Beyonce, Heid Klum, Rupert Murdoch – what do they all have in common? Many would say an obscene amount of money, and they would be correct. But these well-known celebrities share something else in common: they all allegedly signed postnuptial agreements with their respective spouses.
Postnuptial agreements are a contract that establishes rights to property, assets, and other possessions in the event of divorce or a spouse’s death. They’re similar to their sister agreement – the prenuptial—except they occur after the marriage; hence, “postnuptial” instead of “prenuptial”.
This formerly taboo marital contract—once seen only in uber wealthy circles—has grown popular among younger couples of all socioeconomic standings.
This newfound popularity is driven by changes in marital culture, according to observers referenced in an article published by Harper’s Bazaar.
The driving force behind postnuptial agreements
Firstly, millennials are getting married at older ages and often have more assets at the time of marriage. Spouses entering marriage with more assets have an innate desire to ensure those assets are protected in case of separation or death.
Postnuptial agreements as a means of asset protection are especially valued in instances of transmutation, when individually owned property becomes marital property. For example, if you inherit a vacation house from a deceased parent, and you’re married, this becomes marital property. With a postnuptial agreement, you can ensure that a possession of such sentimental value ends up in the right hands.
According to the article, younger generations also perceive marriage differently; they view marital unions as practical life choices between two consenting adults, rather than spiritual unions. In a sense, their understanding of marriage is more transactional. Decades-long business relationships are still governed by contracts, so why not husband and wife?
Next steps in seeking a postnuptial agreement
Postnuptial agreements may not be for everyone, but they may be of great benefit to many couples. Interested spouses can always consult with an experienced family lawyer before signing any kind of legal document.
Family law lawyers have experience with the law governing visitation, child custody, and divorce. They’re able to tease out issues that might not be apparent given the literal language of a contract, ensuring the rights of all parties are protected and saving everyone considerable hardship down the road.