Prenuptial v. Postnuptial Agreements

Jul 01

For many people, prenuptial agreements (or “prenups,” as they’re so commonly referred to) are the epitome of the death of romance. They can cover anything from how property should be divided up upon divorce to guidelines on the maintenance of a partner’s physical appearance. However, even more unromantic–read: practical–is the post-nuptial agreement.

According to Holmes, Diggs, Eames & Sadler, much like a prenup, a postnup covers the division and settlement of child custody, debts, assets, stocks, inheritance, and alimony. The only large difference between the two is that post-nuptials are decided on after the marriage has already occurred. For some couples, this might mean they just didn’t have enough time before the wedding to meet with attorneys and decide on the terms of their potential divorce. For others, post-nuptials are a saving grace, an attempt to revive the marriage and right any wrongs that have occurred. For the rest, a postnup might not even be necessary until an event–such as receiving a large inheritance–makes it necessary.

Postnups are relatively new on the scene. With the ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act in June of 2015, many LGBT couples are signing into postnuptial agreements after the flurry of excitement to make their union official. In order to protect their finances and property in the face of pioneering legislation–and therefore uncharted legal territory–many couples see postnups as a means of protecting themselves less from one another and more from the government. Even for heterosexual couples, postnuptial agreements may become more appealing once children become a factor in the marriage. Having a set of rules for custody, child support, and visitation makes the divorce process much smoother and makes the transition for the family much easier.

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