While some parties might breathe a sigh of relief in New York if they didn't have to go through the ordeal of a prenuptial agreement, they might think twice when their spouse presents them with post-nuptial paperwork after they have tied the knot. When couples quickly make the trip to the altar, they may not have time to set up a prenup and arrange for the division of assets in the event that the marriage ends.
One family attorney indicated that couples usually pursue postnups for three reasons. First, they might not have had time to sign prenup before they married. Second, they might be attempting to resolve issues in their marriage. Third, the couple needs to set up a financial plan because one partner received a significant inheritance or gift. Many states are starting to accept postnuptial agreements, which can address all sorts of topics in much the same way that prenuptials address subjects. These might include a limit on spending, where the couple will live and division of property and assets in the event of a divorce. Between 2009 and 2012, more than half of all family attorneys saw an increase in the number of postnups, according to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.
The June Supreme Court ruling that brought the end of the Defense of Marriage Act could have the unexpected result of increasing the number of postnups. With same-sex marriages on the rise, these couples will need to make decisions on how to handle property they brought into the marriage and what to do with assets should the marriage end.
Prenups and postnups can protect assets in a marriage and during a divorce. A family lawyer might be able to help clients set up the paperwork for these agreements.
Source: NBC News, "If you ran out of time for a prenup agreement, try a postnup", Kelley Holland, July 05, 2013