While we always recommend that couples about to marry consider a prenuptial agreement (especially those with substantial assets at stake), many couples continue to marry each year without prenup. It may be a difficult situation to bring up, but making these decisions at the start is often easier than waiting until things have gotten contentious. It is a reality couples will likely have to face, as 40-50 percent of first marriages end in divorce; around 60 percent of second marriages end in divorce; and nearly 75 percent of third marriages do so.
For couples who did not use a prenup, a postnuptial agreement can be just as effective. This is particularly useful for couples in community property states like Texas. In these states, all property that a couple acquires while they are married belongs to the couple, even if title to the property is in only one spouse’s name. Should the couple later divorce, the court will look at community property as belonging to both spouses.
Postnuptial agreements permit couples to specify exactly how they would like to treat property that the couple acquires. This is particularly useful for couples who own a business. If just one spouse owns and operates the business (and perhaps did so before the couple married), he or she may want to keep that property exclusively. Ordinarily, proceeds from that business during marriage would become part of the marital community property.
Postnuptial agreements can help a business continue to operate with as little disruption as possible in the event of a divorce. They are also helpful for other situations, such as when couples have co-mingled funds, gifts or inheritances that they use together. Have you used a postnuptial agreement? What benefits did you find in using one?
John K. Grubb & Associates, P.C. – Houston divorce lawyers