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Can a postnuptial agreement help you save your marriage?

To succeed, a marriage requires constant effort on the part of both spouses. For couples who experience serious issues in a marriage, divorce may seem like the only option. Behavior such as gambling, wasteful spending, adultery, or substance abuse can quickly undermine the foundation of trust and respect that a healthy marriage gets built upon.

If your spouse has cheated or is struggling with addiction, you may think that divorce is the best way to protect yourself, your children, and your financial future. However, a postnuptial agreement could help you overcome the issues that are threatening to destroy your marriage.

While many people are familiar with prenuptial agreements, fewer people understand the potential benefits from executing a postnuptial agreement. Like a prenuptial agreement, a postnuptial agreement can help outline expectations and obligations for your marriage. Instead of executing the document before you marry, you and your spouse can create and sign a postnuptial agreement at any point during your marriage. Doing so can provide incentives to work on the marriage or even penalties if your spouse doesn't make important lifestyle changes. That's one reason postnuptial agreements are increasingly popular.

A postnuptial agreement can serve as a line in the sand

If your marriage is teetering on the brink of dissolution but you want to fight for it, a postnuptial agreement is a great option. Such an agreement can take into account your specific circumstances and bind your spouse to taking certain actions. To give just one example, a postnuptial agreement could require that you and your spouse commit to therapy to work through your issues both as individuals and as a couple.

Working with an experienced family law attorney can help ensure the document is legally sound and offers protection to both you and your spouse. The terms can include financial penalties for continuing a problem behavior. For example, if you almost filed for divorce because your spouse cheated, your postnuptial agreement may specifically state that you receive a larger portion of marital assets if there is another affair in the future. The same is true of other problem behaviors, such as gambling, excessive drinking, or using illegal drugs. Your postnuptial agreement could help you fight for and save your marriage. With contractual obligations that could impact finances and custody arrangements, your spouse may become more willing to work on serious issues. While the potential for a future divorce still exists, a postnuptial agreement is a way of you both committing to working on your marriage. It also offers financial and social protections for you, should your spouse continue with destructive or unacceptable behavior.

Not every couple can benefit from a postnuptial agreement. To find out if a postnuptial agreement is appropriate given your circumstances, speak with an experienced family law attorney.

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