Post-nuptial agreements gain steam with married couples

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - We've all heard of pre-nuptialagreements, but the latest "contract" to gain steam among spouses isn't signeduntil after the honeymoon is over!

Brian Morache and his wife Mariam are past divorcees whorecently tied the knot.

"Both of us have been married twice. Her first one endedok;  the second one was a nightmare,"confesses Mr. Morache.

This time, Mariam wanted to protect her assets, so she and Briansigned a post-nuptial agreement.

"I think there's a bit more peace of mind, a bit morestability in a sense," Mr Morache advises.

A post-nup is a legally binding document that's similar to apre-nuptial agreement, but is signed after a couple says their vows.

With divorce rates and litigation costs on the rise, the AmericanAcademy of Matrimonial Lawyers says a growing number of couples are lookinginto these so-called "marital contracts."

Ken Altshuler with the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyersasserts that, "Any two people who feel that they're in conflict and feel that amarriage may be dissolved should try and define what they would do in the eventof a divorce in advance. It does bring clarity to the situation."

Some happy couples are also signing post-nups for a sense ofsecurity.

The terms of the agreement can deal with practicallyanything, from checking and savings accounts, to debt and child support, topersonal property.

"We have manyinstances where people talk about who is going to have custody of the pet. I'vehad different pieces of china and silverware that were divided in advance,"allows Ken Altshuler.

For Brian and his wife, working out who gets what wassimple.

"What we come intothe marriage with is what we would each leave with," insists Mr. Morache.

Brian and Mariam were lucky. Allison Pescosolido, co-founderof Divorce Detox, says post-nups canoften be tricky to approach.

"Both people aregoing to have to give up what their ideal is. You also want to walk away if itstarts getting heated and set a specific time to get back together," cautionsAllison Pescosolido.

Pescosolido also recommends reaching out to a therapist. Nomatter how you choose to go about it…

"The most importantthing is a full disclosure - finances, assets, and debts," Ken Altshuler explains.

Otherwise, the post-nup could be thrown out in court.

Brian and Mariam look forward to a lifetime of love, but considerthe post-nup a kind of insurance policy.

Mr. Morache says, "It's almost like putting on a life jacketwhen you're going to go boating. You don't anticipate using it, but you want itthere."

Currently, Ohio is the only state that prohibitspost-nuptial agreements.

For more information on how post-nups are handled in thisstate, contact a lawyer in your community.

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