Postnuptial agreements — after-the-wedding contracts between couples — are becoming more popular, according to a recent survey of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, which found that 49 percent of its members saw a rise in postnuptial agreements in the past five years.
Some couples are using them as Cupid’s antidote for keeping financially unstable marriages together, said lawyer Gregory Herring, who has had wealthy clients choose postnuptial agreements over divorce.
"More and more start divorce proceedings because of financial issues and then find a way to come to terms," he said of his clients in Ventura, Calif. "Oftentimes, parties have a power struggle that really arises from insecurities."
Postnuptial agreements are the same as prenuptials, only the timing is different. The prenuptial is agreed to before marriage, the postnuptial is agreed to after. Both concern how assets will be divided if the marriage ends.
Terms of the agreement can cover a number of issues, including disputes over potential finances, assets, children, even household chores.
It’s the older couples, typically in second or third marriages, that want them, lawyers say. They may have children from their first marriage whose interests they wish to protect, or a bigger pot of assets that they’re not willing to risk losing. The bottom line, they say, is financial security.