Are you hurt because your spouse cheated on you? That triggers a divorce for many people. If you have been hurt this way, it is perfectly understandable if you are considering a divorce.
Earlier this year a marriage counselor recommended that a woman, living in an affluent suburb of Westchester County, contact me to help her with a Postnuptial Agreement. Although her husband cheated on her, she did not want a legal separation or a divorce. In fact, she was optimistic that her marriage could be saved and that a Postnuptial Agreement could help her accomplish that.
What is a Postnuptial Agreement? It is similar to a Prenuptial Agreement except that instead of making it prior to the marriage, it is made after the marriage. Both Agreements are similar in that they commonly provide for the following in the event of a divorce : (a) protect the existing assets and future acquired inheritances and gifts of each party so they are not shared with their spouse; (b) define what the marital assets will be and how they will be divided; and (c) address the issue of maintenance (alimony). Unlike a Prenuptial Agreement, a Postnuptial Agreement might also address custody, visitation and child support; such issues are rarely addressed in a Prenuptial Agreement because the couple usually has no children born of their relationship prior to the marriage.
Getting back to my client, she shared with me what happened regarding her husband’s affair. The other woman (“the paramour”) lived in a distant state. When the husband (a high six figure earner) broke off the affair, the paramour attempted extortion: she demanded that he pay her $300,000 and if he did not, she said that she would contact the wife and tell her about the affair. The husband had texts evidencing this attempted extortion. In order to take away the paramour’s power over him, the husband came clean with his wife about the affair and the attempted extortion. Then, the husband and wife began marriage counselling, and the wife came to me to discuss a possible Postnuptial Agreement. Financial security, the children and saving the marriage were important to her.
After some negotiation, a meeting of the minds was reached for settlement and the Agreement was drafted and signed. It provided that while the marriage remained intact, they would continue living together with their children as a family as they had been doing. However, if the husband resumed the affair or the marriage broke down for any other reasons, then the Agreement spelled out each spouse’s separate property, the marital assets and how they would be divided, the custody arrangement with the minor children, and the maintenance (alimony) and child support obligations.
After the Postnuptial Agreement was executed, my client was beaming. She told me she was very happy because the marriage counselling was going very well; she and her husband had genuine strong feelings for each other; the husband’s employment and income was better than ever; and if, heaven forbid, they ultimately got divorced, she felt good about the custody and financial terms in the Postnuptial Agreement.
So far so good! It has been about one year since the Postnuptial Agreement was signed. No news is good news! I assume that my client and her husband are a happily married couple.