Didn’t get a prenup? There may still be time to get a post-nuptial agreement, a post-wedding day option to protect personal assets that’s growing in popularity nationwide, especially among women. According to a recent poll of American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyer (AAML) members, more than half of divorce attorneys (51 percent) cite an increase in post-nuptial agreements over the past three years; 36 percent of these same lawyers report an increase in wives initiating the requests.
So just what is a post-nuptial agreement — and how does it differ from a prenuptial agreement? A post-nup is a voluntary contract between a couple who has already married. Just like prenups, post-nuptial agreements can cover a wide variety of issues, including possible conflicts over finances, property, assets, support, and probate matters. They are especially useful for clarifying personal property and assets from marital property acquired over the course of the marriage. For example, Heidi Klum and Seal are a high-profile couple who didn’t have a prenup, but eventually had a post-nup put in place, many speculate right around the time Heidi began work on Project Runway, when her income likely greatly increased.
However, you don’t have to be a celebrity to get a post-nup. “Postnuptial agreements are becoming a valuable tool to avoid trouble spots from escalating into serious conflicts that can jeopardize a marriage,” says Ken Altshuler, president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, in a press release from the organization. “It is interesting to note the increase in wives requesting postnups, because often one of the most common motivators for these agreements is a dramatic change in the financial status of one or both partners during the marriage.”
Do you need a post-nuptial agreement? Factors to consider include when making this decision include:
- Do you have a prenuptial agreement in place, but wish to alter its terms?
- Have you had a recent change in financial status or acquired assets and want to clarify personal vs. marital property?
- Do you and your spouse want to outline division of marital assets now in the event of divorce later on?
Under New Jersey law, post-nuptial agreements cannot decide child custody matters. However, New Jersey post-nuptial agreements can help married couples plan for a division of all their assets and debts should they separate, divorce, or die.