Million-dollar divorce settled with a postnuptial agreement

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Whether you’re in the middle class or a high-asset earner, chances are you will encounter the same frustrations when it comes to divorce that anyone across the nation can face. And while a prenuptial agreement usually eliminates a lot of this frustration, many couples do not consider these helpful legal documents until they are on the brink of divorce.

Though you may not realize it, there are other ways to get the benefits of a prenuptial agreement even after saying ‘I do.’ Called a postnuptial agreement, these marital agreements provide couples with some of the same stipulations that a premarital agreement offers but allows couples to establish them after getting married. Just like prenups, postnups can establish how assets, debts and real estate will be divided and who will pay child and/or spousal support.

Just like a prenup, postnups often make divorce processes go smoother. Our California readers can see this exemplified by a case out of New York where postnuptial agreements are also allowed. In the case of the state’s former governor, a postnuptial agreement helped him and his ex-wife divide their assets cleanly after filing for divorce. The $7.5 million divorce settlement includes annual alimony payments, property division and even stipulations for a new car every five years as well as yearly donations to his ex-wife’s favorite charities.

A postnup was particularly helpful in this couple’s case because, as some of you may remember hearing, the former governor admitted to having connections with a prostitution ring. The scandal ended his career in 2008 and could have been a catalyst for the 2013 divorce filing.

Though this case was far removed from residents here in San Francisco and was handled by a different jurisdiction, it does highlight one important fact: postnuptial agreements can be just as beneficial as prenuptial agreements. Of course, as with any legal document, it’s important to draft these documents carefully with the help of a skilled lawyer because even the smallest mistakes can cause more frustrations than you may want to handle in a future divorce.

Source:, “Former Governor Elliot Spitzer divorce settlement made public,” Sue Robinson, April 30, 2014

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