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Postnuptial agreement advice -- even for happily married couples

If a happily married spouse decides to inventory and value financial accounts and other assets of the marital estate, will that send the wrong message to a spouse? A recent article suggests it may actually have a positive impact.

Indeed, in a jurisdiction that permits no-fault divorce, such as Michigan, the reasons why one spouse may decide to get a divorce can be seemingly trivial. The requisite 60-day waiting period might be designed to discourage divorce filings in the heat of an argument. But ultimately, fault is irrelevant for purposes of initiating a divorce proceeding, and only one spouse can initiate it. In fact, it’s so easy to file for divorce that the article described a spouse that informed his soon-to-be former spouse of this action via Twitter. 

A misconception shared by many couples is that divorce is something within their control. Although each spouse has a duty to contribute to the health of a relationship, the reality of free will is that a spouse’s actions are ultimately beyond any attempts at control or planning. For that reason, prenuptial agreements are a wise decision. Even after a marriage, couples might benefit from entering into a contract, called a postnuptial agreement, which resolves matters of property division, child custody and spousal support.

For a marriage to last, the article suggests that each spouse must acknowledge the uncertainty presented by the future and each partner’s free will. Periods when the relationship is flourishing should be cherished. During times of disagreement or trouble, control or co-dependence is not the answer. Instead, a spouse might simply focus on his or her own behavior, and in doing everything possible on his or her own end to help the marriage succeed. At the same time, if circumstances change to the point of necessitating divorce, a postnuptial agreement can help make the process smoother.

Source: huffingtonpost.com, “Don't Believe in Divorce? Why It Doesn't Matter,” Lisa Arends, Nov. 10, 2013

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Postnuptial agreement advice -- even for happily married couples | Peter A D'Angelo, Attorney at Law, PLC