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What Is a Postnup? Do You Need One?

By Jenny Tsay, Esq. | Last updated on

Prenups are pretty common nowadays, but what is a postnup? Unlike prenups, which are entered into before a marriage, postnuptial agreements are signed after the wedding has taken place.

Even if you're happily married, a postnup can be a good financial tool that can help smooth out money-related tensions in a relationship.

Since financial disagreements tend to cause heartache, postnups could be the key a happy marriage.

What Is a Postnup?

A postnup is a legal document that's signed by the couple after they're married. This legal instrument details the couple's marital property and what would happen to those assets if they divorced or separated.

According to NBC's "Today," money is often cited as one of the top reasons for unhappiness in a marriage. However, the process of putting together a postnup can actually alleviate some of that financial tension. This is because postnups can, for example:

  • Help determine which spouse owns which assets,
  • Provide some groundwork for how to negotiate probate issues, or
  • Specify that one spouse's student loan debts aren't joint marital debts.

It's recommended that each individual spouse seek out his or her own attorney when drafting a postnup. It's also ideal to have a "neutral" third lawyer look over the agreement.

Can a Postnup Help Your Marriage?

Postnups can potentially help save a marriage, and indeed many postnups are executed when couples are nearing their breaking point.

In fact, the mediation process of sitting down and analyzing your joint financial issues can be therapeutic. Case in point: CNN once reported on a couple who had been through several marriage counselors over their financial burdens with no avail. Then they learned about postnuptial agreements and each retained an attorney to hash out their concerns. In the end, they came up with a solid plan that both parties agreed to, and it saved their marriage.

If have more questions about drafting postnups or how a postnup can help in your specific situation, consult an experienced family law attorney near you.

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