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Why do people use postnuptial agreements?

A postnuptial agreement serves many of the same purposes as a prenuptial agreement, but spouses create and sign it even if you've already married. You know why couples use prenups, but why opt for the agreement after the wedding?

There are many reasons. For example, some couples have a sudden windfall. One spouse is given a huge inheritance from a parent, for example. With fewer assets, he or she didn't think a prenup was needed, but now that spouse doesn't want to risk losing the inheritance at all.

In other cases, couples know that the marriage is on the rocks. Before getting divorced, they set up a postnup as a guideline, and they also view it as an incentive. Both people know the outcome of a divorce in advance while they try to make the marriage last. If it doesn't, the divorce is that much easier since much of the work is already done.

Finally, some couples wanted a prenuptial agreement, but they never got around to doing it. Planning a wedding takes a lot of time and work. The date crept up on them. They knew they couldn't sign too close to the wedding or it may look like duress. So, they just decided to get married and then sign a postnup after the fact. Their wishes haven't changed, but the timeline has.

These are just three reasons why people turn to postnuptial agreements, and they help to show how important it is to understand all of the legal tools at your disposal when considering the life of your marriage and a potential divorce.

Source: Investopedia, "Postnup vs. Prenup: How They Differ," Amy Bell, accessed Sep. 23, 2017

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