This week I wrote an article (password protected) about the increasing use of prenuptial agreements by folks about to be married.
During interviews with several family law attorneys, I learned that not only are prenups on the rise, but some attorneys are seeing more couples turning to postnuptial agreements as well.
According to Minneapolis attorney Lisa Spencer, postnups are similar to prenups but are signed after a marriage. The same rules apply, she said, with one big difference. If a divorce occurs and the postnup is challenged within two years of being signed, it’s presumed to be invalid. But it’s a rebuttable presumption, Spencer stressed.
So why enter into an agreement after getting married? What’s the point?
My research says that couples may sign postnups after undergoing some kind of change, perhaps in financial circumstances, or if things are rocky between the parties and they want to set parameters around the relationship.
In Spencer’s experience, postnups are generally signed by older couples who have been together for a while, but no longer want to be. They often have complicated estates and untangling them in a divorce would actually be more difficult and result in less property and less cash flow to the parties than if they stayed together. So the couples stay married and use a postnup to outline what’s going to happen while they are married. “Then they go about living their separate lives,” Spencer said.
That strikes me as a little strange. If one of the parties meets someone else, obviously they can’t marry that person. And personally, I’m pretty sure that I would not want to be romantically involved with someone who is technically still married — even if he is living apart from his spouse. Call me old-fashioned, I guess.