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Too late for a prenuptial agreement? Try a postnuptial agreement

When planning a wedding, many couples may not find time to take the steps to plan the division of assets in the event of divorce. Even more often, one partner wants to start a conversation about drafting a prenuptial agreement, but fears that even discussing the issue will lead to hurt feelings and discord with their future spouse. Whatever the case, there are a variety of reasons why the majority of married couples in Colorado and across the nation do not have prenuptial agreements.

Just because months -- or years -- have passed since a couple became married, it does not mean that it is too late to address financial concerns within your marriage. Postnuptial agreements are growing in popularity among married couples who want to formalize their financial agreements, so it is a legal tool that is useful for those couples who aren't even planning on splitting.

Many couples recognize the need to adjust and formalize their financial agreements as their circumstances adjust over time in order to limit potential bitterness down the road.

A postnuptial agreement can be helpful when one spouse receives a significant inheritance or invests a great deal of time and resources into a new business during the course of a marriage. The agreement can outline how to divide these types of assets fairly in the event of a divorce. A postnuptial agreement can also address issues of financial independence, even as a couple remains married. An example would be one spouse decides to leave the working world to raise a family. In this case, a person may want to receive a monthly stipend from the family budget in order to give her a measure of financial security.

The laws concerning postnuptial agreements vary from state to state. However, the practice of addressing financial issues after a wedding is gaining traction in Colorado, since couples everywhere have financial concerns to address. In order to understand what options you have after your wedding, it may be helpful to seek trustworthy legal advice.

Just as with a prenuptial agreement, drafting and signing a postnuptial agreement is a serious matter, and one that should be handled with care and sincerity. At the same time, it's a very practical measure. Having financial matters formalized in writing can bring peace of mind to both spouses while they're married and if they decide to dissolve their marriage.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, "More Spouses Turn to Postnups," Rachel Louise Ensign, June 16, 2012

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