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The Post Nuptial Agreement
After a couple marries, they can sign a post nuptial agreement. A post nuptial agreement is the same as a prenuptial agreement, but it is drawn up and signed after marriage. Often times what happens is a couple begins to argue about finances after they've been married for a certain period of time. To alleviate the arguments, these couples have lawyers draw up a post nuptial agreement, which stipulates separate finances and conditions.
For instance, in such an agreement, the husband can be solely responsible for the mortgage payments and anything financially to do with the house of primary residence. Thus, if the marriage results in divorce, he can receive the house. On the other hand, the wife could be solely financially responsible for the couple's vacation home. If the marriage ends in divorce, she receives the vacation home. These are just two examples of separate finances.
There is an interesting, non-monetary twist to post nuptial agreements as well. CNN.com says, "Couples also have used them to decide such things as how often the mother-in-law gets to visit or how many boys-only weekends the husband gets to take."
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Why Do It?
Post nuptial agreements relieve a lot of fighting among couples. As attorney Scott Weston notes in the CNN.com article entitled "Quit fighting -- get a postnuptial agreement," these agreements can save a marriage from the brink of divorce. Not only do they work for celebrities and other wealthy couples, but common citizens are taking advantage of them as well.
The biggest benefit of this type of agreement is to stop the fighting over financial woes and/or which partner owns what. Separate finances for married couples are a current trend -- it's not the 1950s, where spouses share everything financially. Many couples need this defined financial plan for their marriages to survive.
The other benefit is to ensure a smoother divorce. Some couples who want to sign a post nuptial agreement are on the path to divorce. They want to have clear lines of what each one will receive after the marriage has ended. This agreement cuts down on the element of surprise and forces the couple to work out finances amicably before stepping into a court of law and going through an ugly legal battle. Also, since the divorce rate is so high, usually around 50 percent, even in love, stable couples want to prepare for any unforeseen bumps in the marriage road. They want to be protected and prepared.
As Weston notes, make sure to hire three lawyers for a fully legal post nup: one lawyer to draw up the papers, one lawyer for one spouse and one lawyer for the other spouse. And be prepared to pay $5000 or more in lawyer fees.
Now that you know about a post nuptial agreement and separate finances, you can decide if this is the right choice for your marriage and discuss it with your spouse. If so, make sure to take the proper steps listed above for the best agreement and happiest outcome, no matter the circumstances.
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"Quit fighting -- get a postnuptial agreement" by Robert DiGiacomo -- cnn.com/2008/LIVING/personal/04/02/postnuptial.agreement/index.html
Photos by Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net -- freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=659