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Postnuptial agreements likely becoming more common

Many legal experts expect the use of postnuptial agreements in marriages to increase in the near future. In fact, according to a survey conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 51 percent of divorce attorneys surveyed indicated that they witnessed an increase in postnuptial agreements from 2009 to 2012.

Specifically, postnuptial agreements, or postnups as many refer to them, are gaining popularity among couples today. Similar to prenuptial agreements, postnups are designed for couples that are already married but wish to preemptively address their property rights should the marriage end in divorce.

There are several reasons that couples may consider drafting a postnup after they have already been married. For instance, often times couples will create a postnup simply because didn't have enough time prior to their marriage to draft a prenuptial agreement. In addition, postnups are common when one of the spouses receives a substantial inheritance or gift with various conditions attached. Lastly, couples will use postnups when their marriages are on the rocks because it is believed that taking money issues out of the equation will help couples work through their other problems and save their marriages.

Interestingly, several experts believe that the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) may also contribute to the uptick in postnups experienced in recent years. In particular, some believe that many couples will want to deal with sorting out property rights given the current laws now that DOMA is no longer in force, especially if couples didn't want to delay their marriages in order to draft prenuptial agreements.

Postnups serve a very specific purpose in marriages. They often make asset division simpler should the marriage end in divorce, and postnups may help some couples eliminate arguments about money that have a negative impact on the relationship and the marriage.  Source: USA Today, "Why postnups may be picking up," Kelly Holland, July 14, 2013

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