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Could a postnuptial agreement help prevent your divorce?

Most people who follow modern pop culture are familiar with the idea of a prenuptial agreement. These documents allow people with substantial assets to outline the expectations for their marriage, as well as how the division of assets and spousal support should get handled in the event of a divorce. Fewer people understand the similar, but notably different, postnuptial agreement.

Also called "midnups," these agreements let couples who have already married put new rules or expectations in place for their marriage and in the event of a future divorce. Many times, couples turn to these devices for protection from potentially marriage-ending problems, like infidelity.

Other times, these legal forms can help a couple handle changes to their relationship, such as new assets or changes in career or living situations. If you live in different states, share ever-growing assets or have other unique terms to your marriage, a postnuptial agreement could help you set forth expectations and standards specific to your current marital situation.

Postnuptial agreements can help you come back from the brink

For a large number of couples seeking postnuptial agreements, there has already been some kind of breech of the marital contract. In some cases, there may have been an affair. In others, drug addiction, physical or sexual abuse, pornography or even gambling could be the root of the marital discord.

Regardless of the initial cause, these couples may try to save their marriage by adding stipulations to their marriage. Many times, that could mean creating some kind of financial penalty for future issues or financial incentive for maintaining the marriage. For example, the level of spousal support could get linked to the number of additional years the couple remains married. Other times, one spouse could lose out on support or forfeit certain assets if he or she continues problematic behaviors, like cheating or doing drugs.

A postnuptial agreement could also make divorce easier

In some cases, you simply can't repair the damage done to your marriage with a new contract. Perhaps one spouse can't abide by the terms of the postnuptial agreement, or maybe forgiveness isn't as easy as you had hoped. Thankfully, so long as your postnuptial agreement is legally valid, you don't have to worry about a protected and embarrassingly public divorce.

Your postnuptial agreement can outline the exact terms of your divorce, from how to handle child custody and support to asset division. Everything from your retirement accounts or pension to the equity in your home can be handled in your postnuptial agreement, allowing for a much faster, uncontested divorce process. Sometimes, the agreement may also include a no contest clause or confidentiality clauses to ensure that the details of your shared marriage don't end up everywhere.

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