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Move over prenup, the postnup is here

There is hardly anyone in the United States who hasn't heard about a prenuptial agreement. These pre-marriage contracts have been gaining popularity for years as career-driven individuals brought more to a marriage than just love. And as many of our readers know, these handy legal documents became incredibly helpful during asset division proceedings, which can be a headache in and of their own.

But what about those married couples who did not sign a prenup prior to getting married? Are they doomed to face the twists and turns of a messy divorce or is there another way to have a prenup after you've said I do?

According to a large majority of family law attorneys across the country, including here in Maryland, the answer to this question is yes. Dubbed a postnuptial agreement, this cousin of the prenup can be drafted and signed after a marriage has already taken place and offers the same simplification for divorce as a prenup. As you probably already know, a couple's assets can change drastically throughout the course of a marriage; throw in divorce, and you have a recipe for property division disaster. Like prenups, postnups can be tailored to a couple's specific situation without the backlash of hurt feelings and bitter feuds.

While postnups have caught on in just about every state, they may not be offered in others, which may require couples to consider talking to a lawyer about whether this is a viable option for them. It's also important to remember that just because you and your spouse sign a prenup or a postnup doesn't mean you have to use it in the future. Having a safety net to fall back on, however, may be a welcome relief, especially if a divorce comes on suddenly.

Source: USA Today, "Why postnups may be picking up," Kelley Holland, July 14, 2013