The Postnup

by Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

One of the main topics at my latest seminar was prenup’s younger cousin, the postnuptial agreement, or postnup. “I didn’t sign a prenup,” one woman confessed, “and my husband’s spending habits are keeping me up at night. But if I demand that we draft a postnup, he’s going to think I want to divorce him.”

A common dilemma indeed. While postnups still lag far behind prenups in terms of popularity, they do fill a crucial function. Signing one does not mean you don’t trust your partner, or that you are getting a divorce. It is simply a way to take control over your finances. If you are contemplating one, here’s what you should know:

  1. As postnups are newer and fewer cases have been tested in court, they lack the solidity of their pre-marital counterparts.
  2. Child support issues cannot be settled in postnups.
  3. There can be no skeletons in your closet, should you go for a postnup. If it turns out you failed to include (or simply forgot) any assets at the time of the drafting, the postnup will lose its validity.
  4. You only need one lawyer in order to draft a postnup, but you need two to put it into practice.
  5. Postnups can be – and frequently are – used to update prenups. This is great news indeed. As your life together changes, you are not stuck but can adapt to the new circumstances.

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