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Spotlighting the utility and rationale of a postnuptial agreement

Consider it a second chance.

That is how increasingly more couples in Michigan and nationally view postnuptial agreements after they contemplated executing yet ultimately declined to craft a prenuptial contract prior to marriage.

How does a postnuptial agreement differ from a prenup?

Many parties looking at marital contracts might be hard pressed to note any material differences between an agreement signed before marriage and one executed thereafter.

Fundamentally, it’s really just about timing. As one in-depth online overview of marital agreements notes, “postnups differ from prenups only by the fact that they’re entered into after a couple has already gotten married.”

That after-the-fact consideration logically means that many couples thinking about creating a marital contract have had some additional time to think about things if they have foregone a prenup and now contemplate a postnuptial agreement. That can promote valued clarity and focus in negotiating and executing such a contract.

What matters can be addressed in a postnuptial agreement?

There can logically be some overlap in the topical focus of a prenup and postnup. Both agreements often spotlight matters such as the following:

  • Financial safeguards carved out for children from a prior marriage or relationship
  • Protections for a business created by one of the spouses before marriage and/or for family inheritances
  • Defined processes and outcomes for a marital dissolution proceeding in the event a marriage fail
  • Security provided for a spouse who terminates a working career in lieu of assuming primary home/family responsibilities

A postnup additionally provides for this possibility: the chance to redo or materially modify an already existing marital contract.

Marital contract execution can prove invaluable to a spouse. An experienced family law legal team can fully explain why.