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Why do some married New York couples draft postnuptial agreements?

On Behalf of | Oct 25, 2023 | Property Division |

Millions of people marry without a prenuptial agreement in place, even though they have become more common over the past decade or so. Some married couples in New York may decide to negotiate a postnuptial agreement because they do not have a prenuptial agreement.

These marital contracts are very similar to prenuptial agreements, and they can help protect both of the spouses in a marital relationship. What typically inspires those already committed to a marital relationship to draft a postnuptial agreement?

The acquisition of new resources

Someone’s personal financial circumstances may shift dramatically through the course of a marriage. They might achieve sudden career success, or they might inherit a sizable amount from their parents. Although an inheritance would usually be separate property, married couples can very easily commingle what they acquire during marriage, leaving those assets vulnerable to division in the event of a divorce.

Starting a small business would also be a scenario in which someone might want to draft a postnuptial agreement to clarify that some of their assets will remain separate property. Those who have assets they want to protect may ask their spouses to sign a postnuptial agreement clarifying the status of those assets and what would happen to their property if they divorce.

Marital challenges

After years of cohabitation, spouses often go through difficult times together. Issues ranging from infidelity to addiction can make one spouse feel deeply concerned about how vulnerable they will be if they continue the marriage.

A postnuptial agreement allows someone to protect themselves from the misconduct of their spouse by preserving certain resources and possibly by imposing penalties for certain types of misconduct in the future. In some cases, the act of negotiating a postnuptial agreement will actually make it easier for spouses to work through their marital issues and help ensure that their marriage overcomes the challenges that it currently faces.

Every couple has unique concerns if/when they propose the creation of a postnuptial agreement. They, therefore, need to include unique terms in the agreement that offer benefits to both spouses. Understanding how postnuptial agreements can help to safeguard the interests of both spouses may help someone determine if a marital contract is right for their situation.