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Two reasons people use postnuptial agreements

Postnuptial agreements are, in many ways, the same as prenuptial agreements. They lay out guidelines to be used if the couple decides to split up, such as stating that specific assets must go to one party or the other. People use these to protect their assets and ensure that they get favorable terms during the divorce.

So, why would people want a postnuptial agreement, which is signed after a marriage, if they didn't want a prenuptial agreement before the ceremony? What changed during the marriage? Below are two possible reasons.

1. One spouse is not faithful to the marriage.

This doesn't always lead to divorce. The couple may consider counseling and other tactics to save the marriage. The spouse who was unfaithful may apologize and say he or she wants to stay together, and agreeing to a postnup that favors the other person demonstrates that he or she really means it. This can influence the other person to put off the divorce and try to work things out.

2. One spouse quits a career to watch the kids.

When the couple got married, they felt there was no need for a prenup because they both worked. If they decide to have kids five years later, though, one spouse may choose to quit working and help raise the kids. Now, that spouse may want a postnup to make sure he or she is taken care of financially. There's a lot of risk to quitting a career, which may be impossible to start back up again years later.

These are just two examples, but they help to illustrate how a postnup can be helpful and why it may make sense, even if a prenup didn't. Always be sure you know what options you have to protect yourself from a potential divorce.

Source: ABC, "Forget the Prenup: Why You May Need a Postnuptial Agreement," AJ Smith, accessed Dec. 23, 2016

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