Both of these contracts allow married people to define how their individual property will be distributed in the event of a divorce or the death of one spouse. Without one of these agreements, a couple’s assets — regardless of whether they were acquired before or during the marriage — will generally be distributed equally in a divorce. With a prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement, individuals who eventually divorce can keep the assets they had before getting married. Not only do these contracts protect each spouse’s property, but they can also make divorce proceedings much less difficult. In a prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement, a couple can also define potential alimony payments following divorce, and decide how property will be distributed (to the other spouse, children, and additional family members) if a death occurs.
What is the Difference Between a Prenuptial Agreement and a Postnuptial Agreement?
The primary difference between prenuptial agreements and postnuptial agreements is simple: Prenuptial agreements are filed before a couple is married, while postnuptial agreements are filed after a couple is married. Postnuptial agreements are a good option for people who did not sign a prenuptial agreement and decide they would like to protect their assets, once they are already married.
Because postnuptial agreements are signed after a couple is married, any assets that were acquired during the marriage will be included in the contract. If, for example, a couple buys a house together after they are married, they can sign a postnuptial agreement to outline who will own the house if they get divorced.
The only time a prenuptial agreement will account for property earned after a wedding is if a spouse anticipates earning an additional asset during the marriage, such as inheritance. For example, if a person knows they will inherit money from an elderly relative in the event of their death, they can claim the inheritance in a prenuptial agreement (although the relative is still alive and they have not yet acquired the inheritance).
Prenuptial agreements and postnuptial agreements may be viewed differently in divorce cases. Both contracts are valid and are very similar, but the perception of signing before vs. after marriage can impact a court’s decision when distributing property. This possibility will depend on a judge’s perception of each type of agreement, if a divorce case does go to trial.
Prenuptial agreements and postnuptial agreements are essentially the same type of contract, aside from the timeline of when they are signed. This discrepancy can contribute to differences in the terms of each agreement and the property that is included. Both prenuptial agreements and postnuptial agreements are a good way to protect your finances in the event of divorce or death.
The attorneys of Goldweber Epstein LLP can assist you with prenuptial agreements, postnuptial agreements, divorce, and an array of other family law matters. We can represent you in all cases of legal marriage and family disputes.
If you are interested in creating a prenuptial agreement or a postnuptial agreement, contact our firm to discuss your case. Complete our contact form or call 917.809.7669 to schedule a consultation.