Most people have heard of a prenup before, but I feel like there is a negative connotation with the word. When someone that I work with couples to create a postnuptial agreement, they often don’t know what I’m talking about, but some take the suggestion of a postnuptial as a sign of marriage trouble.
A postnup (or post-nuptial or post-marital agreement) is an agreement between spouses after they’ve already been married. A postnup can deal with many of the same things that a prenup deals with such as finances, property, and support. However, since you’re already married, there is a high level of fiduciary duty to your spouse that you don’t necessarily have before you get married. Also, the postnup always states that you didn’t enter into it anticipating a divorce. That being said, people decide to do a postnup for many different reasons, and that doesn’t always mean that the marriage is in trouble.
Creating Space to Talk
Sometimes couples are arguing over money or other issues in the marriage and just want to be able to sit down with a neutral party who can help them resolve their issues; we call this marital mediation. Marital mediation is not done because couples want to divorce but is done because issues are going on that they can’t seem to work out and if they don’t resolve them they may divorce. Marital mediation can be done in conjunction with marital therapy and allows the couple to work at problem-solving the marital issues and coming up with concrete solutions on how to proceed.
Identify Potential Points of Contention
Other times the postnup is to detail out property rights that might not have been otherwise under the law. I’ve had couples who had wanted to do a prenup and never did so have decided to do a postnup instead. This is not because anything is wrong but because they wanted to clarify certain issues.
It’s OK to Ask Questions
Now sometimes I do see couples where the postnup is being done because the marriage is in trouble and they’re not sure it’s going to last, but sometimes having that postnup helps the marriage turn around. Being able to admit that there are some issues that you need a professional’s support on is ok and even beneficial.
Wanting to explore a postnuptial doesn’t mean marriage trouble.
If you or your spouse are thinking about wanting to put together a postnup and you’re not sure what it means for your marriage, contact West Coast Family Mediation Center.