Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Rise of Postnuptial Agreements

For years, contracts between a married couple were void because they were against public policy. Recently, certain states have validated postnuptial agreements so long as certain rules regarding financial disclosure and the like are followed. As a result of changes in financial positions during a marriage, more and more people are entering into postnuptial agreements as a way to protect assets and/or solemnize intentions for a marriage. In a recent poll of American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyer (AAML) members, 49% of the divorce attorneys cited an increase in postnuptial agreements during the past five years. There hasn't been much research as to why, but it appears that the request to have this type of agreement drawn up is coming from both spouses. The main purpose of a postnuptial agreement is to stop conflict and build a stronger relationship. I haven't seen any research as to whether the divorce rate is lower for couples who enter into postnuptial agreements. However, since couples who discuss big questions before marriage and continue to keep the lines of communication open after saying "I Do" are more likely to stay married, it seems logical that couples who have postnuptial agreements have a higher marriage success rate. I'm of the belief that anything that can help reduce the divorce rate in America is a good thing, so long as it isn't against public policy. However, I am sceptical as to whether postnuptial agreements actually decrease the number of divorces, or are just a good way to protect assets much like a prenuptial agreement.

If you would like to read about the AAML poll, see:

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