Cobb County Divorce Lawyer & Family Law Attorney Ponders Whether a Postnuptial Agreement Could Save Your Marriage!

Cobb County Divorce Lawyer & Family Law Attorney Ponders Whether a Postnuptial Agreement Could Save Your Marriage!

postnuptial agreements atlanta

Think “prenuptial agreement” and you think “I love you!”, right? Perhaps not! In my Marietta and Atlanta divorce and family law firm, I find that even though an important legal document like this can protect your bank account and other assets, many folks consider a prenup as a dealbreaker. According to Casey Bond, in an article published at GoBankingRates.com, asking for one can be construed as lack of trust by the party requesting it. Thus, it can be a challenge to persuade a potential spouse that having a prenup is a good idea when they have this attitude. This post summarizes Ms. Bond’s article on the radical concept of using postnuptial agreements to save a troubled marriage.

On the flip side, many engaged couples in Marietta and Atlanta believe that signing a prenup is equal in importance to the marriage preparations as it is to reserve the church and register for gifts. But suppose you and your spouse chose not to enter into a pre-marital agreement concerning your finances and you now regret that choice? Your answer may be a postnup instead.

Prenup and Postnups : The Differences

Postnuptial agreements, often called post-marital contracts, are much less commonly used than prenups, but their popularity has been increasing in recent years. Essentially, these two contracts are created for the same purpose, but a postnuptial agreement is made after a couple has been married instead of doing it before the wedding.

The postnup’s purpose is to protect each spouse’s individual income and assets in case the marriage ends, whether as a result of divorce or death of one of the spouses. They are widely used in community property states where entitles one spouse is automatically to the other spouse’s assets when they become married. Remember, though, that every state’s laws and requirements surrounding postnuptial agreements are different.

Postnuptial Agreements: Who Needs Them?

Please understand that signing a postnup does not mean that you expect your marriage to end in divorce. These documents certainly are not for everyone, but a postnup can do a lot of good for many marriages under special circumstances:

Revising a Prenup: Many couples who choose to create a postnuptial agreement already have a prenuptial agreement in place. A postnup is often needed when one spouse has a significant shift in finances, like a promotion or inheritance, and the spouses find it necessary to modify the terms of the original prenuptial agreement. Indeed, there can be numerous changes to a postnup as the financial situation within a marriage changes over time.

Protect a Business: Many business owners will want postnups because a divorce could seriously threaten assets of the business or adversely affect outside partners and investors.

Fights About Finance: Any married person knows that finances and money are often a great source of strain on the relationship. This may be more true for some couples than for others. Occasionally couples who frequently argue over their finances and at risk of divorcing over the subject find that a postnuptial agreement can relieve that stress and once again strengthen the marriage.

Adultery: Postnups are also frequently used as resources for managing an unfaithful spouse. In marriages where a spouse has strayed and engaged in an adulterous relationship with another partner, the other may require in a postnuptial agreement that if it occurs again, the philanderer must pay a large amount of cash to their husband or wife. The question of whether or not this will actually improve the marriage is open to question.

Creating a Postnuptial Agreement

If you are already married and you believe the two of you need a postnuptial agreement, you should understand that the process is not as simple as writing up who-gets-what in case you get divorced and having a lawyer approve it. In Georgia, for a post-marital contract to be enforceable, both parties should have individual legal representation, they must provide full disclosure of each party’s financial situation (i.e., no secret bank accounts) and the contract should be reasonably fair to both parties.

In summary, if you find yourself in one of the categories listed above, You might can benefit greatly from having a postnuptial agreement and it could well be beneficial to create one. Whether it’s a business requirement, or whether it could actually save your marriage, if you believe a postnuptial agreement is a good idea, discuss it openly with your spouse. He or she may agree it is a good idea, too.

In our Marietta and Cobb County family law firm, we frequently prepare postnuptial agreements and prenuptial agreements. Please contact us at 770-425-6060 to schedule a Georgia Family Law Strategy Session to discover more about these documents and whether they are appropriate for you and your spouse or spouse-to-be.

SOURCE FOR POST: Could a Postnuptial Agreement Save Your Marriage?, by Casey Bond in GoBankingRates.com

Atlanta Divorce Lawyer & Family Law Attorney Suggests: A Postnuptial Agreement Could Save Your Marriage!

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Think “prenuptial agreement” and you think “I love you!”, right? Perhaps not! In my Marietta and Atlanta divorce and family law firm, I find that even though an important legal document like this can protect your bank account and other assets, many folks consider a prenup as a dealbreaker. According to Casey Bond, in an article published at GoBankingRates.com, asking for one can be construed as lack of trust by the party requesting it. Thus, it can be a challenge to persuade a potential spouse that having a prenup is a good idea when they have this attitude. This post summarizes Ms. Bond's article on the radical concept of using postnuptial agreements to save a troubled marriage.

On the flip side, many engaged couples believe that signing a prenup is equal in importance to the marriage preparations as it is to reserve the church and register for gifts. But suppose you and your spouse chose not to enter into a pre-marital agreement concerning your finances and you now regret that choice? Your answer may be a postnup instead.

Prenup and Postnups : The Differences

Postnuptial agreements, often called post-marital contracts, are much less commonly used than prenups, but their popularity has been increasing in recent years. Essentially, these two contracts are created for the same purpose, but a postnuptial agreement is made after a couple has been married instead of doing it before the wedding.

The postnup’s purpose is to protect each spouse’s individual income and assets in case the marriage ends, whether as a result of divorce or death of one of the spouses. They are widely used in community property states where entitles one spouse is automatically to the other spouse’s assets when they become married. Remember, though, that every state’s laws and requirements surrounding postnuptial agreements are different.

Postnuptial Agreements: Who Needs Them?

Please understand that signing a postnup does not mean that you expect your marriage to end in divorce. These documents certainly are not for everyone, but a postnup can do a lot of good for many marriages under special circumstances:

Revising a Prenup: Many couples who choose to create a postnuptial agreement already have a prenuptial agreement in place. A postnup is often needed when one spouse has a significant shift in finances, like a promotion or inheritance, and the spouses find it necessary to modify the terms of the original prenuptial agreement. Indeed, there can be numerous changes to a postnup as the financial situation within a marriage changes over time.

Protect a Business: Many business owners will want postnups because a divorce could seriously threaten assets of the business or adversely affect outside partners and investors.

Fights About Finance: Any married person knows that finances and money are often a great source of strain on the relationship. This may be more true for some couples than for others. Occasionally couples who frequently argue over their finances and at risk of divorcing over the subject find that a postnuptial agreement can relieve that stress and once again strengthen the marriage.

Adultery: Postnups are also frequently used as resources for managing an unfaithful spouse. In marriages where a spouse has strayed and engaged in an adulterous relationship with another partner, the other may require in a postnuptial agreement that if it occurs again, the philanderer must pay a large amount of cash to their husband or wife. The question of whether or not this will actually improve the marriage is open to question.

Creating a Postnuptial Agreement

If you are already married and you believe the two of you need a postnuptial agreement, you should understand that the process is not as simple as writing up who-gets-what in case you get divorced and having a lawyer approve it. In Georgia, for a post-marital contract to be enforceable, both parties should have individual legal representation, they must provide full disclosure of each party’s financial situation (i.e., no secret bank accounts) and the contract should be reasonably fair to both parties.

In summary, if you find yourself in one of the categories listed above, You might can benefit greatly from having a postnuptial agreement and it could well be beneficial to create one. Whether it’s a business requirement, or whether it could actually save your marriage, if you believe a postnuptial agreement is a good idea, discuss it openly with your spouse. He or she may agree it is a good idea, too.

In our Marietta family law firm, we frequently prepare post-nuptial agreements and pre-nuptial agreements. Please contact us at 770-425-6060 to schedule a Georgia Family Law Strategy Session to discover more about these documents and whether they are appropriate for you and your spouse or spouse-to-be.

SOURCE FOR POST: Could a Postnuptial Agreement Save Your Marriage?, by Casey Bond in GoBankingRates.com


Post-Nuptial Agreements: A Mid-Marriage Change in the Rules May Make Sense

A friend telephones me with the news: She and her husband are back together. Both are academics, and they’ve had a rocky few years. She came to Washington to pursue a dream of working on health-care policy. He was left in his university town. Her one-year fellowship turned into a five-year sabbatical. A commuter marriage, she said. Abandonment, he said. They were inching toward the edge of the divorce cliff.

Now they are starting over. They’ve settled their arguments over money. They’ve divided up some of their assets. They are maintaining two households but agree to try to spend no more than 10 days apart in a month. They are about to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary. "Deep down we really do love each other," she says. "If you once loved in a passionate way, you can reclaim that."

The news is the tool this 60-something couple used to reclaim their marriage: the post-nuptial agreement.

The post-nup is a contract signed during marriage to manage financial affairs and divide income and assets in the event of death or divorce. Unheard of 25 years ago, this mid-marriage document is gaining a foothold in American matrimonial culture. It was even featured on the television program "Boston Legal." In a recent survey of members of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 49 percent said they had seen an increase in post-nuptial agreements in the past five years.

Like its better-known cousin, the prenuptial agreement, the post-nup is responding to two demographic trends: the overall aging of the population and the increasingly common pattern of marriage, divorce and remarriage along with its complicated legacy of children from different relationships.

One purpose of the post-nup is estate planning. "That is a perfectly good reason to do it," says Jeff Atkinson, principal author of "The American Bar Association Guide to Marriage, Divorce & Families" (Random House, 2006). It is a way to direct retirement benefits to children of a previous marriage, or to an adult child with special needs. Or to make sure a beloved summer cabin stays in the family by making it separate from the couple’s community property.

For my friends, the post-nup removed money as an issue in their marriage and allowed them to focus on their relationship.

To be sure, many couples fight about money — one is a spendthrift, the other a saver. He buys a new car without consulting her. She resents the money going to college tuition for his children. And in late-life marriages, what’s fair when one spouse earns more money than the other? A post-nup can give couples predictability and a sense of security about their financial future.

But using a post-nup to heal a troubled marriage is controversial.

"There are cases where that’s advisable," says Gregg Herman, a family law attorney in Milwaukee. "But I only recommend it where there is an equal desire to stay married and work on the marriage." These are committed couples with "soft" problems of incompatibility, from struggling with retirement issues to coping with boredom. "Counseling and joint therapy are critical to these people," Herman says.

The post-nup is not recommended for couples who are confronting the "hard" problems: physical or mental abuse, infidelity, substance abuse. Nor for people who are really planning to break up and want to use the post-nup as a Trojan horse settlement in any future divorce battle.

Partners are rarely in the same place in a troubled relationship, and one spouse is often more committed to the marriage. The temptation is to use the post-nup as leverage to change behavior. For example, if one has a drinking problem or has had an affair but wants to preserve the marriage, the other makes staying together conditional on signing an agreement that says in effect: If you slip up again, you give up your rights — you have to pay me a lot of money in support and I get the house, too! This kind of post-nup is really an ultimatum. Money becomes the glue of the marriage. As Herman says: "Money is rarely a good bond for keeping people together. People stay together because they love each other, not because of financial reasons."

States vary in how they view the legality of post-nup agreements. Spouses must fully disclose their income, assets and debts. They should each have legal representation — and plenty of time to think about the terms so that neither is pressured to sign. And most important, the agreement has to be fair to both. Post-nups are held to a very high standard of fairness in financial matters, lawyers say, perhaps an even higher standard than are pre-nups.

These agreements are not about love. They can help couples deal with financial issues. But by itself, a post-nup cannot save a marriage.

SOURCE: Washington Post in an article by Abigail Trafford
Thanks to Al Nye at the Maine Divorce Law Blog for the heads up on the article!

Quit fighting — get a postnuptial agreement

Can a piece of paper save a marriage? One suburban Boston couple figured it was worth trying so they entered into a legal agreement to manage a major source of tension in their relationship – money.

The couple, in their late 50s, met in college, dated for six years, married and had two children. And they fought constantly over their finances.

The husband and wife, who asked to remain anonymous, had taken out two mortgages on their home and spent inheritance money to pay down debt from the husband’s consulting business.

"I would lie awake at night thinking we’re going to lose the house and lose everything we ever worked for," says the wife, who teaches at a local university. "This was with me 24-7."

She valued stability; he saw debt as a means of building his business. Several marriage counselors couldn’t help them come to terms with their different attitudes toward money.

Then they came across an article about marital mediation, and it mentioned postnuptial agreements.

"It’s the same concept as a prenuptial agreement," says Los Angeles attorney Scott Weston, co-author of "I Do, You Do … But Just Sign Here: A Quick and Easy Guide to Cohabitation, Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements."

"Instead of being done before a marriage, it’s done during a marriage," he says.

Postnups, while much less common than prenuptial agreements, are gaining in popularity. Nearly 50 percent of attorneys polled by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers reported an increase in the number of postnups from 2002 to 2007.

The agreements usually are used to settle financial issues, says Weston, whose high-profile clients have included Robert Iger, chief executive of the Walt Disney Company, as well as author Terry McMillan and boxer Oscar de la Hoya.

Postnups might be used to determine who owns assets, set a budget for household expenses or remove a business from the table in the event of a divorce. Couples also have used them to decide such things as how often the mother-in-law gets to visit or how many boys-only weekends the husband gets to take.

‘I was able to breathe easier’

A postnuptial or mediated agreement can help save a couple’s relationship — if that’s their goal.

"In cases where couples want to stay married, it can apply very efficiently," says Cambridge, Massachusetts, attorney John A. Fiske. "If they don’t want to stay married, it’s hopeless."

The Boston couple, who had been married 30 years, fell in the former camp. Fiske helped them put into writing a mutually acceptable financial plan. They agreed to transfer their house into the wife’s name, both to address her fear of losing the asset and to insulate it from the husband’s business debts, and to split the mortgage and other household expenses.

That was 18 months ago, and they credit the post-nuptial agreement with helping them become a mutually supportive couple again.

"In my case, I wanted financial security — not necessarily a new BMW every year, but to feel some financial security," she says. "What he wanted was emotional support from me."

The agreement largely has quelled their arguments, they say, even though the husband’s consulting business is still between $150,000 and $200,000 in debt.

"I don’t think the issue has ever totally gone away," the wife says, "but I feel like I was able to breathe easier… without this being in the forefront all of the time."

Most couples do use the postnups as a blueprint for an eventual divorce, according to Elinor Robin, a Boca Raton, Florida, conflict strategist and mediator. But she thinks successful mediation can reveal the potential to save a marriage.

"The very process of working on this arrangement is a positive exercise for most couples," Robin says. "People will say (a postnup) ruins the romance, it ruins the love. If you can’t have difficult discussions, that’s a death knell for a marriage."

Postnup takes three lawyers

Both husband and wife should have a postnup reviewed by their own lawyers or it’s not likely to withstand a legal test. For the Boston couple, that meant $5,000 in fees: Fiske drew up the agreement and then they each hired individual lawyers review it.

Getting a second opinion also allows the couple to make sure the terms are right for them. The husband’s lawyer advised him against signing over the house, but he says he trusted his wife and felt it was the right move.

"I was told she could walk off with the house and leave (me) in the cold," he says. "I viewed it as, I had used up my amount of equity in the house with the amount of debt I had. It wasn’t (my wife’s) fault. I would rather have the debt on my shoulders and not have the emotional problems."

Both view their postnup as the reason they made it to their 30th wedding anniversary.

"We both feel it saved our marriage," the wife says. "It didn’t make our problems go away, but it allowed us to keep going as a couple." 

SOURCE: CNN.com

Postnuptial Agreements

According to the New York Times on December 9, 2007 postnups are becoming more popular (the article appears below). Dr. Phil has featured them on TV, and lawyers belonging to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers who were polled state that they are being asked far more frequently to draft postnups. Usually, say these lawyers, the postnup is entered into after discovery of some marital infidelity and perhaps only props up a marriage for a while. The postnup does allow the parties to define their rights and obligations in the event of a divorce or separation.

Postnups are not exactly like prenups. A prenuptial is entered into prior to marriage. Presumably, the parties have a lesser ability to understand or to discern the true net worth of each other. Often, the parties to a prenup have disparity in their net worth and often in their business acumen. One party may have a far weaker position, and thus, fairness has been interjected into the requirement for enforcement of a prenuptial agreement. Case law in Michigan allows a prenup to be invalidated if the party opposing enforcement can prove that

  • It was obtained through fraud, duress, mistake, or misrepresentation or nondisclosure of material fact,
  • It was unconscionable when executed, or
  • The facts and circumstances are so changed since the agreement was executed that its enforcement would be unfair and unreasonable.

SOURCE: New York Times

SOURCE FOR POST: Updates in Michigan Family Law

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Postnups becoming ‘new’ prenups

Sam Hasler of the Indiana Divorce and Family Law Blog recently posted this report on an article on post-nuptial agreements:

Who else cares about your marriage?

Besides the in-laws and your closest friends? How about the boss?

Postnuptial agreements are gaining popularity as an estate-planning tool, and some hedge funds and private-equity firms have asked their top executives to sign them to protect their companies in case of a messy divorce, according to attorneys and financial advisers.

***

Postnup agreements are similar to prenuptial agreements, but they are crafted and signed after a couple is married. Attorneys say that the agreements actually can strengthen marriages, because the couple is able to resolve disputes about money and then focus on the marriage itself.

This from the Investment News article, Postnups becoming ‘new’ prenups. The article appears below:

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