20 Jan Prenuptial vs Postnuptial Agreements
It’s engagement season, which means you are either seeing people around you begin to plan a wedding or you are beginning to plan one yourself. If you have a more substantial income than your future spouse or have assets that you want to protect, you may have been advised to seek an attorney’s help in drawing up a prenuptial agreement. But what exactly does this entail?
A prenuptial or premarital agreement is a contract signed by both future spouses, which outlines each spouse’s rights and obligations regarding the current assets they own and future assets that each may acquire throughout the marriage. These agreements can be complicated and quite specific, especially when there is one future spouse with significant assets – such as professional athletes, business owners, CEOs, etcetera. This kind of unique situation can make the process more extensive and necessarily time-consuming. In a very simplified manner, prenuptial agreements are beneficial to you if there are assets you wish to keep as yours (especially assets you suspect you will gain during the marriage), which otherwise would become community property and subject to division if you and your spouse were to ever get divorced, or assets you want to confirm as separate property.
Ok, but what if you are already married and you want to start separating assets that would usually be considered marital assets (aka community property)? Is a postnuptial agreement a good option for protecting your assets?
Our answer is yes and no. Oftentimes, someone will want a post-nuptial agreement because they do not necessarily feel secure in their marriage and they want some assurance that if they got divorced, they could survive post-divorce, i.e. a stay at home spouse who has not been in the workforce for 10 years who has a spouse that receives inheritance money and other separate property throughout the marriage. A post-nuptial agreement can really benefit that spouse and make them feel safe to make an effort to improve their marriage without the fear of financial ruin if it does not work out in the back of their minds. On the flip side, a spouse may cause the other spouse to feel like they have given up on the marriage if they are pursuing a post-nuptial agreement and this may lead to unintended discord that a couple cannot recover from. Honestly, as with most things in the law, the benefits or potential detriment is really based on the unique facts of the couple seeking this type of agreement.
If you have questions about whether a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement would be right for you, contact an experienced NB Family Law attorney by calling (940) 566-0606 or visiting nbfamilylaw.com to schedule a consultation.