By Lisa Shidler
CHICAGO — Postnuptial agreements are gaining popularity as an estate-planning tool, and some hedge funds and private-equity firms have asked their top executives to sign them to protect their companies in case of a messy divorce, according to attorneys and financial advisers.
A recent poll of members of the Chicago-based American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers found that 49% were writing more postnup agreements than they were five years ago, and just 1% said they were writing fewer.
Postnup agreements are similar to prenuptial agreements, but they are crafted and signed after a couple is married. Attorneys say that the agreements actually can strengthen marriages, because the couple is able to resolve disputes about money and then focus on the marriage itself.
We mentioned ‘post-nups’ in our Dish on April 4th. It turns out that some people are worried about money and its equation to power in relationships. A number of matrimonial attorneys think the agreement actually strengthens marriage. Their rationale is that a decent postnup will settle money issues while giving the couple time to focus on other issues, like why he insists on having a 22 year-old secretary or why she can’t have a home-cooked meal waiting for him when he gets home from a tough day at the cracker factory. We’re told that half of all marriages end in divorce, but it seems like there is an awful lot of energy spent on preparing for that eventuality. Maybe the legal fees would be better spent on marriage counseling or on great vacations. We just hope this leads to a sequel to Intolerable Cruelty that features the Massey Postnup. Clooney, Catherine Zeta Jones, Billy Bob Thornton—they could call it Cruelty of Even Less Tolerance.