Couples Protect Themselves with 'Postnup'

April 15, 2007 — -- First comes love, then comes marriage -- then comes a postnuptial agreement?

A postnup is similar to a prenuptial agreement, except it's negotiated after the wedding.

"One of the myths about a postnuptial agreement is that it's all about, 'I keep everything and I don't share anything with you,'" said Arlene G. Dubin, author of "Prenups for Lovers." "Basically, a postnuptial agreement has to be a fair agreement where both sides receive a benefit."

And those benefits can be pretty creative.

"Some provisions include dividing cemetery plots, agreements on pet visitation, agreements as to whether or not to have children and how many," said Gaetano Ferro, president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.

One of the pioneers of the postnup was Donald Trump.

"He had a prenuptial agreement with Ivana in 1977. He updated his prenuptial agreement three times during the marriage so that the agreement kept pace with his changing and enhanced circumstances," Dubin said. "As his wealth grew, he adjusted the agreement."

But you don't have to have his kind of wealth to get a postnup.

When Ed Bonfield and Emmy Zuckerman married eight years ago, they chose not to sign a prenup before saying, "I do."

"I really wasn't worried, because I really trusted Ed. We trusted each other," Zuckerman said. "I think we had an understanding that we weren't going to do anything other than keep our own if anything did happen. So to me, I didn't feel I needed a prenup for that reason."

But two years into the marriage, Zuckerman became concerned about the future security of her two children from a previous marriage -- one who has special needs. She proposed a postnup to protect them.

"I guess, particularly with Holly's autism, it's critical to me to just preserve as much of my assets as possible because I don't know what her needs will be and where state budgets are going," she said. "[I want] to otherwise take care of her for the rest of her life."

Bonfield also has kids from a prior marriage and agreed a postnup was the way to go.

"I think that anyone should get a postnup if they have anything they need to protect," he said.

Some worry even mentioning a postnup to their spouse would send the wrong message and suggest that the marriage is on the rocks. That's not how Bonfield and Zuckerman see it.

"Well, I think the wonderful thing is -- is it wasn't because I didn't think we were in love," she said. "And I think you know, I think we always will be. And what I think is significant is that a postnup isn't because our marriage is in trouble. … I don't anticipate divorcing, I didn't then and I don't now."