The Wall Street Journal reports that postnuptial agreements are becoming increasingly popular. This is consistent with our experience in our family and divorce mediation practice. The reasons, in New York State, vary from case to case. Spouses may be contemplating a divorce down the road after a rough patch in the marriage, for example. And, while couple’s therapy may be helping after a crisis, the realization that there are assets to divide and children to raise and provide for may leave lingering concerns. Sometimes, a wealthy parent may ask for, or even insist, that a post nuptial be negotiated prior to sharing family wealth or adding junior to a family business entity.
Often, when couples negotiate a prenuptial agreement, circumstances change–differ from what was contemplated years before, prior to the wedding. In those cases, postnuptial agreements can serve to update in accordance with the current reality. In our office, mediating these agreements may entail a similar scope of considerations as does a full and final divorce agreement; however, some couples wish to address only a discreet number of issues or assets. Unlike a divorce, though, the parties are remaining married and the mediator must be aware of the delicate dynamic of a business negotiation between spouses. That said, postnuptial agreements can (and often do) serve as precursors to the divorce agreement. As with prenuptial agreements, there is an understanding that the terms will be incorporated in a final divorce, should the parties separate.