If you and your spouse didn't draw up a prenuptial agreement before you tied the knot, it's not too late to designate how you want to divide your assets and debts and how certain other matters, such as spousal support, will be handled if your marriage ends. You can use a postnuptial agreement to do the same thing.
The subject of a postnup may be even tougher to broach with your spouse than that of a prenup would have been -- particularly if the marriage has already started to unravel. Often, one spouse wants one to protect themselves. However, like a prenup, a postnup can benefit and protect both spouses. That's why each person should have their own attorney advising them in the process.
Many couples can benefit from a postnup if for no other reason than it should ultimately save them money and time in a divorce by designating how property and other assets will be divided. However, a postnup is more crucial for some people than others. For example, if one spouse is worth considerably more individually or has a much higher income than their spouse, it can help them keep more of what they may rightfully feel is their money.
If one spouse has taken a break from their career to be a stay-at-home parent, they may want a financial cushion if the marriage ends, and they suddenly have to re-enter the job market. Even a few years away can put people far behind in technical skills, connections in their field and other things they need when looking for a job.
If one or both of you has a business or you co-own a business and didn't get a prenup, you can use a postnup to codify how that business will be divided in a divorce or if one spouse will keep it.
Even with a postnup, if you have assets and debts that you want to keep separate, there are steps you need to take to avoid commingling them. Your attorney can provide valuable guidance on this and other issues as you work out a postnup with your spouse.