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Postnuptial agreements grow in popularity

New Jersey residents are likely familiar with prenuptial agreements, but they may not know that couples may sometimes enter into such arrangements after they have walked down the aisle. Postnuptial agreements have been growing in popularity in recent years according to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, and they are often sought by couples as a way to calm fears when a marriage has hit a difficult patch.

More than half of AAML members say that they have observed an increase in the demand for postnuptial agreements since 2012. The goal of such agreements could be to help prevent the end of a marriage or to avoid matters such as child custody, spousal support and property division becoming heated and contentious if divorce proceedings are initiated. Ninety percent of AAML members say that the postnuptial agreements they draft contain provisions for the division of marital property, and about three quarters say that they have drawn up postnups that include spousal support clauses.

Drawing up a postnuptial agreement can be a cathartic process for couples. Emotions can run high as potentially divisive topics are discussed, but experts say that spouses are sometimes able to better understand the stresses on their relationships as a result. A postnuptial agreement can also calm nagging fears and allow spouses to look to the future with renewed optimism.

Family law attorneys may recommend a prenuptial or a postnuptial agreement be drafted even when the spouses involved do not have significant assets. Having frank discussions about difficult subjects can be more productive when court proceedings are not a looming possibility, and having such documents in place may provide the peace of mind that can salvage a troubled marriage. However, these agreements will prove of little value if they are unenforceable, and attorneys may urge spouses to work together toward a fair and reasonable accord.

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