WOODLAND HILLS (CBSLA.com) — Deciding who gets what piece of the pie if happily ever after isn’t forever “isn’t easy” but is “smart talk,” says Woodland Hills attorney Peter Walzer.
He has helped a lot of couples plan how to divide their assets if they split up.
Aside from when they make that plan, a premarital agreement (commonly termed a prenup), occurs before the marriage, while a postnup is after.
The main difference is, in postmarital agreements, individuals have to detail and disclose the value of everything they own, including money, property, and stocks (acquired before and after the marriage).
Nearly half of matrimonial lawyers have reported an increase of the number of postmarital agreements over the past three years, according to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.
“What does bring this up is if one spouse is gambling, they are into drugs, they are chronic spenders, they are running up the credit cards,” said Walzer. “A lot of times we get a call and just say, ‘We’re not ready for a divorce but we need to do something now.’ ”
He has worked with couples in second marriages who want to take care of children from the first marriage and with pairs where someone has cheated and wants to show they’re willing to face serious financial consequences if they stray again.
Both parties disclose what they have and can then decide how to divide it as long as they are together and also if things go sour.
But Walzer says postnups aren’t only for when there is trouble in paradise.
“‘I just inherited $1 million.’, he said as one scenario. “We gotta deal with this.”
Well, that sounds good sitting in his Woodland Hills office but paired up people said that someone asking for a postnup sounds like nothing but trouble.
“I would laugh,” said one woman.
“I don’t know how I would handle that,” said one man. “I don’t think I would go for it.”
Walzer doesn’t disagree it can be awkward but says coming to him for a postnup is better than coming to him for a divorce.
“If you’re not honest, you’re not going to get to a level of intimacy,” he said.