Post-Nup Agreements Continue to Rise in Popularity
More than 51% of divorce attorneys noted a post-nup increase in a recent American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) survey.
This little-known agreement between spouses is increasing in popularity every year in the Las Vegas Valley.
A post-nup, as opposed to a pre-nup, takes place after the wedding. It outlines the division of assets and liabilities in the event of a divorce or death.
“Postnuptial agreements are a valuable resource for spouses, particularly those with significant wealth and assets,” noted Stacy Rocheleau, founder and managing partner of RIGHT Lawyers. “In many cases, they can help protect the marriage by preventing small conflicts from transforming into major marital issues.”
Rocheleau and the divorce attorneys at RIGHT Lawyers attribute the increase in popularity to several factors:
- More couples are signing prenuptial agreements before their wedding.
- Post-nup agreements are often used to update an existing pre-nup contract.
- Women are beginning to earn more wealth. When this happens after the marriage, they want to arrange a postnuptial agreement that protects their assets.
- Some women request post-nups because they decide to leave their career to stay at home and raise their children. Noting that this is a significant financial risk, they ask for a post-nup that will protect them in the event of a divorce or death. According to the survey released by the AAML, 36 percent of divorce attorneys in the organization noticed an increase in women requesting postnuptial agreements from their husbands after they wed.
- Major financial events that occur after the marriage takes place often necessitates the need for a postnuptial agreement. For example, a spouse who inherits a significant amount of family fortune may want to create a postnup to avoid financial frustrations in the future. Another example of wealth change might be a substantial business success that takes place in the years following the marriage. A postnuptial agreement provides the spouse with a share of the assets without jeopardizing the health and success of the business or the fortune that was inherited.
- Spouses are using postnuptial agreements to end arguments over finances and assets. A postnuptial agreement can restore peace and security to a marriage. It gives each party the peace of mind that they need to move forward from the financial issues in their marriage.
“While many spouses recognize that postnuptial agreements would protect their financial security as well as enhance the stability of their marriage, it’s not always an easy topic to broach,” explained Rocheleau. “We work with our clients directly to help them maneuver through this conversation and ultimately create a contract that is beneficial and agreeable to both parties. These contracts not only protect a marriage, they truly can help the relationship grow and prosper.”
If a post-nup sounds right for you, use the following tips to have the most effective conversation.
- Be sure to approach the topic in a comfortable location that is ideal for a serious conversation. Bringing it up over a morning scone at the local coffee house is not the best place to start. This is a space where you can be interrupted and may not be able to have this significant, private discussion. Choose a quiet, intimate location and make sure that you both have the time to devote to the conversation.
- Choose the right time to begin the conversation. If the two of you are not getting along or are in the middle of an argument, then suggesting a post-nup is not going to help. Opt for a peaceful time, when you both are willing to discuss it and compromise to accomplish the goal.
- Bring in a third party if you need to. If you do not feel comfortable bringing up the idea of a post-nup alone, consider scheduling a meeting with an attorney or a financial advisor. This professional can help explain the benefits of the contract in a way that is informative. They can also help you emphasize the reasons why you want to create a postnup.
While the State of Nevada recognizes verbal contracts, they can be difficult to substantiate in court.
The best option is to have a properly written contract between the two of you. Having it set up by a lawyer is a good idea.
Keep in mind that a lawyer can only represent one of you. For the same reason you should not use one divorce attorney for both spouses when getting a divorce, using two different lawyers is best for a post-nup. That way you know that both sides have fair representation.
It is possible to have a do it yourself post-nup agreement. (Don’t forget to take the document to a notary.) Just make sure to outline everything in explicit detail. Also, avoid putting down something that can be subject to change, like child support amounts.
Many couples will save money by writing their own post-nup agreements. Then they take those drafts to divorce attorneys for improvements or clarification.
A post-nup agreement is not a bad thing. Neither does it signal that you may want to split from your spouse in the future or vice versa. It is only an extra layer of protection against unknowns in the future.