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Why a postnuptial agreement may be a good idea

It's always a wise idea to have a prenuptial agreement before you get married in order to detail how assets and debts will be divided in case of a divorce. However, for spouses who didn't get a prenup before tying the knot, a postnuptial agreement is always an option.

Asking for a postnup can be tricky if there are problems in the marriage, because it can signal to your spouse that you're already thinking about how things will be split in a divorce. Further, it generally involves one or both spouses giving up legal rights they would otherwise have in a divorce — something they may not be keen to do.

However, there are a number of other reasons why couples opt for a postnup:

-- If parents decide to hand down all or part of a family business to a child, they may want that child to get a postnup so that his or her spouse can't get a share of the business if the marriage ends.-- For older couples where one spouse has been out of the workforce for many years while the other has been earning an increasingly-larger salary, postnups can help ensure the stay-at-home spouse gets a large enough financial settlement to live comfortably after a divorce. This can avoid having to battle for a larger alimony settlement in court.-- Sometimes a spouse will ask for a postnup if he or she is concerned about the amount of money the other is spending. It can be a way of protecting his or her financial future and not be saddled with the other's debts should they split up.

-- Some couples opt for a postnup as part of their agreement to continue to work on the marriage after a situation has occurred such as a spouse's infidelity. In some cases, they'll have a clause in the postnup that the person being cheated on will receive a larger share of the couples' assets if the infidelity reoccurs.

As with a prenup, each spouse should have his or her own attorney when drafting a postnup. A Florida family law attorney experienced with postnups can work to help ensure that you get what you're seeking and that the document will hold up in court.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Postnuptial agreements gaining traction with couples," Tim Grant, accessed May 10, 2016

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