checklist
Below is a checklist and examination of matters generally addressed in the postnup:
- Which property is jointly held and/or individually? Are there legal, sentimental or other reasons why modifications should be made?
- Which partner is accountable for paying off liabilities? Are liabilities in joint name? What way can liabilities be repaid and what are the importance in paying back of liabilities?
- In which way are earnings distributed? Is there an unfairness in how the spouses spend or save income? Is there an approved portion of earnings that each party is able to spend/save? Are each party chipping in to the family’s income as best they can?
- What role does a spouse take, if any, in a business now or down the road?
- How should a business be terminated should divorce, disability or death occur?
- What are your marital goals for your future; are your priorities to pay for your child’s private schooling, college education or to buy a motorcycle or for saving for retirement? How are you going to execute these goals?
- In what way are the funds divided in a blended family? How much support should be given to children from prior marriages? What are the ages and necessities of the children? What funds should be used to pay for these necessities? Are children with “special needs” involved?
- What happens should one spouse comes down with an ailment or becomes debilitated? Have you thought about buying long-term health care insurance, disability insurance, have you carried out a health care proxy or POA?
- What safeguards do you have should one another’s passing away? Is there life insurance for the other; up-to-date wills; thought about estate planning?
Postnups regard these and other financial and legal matters. Still, trust is a vital factor in the creation of a postnup agreement. The wife might believe that the husband is concealing assets while he thinks that she has a hidden agenda thereby producing an adversarial environment of distrust. However, postnups shouldn’t be a battle to the end and it doesn’t need to be.
Necessities of a Prenup
At this phase, what is necessary is that the postnup involves a common comprehension of how to manage disputable financial issues. When a postnup is finished, the couple has a chance to go beyond their disputes and to make their marriage workable. If their marriage does break up, the postnup agreement turns into the steppingstones for a separation agreement. This saves the spouses from the emotional strain of negotiating with their partner when things have turned for the worse, and also saves legal fees.
It is better for married couples to talk about tough matters while they are still devoted to the marriage—prior to any battle lines being drawn. Sometimes it’s better to hold those talks in the office of your attorneys, instead of with a marriage counselor.
Lynn J. Maier, E. (2011, December 7). How a Postnup could save your marriage. HuffPost. Retrieved August 25, 2022, from https://www.huffpost.com/entry/why-a-postnuptial-agreeme_b_997219
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