Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements lay out the legal protocol for dividing property owned by a married couple in case of a divorce or the death of either spouse. Both agreements address comparable issues, such as the division of financial assets and alimony payment.
However, they are not entirely the same. Read on to learn more about postnuptial agreement vs. prenuptial agreement to make the right choice.
What Is a Prenuptial Agreement
A prenuptial agreement is created before the marriage. In this contract, the couple chooses how their assets will be divided in the event of a divorce. In this regard, it is a financial instrument. Prenuptial agreements are valid in all 50 states. However, their interpretation varies by state.
Many critics claim that signing a prenuptial agreement before a wedding is incredibly unromantic and can destroy a marriage before it has even begun. However, proponents of prenups argue that these contracts can save a lot of misery and money in the case of a divorce, particularly if this is not the couple's first marriage.
Since everything is written out in the contract, there is no space for debate. Consequently, prenuptial agreements can avert unpleasant, protracted, and excessively expensive legal fights if a couple decides to divorce.
Prenuptial agreements are generally permanent. Nevertheless, feelings can change, and if you or your spouse decide you no longer want a prenuptial agreement, a signed document with your and your spouse's written consent will nullify the prenup's conditions. You can also include a "sunset clause" in your prenuptial agreement that specifies the document's expiration date.
What Is a Postnuptial Agreement
Postnuptial agreements are almost identical to prenups in many ways. The most significant distinction is that they are executed after the wedding. In contrast to prenups, commonly regarded as legal upon marriage, the courts will examine a postnuptial agreement before a determination is made regarding its enforceability.
Many of your assets become marital property the instant you say "I do," including retirement accounts, stock options obtained during the marriage, and real estate acquired after marriage. Therefore, in your postnuptial agreement, you must establish how to share these marital assets and future earnings.
Postnuptial Agreement VS Prenuptial Agreement: Which One to Choose?
Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are not for everyone. Therefore, it is essential to take the time to learn about these legal agreements and work with a prenuptial agreement attorney to secure your future.
Also, keep in mind that neither a prenuptial agreement nor a postnuptial agreement can address anything pertaining to the couple's present or prospective children. In the event of a divorce, courts will determine what is in the children's best interests, and agreements of this sort are typically deemed unenforceable.
When to Choose Prenuptial Agreements
Generally speaking, a young couple entering their first marriage with minimal or no assets does not need such a contract. The primary exception is if one or both spouses possess big assets or a large estate or anticipate receiving a substantial inheritance or distribution from a family trust.
In a prenuptial agreement, you can stipulate what (if any) portion of your spouse's estate will be shared in the event of your divorce or death. This is especially crucial if you have a substantial inheritance and children from a prior marriage to whom you intend to leave at least a percentage of your estate.
If you do not sign a prenuptial agreement outlining these particulars, most states will automatically grant your surviving spouse a portion of your fortune upon your demise.
A prenuptial agreement can also safeguard any income or assets generated during the marriage, as well as unearned income from an inheritance or trust payout. Without a prenup, you may be obliged to pay your ex-spouse alimony. However, alimony can be predetermined or even eliminated with a prenuptial agreement.
When to Choose Postnuptial Agreements
Amid the turmoil and excitement of wedding planning, many people neglect to consider the partition of assets in the event of divorce. Others view the procedure as an unpleasant, cumbersome process that should be postponed until after the wedding.
Postnuptial agreements are usually for such couples who simply ran out of time to execute a prenuptial agreement. On the other hand, sometimes postnups are signed by couples who have been married a long time.
In these circumstances, the couple uses the postnup as an ultimatum to give their troubled marriage one last collegiate try. In other instances, one of the spouses may have recently received a substantial bequest or gift, such as a family home, and desires to establish ownership.
In many cases, people also seek out postnuptial agreements after learning information about their partner's financial standing that they did not know before getting married. An example of a situation where a postnuptial agreement can be useful is if one spouse learns that the other has substantial debt and wants to protect themselves from being held responsible in the event of a divorce.
Safeguard Your Future with Hutson Law
Divorce ranks among life's most terrible experiences. Financial matters should be settled as soon as possible and in a civilized manner after a decision to separate ways has been made.
A prenuptial agreement is frequently the more straightforward of the two, as it is negotiated before a couple combines their assets. Nevertheless, a postnuptial agreement is better than no arrangement at all, especially for couples in second marriages with big assets or large estates.
You should acquire all the details concerning postnuptial agreement vs. prenuptial agreement before choosing if you need one. Working with a skilled Family Law attorney may ensure that your unique needs, interests, and objectives are considered in the negotiation process and final agreement.
Our team of experienced lawyers at Hutson Law can advise you on the prenuptial or postnuptial laws that pertain to your state and situation. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.