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Postnuptial Agreements: Can They Save Your Marriage?

June 20, 2020

You have probably heard of prenuptial agreements, but did you know that you can also sign a postnuptial agreement after you are already married? People’s motivations for signing postnuptial agreements vary; sometimes they sign them after a temporary separation, agreeing on guidelines that both spouses will follow after they reconcile. Some couples who sign postnuptial agreements know that they will eventually divorce; maybe they are already living separately but do not want to separate their finances yet. In these cases, they want to reach an agreement before about how they will separate their property when they decide they are ready to divorce. While wedding planning websites might tell you that it is cynical to sign a prenup, prenuptial agreements can sometimes prevent divorce, and so can postnuptial agreements. The family law attorneys at Iwanyshyn & Associates in Greater Pittsburgh can help you draft a postnuptial agreement that will make your divorce painless or even keep your marriage intact.

How Postnuptial Agreements Work in Pennsylvania

Like a prenuptial agreement, a postnuptial agreement is a legally binding contract. If you get a divorce, the judge will enforce the terms of the postnuptial agreement unless you argue that you signed the agreement under duress (for example, if your spouse threatened to divorce you and leave you penniless unless you signed), or unless the judge determines that the terms of the agreement are so unfair to one party that the agreement is unconscionable.

In a postnuptial agreement, you can stipulate that certain assets or debts will be counted as separate property even if they were acquired during the marriage. For example, perhaps you took out a loan to help your son pay for tuition at an expensive private university, even though your husband was against the idea; he wanted your son to enroll at a state university or take out a loan in his own name. You can stipulate in the postnuptial agreement that, if you divorce, you alone will be responsible for repaying the loan.

You can also use the postnuptial agreement to promise to do certain things starting now, instead of only if you divorce. For example, if financial infidelity is an issue in your marriage, you can promise to keep all your money in joint accounts. If extended visits from in-laws are a problem, you can agree on a schedule limiting the number of days per year each spouse’s parents can stay with you.

Would Your Marriage Benefit from a Postnuptial Agreement?

Postnuptial agreements can restore trust, but only if both parties are completely transparent when drafting them. A postnuptial agreement that is just another lie in a marriage already plagued by dishonesty will not prevent a divorce or make it any less messy. You and your spouse should review your postnuptial agreement with a lawyer, together or separately, before you sign.

Iwanyshyn & Associates Helps Couples Draft Fair and Practical Postnuptial Agreements

A family law attorney can help you have a successful marriage or painless divorce by crafting an appropriate postnuptial agreement. Contact Iwanyshyn & Associates in Greater Pittsburgh & Western PA about your postnuptial agreement. 🡺 412-419-3448