Some people who have heard of or executed a premarital agreement are unfamiliar with another legal instrument that can provide similar value and attend to a number of the same matters.

A post-nuptial agreement — sometimes also referred to as a separation agreement — is a document that some couples execute following, rather than prior to, their marriage. It can be of special utility in a number of instances, such as when one or both partners in a subsequent marriage have children from a previous relationship, or when significant assets accrue during a marriage, including inheritances.

If these were not accounted for in a prenuptial agreement, a couple can carefully consider them during marriage and draft an agreement that accurately reflects their intentions.

Many couples have related that the experience was valuable, even cathartic. The discussion surrounding a post-nuptial agreement often allows for a candid assessment of debts, spending habits, the concerns each party has concerning real estate, retirement, the children and a host of other matters.

Importantly, a post-nuptial contract can remove uncertainty in a marriage and provide for a common understanding of how numerous issues will be resolved. If a marriage does not last, the agreement provides a ready framework for divorce discussions and a separation agreement.

Many experts stress that latter point, that is, the ability of a couple to execute a carefully considered post-nuptial contract during marriage, when they are able to civilly discuss and dispassionately resolve relevant considerations concerning children, finances and their future. Doing so at a time when that is possible can spare them from negotiating those points later, at a time when their relationship is strained and perhaps even acrimonious.

Contact a family law attorney with experience in premarital and post-nuptial agreements for further information.

Related Resource: Huffington Post, “Why a Post-Nuptial Agreement Can Save Your Marriage” Oct. 7, 2011