Marietta Family Law Attorney Ponders: Can a Postnuptial Agreement Save Your Marriage?

Marietta Family Law Attorney Ponders: Can a Postnuptial Agreement Save Your Marriage?

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

 

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

Dreamstime_4129187

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


Prenup primer

These days, Hollywood is buzzing from some high-profile divorces. [Last November], Britney Spears filed for divorce from her two-year marriage to Kevin Federline, whose nickname has gone from "K-Fed" to "Fed-Ex." On the heels of that news, a day later, actors Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe also filed for divorce.

The difference between the two: Witherspoon did not have a prenuptial agreement, and Phillippe will likely have a claim to a substantial portion of her $60 million estimated net worth. The estimated $29 million in earnings from her next film may also be at stake — her ex could get half.

But Spears did have a prenuptial agreement. In fact, it was a 60-page agreement that protects most of her estimated $100 million fortune. Britney could get away with paying Federline a measly $300,000, which he says he is owed, plus $30,000 a month for half the number of years they were married, which would amount to one year. That’s pocket change for Britney. He is also contesting "communal property," but Britney and her lawyers are claiming that there isn’t any.

(more…)

Consider The Benefits of Prenups

She’s been divorced twice, but Vickie Parks is confident this time she’s found the right man.

The 49-year-old is engaged to Tom Rasmussen, 45. The Colorado couple is planning an August wedding. Parks has three grown children from her previous marriages; it’s the first marriage for Rasmussen. Parks would like them to draft a will at some point, but she thinks they’ll forgo a prenuptial agreement. "We don’t need that," Parks said. "The ring (symbolizes) the commitment that you make to each other for life."

The divorce rate is between 40 percent and 50 percent for first marriages, and is even higher for second and third marriages, yet only about 5 percent of married couples have a prenuptial agreement.

Splitting property

Prenuptial agreements can help to determine how property will be divided upon divorce or the death of one of the partners. They’re not just for the Tom Cruises and Katie Holmeses of the world, experts say. "I’m all in favor of them," said attorney Levi Brooks of Fort Collins, Colo. "Do they make the (divorce) process easier? You still have all the things they acquired during the marriage. But it eliminates (from the negotiations) the major things couples fight about – the property they had before they married," Brooks said.

Couples who might benefit from a prenuptial agreement are often reluctant to bring the subject up, he said. "Part of the hesitation is ‘I don’t want to talk about what happens if we get a divorce,’ " Brooks said.

Prenuptial agreements are becoming more common, but not as common as one might think – given the divorce rate and the increase in the number of couples who are marrying at a later age after they’ve already acquired assets, attorney Scott Walker said.

While Walker handles about 35 divorces a year, some years he doesn’t encounter one divorcing couple with a prenuptial agreement. But he drafts about three to four agreements per year for couples that are marrying.

"Folks are becoming less trusting of their hearts and more trusting of their brains. They want to hedge their bets. In divorce, strange things can happen," he said.

Those who don’t think about a prenuptial agreement until they’ve already tied the knot can draft a similar postnuptial agreement, Walker said.

The cost for prenuptial agreements ranges from a few hundred dollars to thousands. Experts recommend that both parties have a lawyer.

Following are cases in which couples should seriously consider the agreements:

1. When one or both partners has significant assets going into a marriage. A prenuptial agreement can make it clear how that property will be treated if a couple divorces.

2. In a second marriage in which one of the partners has children. A prenuptial agreement can spell out what the first family will inherit if that partner were to die.

Debt incurred before the marriage remains the responsibility of the person who originally borrowed the money, even without a prenup, Brooks said.

But a couple might be wise to decide before they marry whether they will use community property to pay off either partner’s premarital debt, suggests Vickie Bajtelsmit, professor of finance at Colorado State University and author of "The Busy Woman’s Guide to Financial Freedom" (Amer Management, 2001, out of print).

"I’ve heard horror stories where people went in with blinders on. They paid off the debt and their partner disappeared."

One reason people forgo prenups is the feeling that "it won’t happen to me," Bajtelsmit said. "When you are getting married, the first thought is not, ‘Are they going to take my stuff?’ " she said.

On the flip side, some brides or bridegrooms-to-be use prenuptial agreements as a way of avoiding dealing with a lack of trust in their partner, said the Rev. Gary Emery, a marriage and family counselor who leads premarital classes at a number of churches.

"There are those who want a prenuptial because they believe for whatever reason that they can’t trust their partner. They think, ‘I’m not going to deal with that’ and they jump to the prenuptial," Emery said. "The trust issues will follow all the way through the marriage."

SOURCE: Poughkeepsie Journal