On the brink of divorce? Do a post-nup and save your marriage

While some New York couples plan ahead and do a prenup before taking the plunge, others get married without any documents in place to protect present or future assets and resources.

However, this can lead to problems down the marital road that sometimes end with the couple facing off in divorce court. But there are ways to stave off a looming divorce, and one of them may be a post-nuptial agreement.

A properly written post-nup can help feuding couples sort out financial disputes by detailing the equitable distribution of assets and monetary resources between the couple without them having to resort to a divorce.

A post-nup can be especially helpful when the parties have completely different attitudes about and experiences dealing with money. One may naturally be more of a spender and a risk-taker while the other craves security and abhors running up debt.

One Los Angeles attorney and author explains it thusly. "It's the same concept as a prenuptial agreement. [But] instead of being done before a marriage, it's done during a marriage."

Postnups are still done less often than prenups, but are enjoying an uptick in popularity. Almost half of the attorneys who were polled by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers reported seeing an increase in the number of postnups in their practice from 2002 to 2007.

And while the agreements usually settle financial concerns, postnuptial agreements can also be used to decide issues like the division of household labor, how frequently and for how long a mother-in-law may visit or the number of boys-only weekends or girls' night out the husband and wife are allowed.

The goal of a post-nup is to carefully spell out expectations and responsibilities to avoid one or both spouses feeling taken advantage of or placed in a financial bind. Well-crafted by an experienced attorney, a post-nup can make the difference between marital happiness and divorce court.

Source: CNN, "Quit fighting -- get a postnuptial agreement" Robert DiGiacomo, Oct. 16, 2014

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