Postnups can address unforeseen problems which arise during a marriage

Married couples can enter into postnuptial contracts which are tailor-made to confront the problems they actually find themselves confronted with.

An article in Psychology Today notes that, in exasperation, one spouse sometimes accuses the other spouse of not being the person they married. In many instances, the accusation may be accurate. It is observed that one fundamental truth in life is that, over time, things change and people change. Given the fact that people do change over the course of a lengthy marriage, a postnuptial agreement is one way of helping married couples adapt to changes which might otherwise cause their marriage to founder. Since 1969, the Arizona Supreme Court has recognized the validity of postnuptial agreements.

In the scholarly article regarding postnuptial agreements, Sean H. Williams highlights one advantage that a postnup has over a prenuptial agreement. Williams observes that individuals who are madly in love are "notoriously optimistic" about the chances they will live happily ever after. Further, they are not particularly clairvoyant as to just what potential problems and disputes will arise during their marriage. As a result, they either do not sign a prenuptial agreement or, if they did, they failed to contemplate the exact problems which threaten to destroy their marriage.

Williams says that, with a postnuptial agreement, a couple does not speculate as to what problems they may face in their future, but can create postnuptial contracts by extrapolating from their current "special" circumstances. For example, a married couple who have a special needs child requiring constant attention may want to consider a postnup that would take into account the fact that the husband or wife may need to be a stay-at-home parent. The couple could, for example, agree that the stay-at-home parent would receive certain valuable marital assets in the event of a divorce-over and above what would typically be expected-as compensation for having sacrificed a lucrative career in order to care for the special needs child.

Postnups have been touted as useful in salvaging a marriage that has encountered stormy weather. NBC News reports that postnups are increasingly viewed as providing a last chance for saving a deteriorating marriage that a couple does not want to throw in the towel on just yet. Postnups can be useful in situations where one spouse has done something wrong and is eager to make contractual concessions in order to keep the marriage afloat. Marital infidelity is perhaps a good example of a situation where concessions made in a postnup might be an incentive to keep the marriage going.

A new use for postnups

Postnuptial agreements are often touted as being highly versatile. The Daily Beast reports that, where one spouse comes to have less than complete trust in the other spouse, a postnup containing a digital privacy clause might be useful. A postnup with a digital privacy clause would provide for contractual repercussions in the event that a spouse surreptitiously gleaned information from the other spouse's smartphone, laptop or tablet to use, in some fashion or form, against the other spouse. Undoubtedly, the interest in digital privacy clauses stems from the fact that social media postings, texts and emails have increasingly found their way into evidence in divorce proceedings. Digital privacy clauses are a relatively new phenomenon but could become more popular over time.

Seeking legal help

If you are currently married and are interested in a postnup, you should contact an Arizona attorney experienced in handling family law matters. An attorney will be glad to discuss the advisability of a postnup with you and, if you desire, draft one aimed at accomplishing your goals.

Keywords: postnuptial agreement