Prenuptial vs Postnuptial Agreement
By Henry F. Lewis on October 15, 2020
Most couples enter marriage with a vision of being together forever. However, statistics show the chance of a marriage ending in divorce is high. If a marriage dissolves, couples may find themselves arguing over how to divide their assets. This stress can be avoided with a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.
Postnuptial and prenuptial agreements identify assets and set out rules for how they will be divided in a divorce. While these legal documents share similarities, there are also some key differences between the two. The lawyers at Gardner & Lewis LLP can help their Oakland, CA, clients understand prenuptial vs postnuptial agreements.
What Is a Prenuptial Agreement?
A prenuptial agreement is a legal document that is signed by two people who are about to be married. Prenuptial agreements are personalized to the needs of each couple, but they generally stipulate how property and other assets will be divided in a divorce. Prenuptial agreements can also address factors such as spousal support, future income, retirement benefits, and debt division.
A prenuptial agreement is created and signed before a couple marries. The law requires that both parties have ample time to consider a prenuptial agreement before signing it, so if couples are interested in creating a prenuptial agreement, they should do so several months before their marriage. It is important to work with a prenuptial agreement lawyer to ensure that the document is legally enforceable.
Reasons to Consider a Prenuptial Agreement
A prenuptial agreement allows spouses to protect their assets and divide debt. Some of the most common reasons to consider a prenuptial agreement include:
- One spouse has significantly more wealth/assets than the other
- One spouse carries a large amount of debt
- To protect family property or an estate plan
- To protect inheritance rights when one spouse has children from a previous marriage
- To avoid extensive court hearings in the event of a divorce
What Is a Postnuptial Agreement?
Like a prenuptial agreement, a postnuptial agreement is a legal document that outlines how assets and debts will be divided in a divorce, as well as defining terms such as spousal support. The main difference between a prenuptial and postnuptial agreement is when they are signed. A postnuptial agreement is signed after a couple has married.
Because of marital property laws, postnuptial agreements can be even more complex than a prenuptial agreement. To ensure that a postnuptial agreement is written properly, and is enforceable in court, individuals in the Oakland area should work with our lawyers, who have extensive knowledge in this area of the law.
Reasons to Consider a Postnuptial Agreement
There are a few reasons that couples may choose to enter a postnuptial agreement after they have married. For one, couples may be in a rush to marry, and don’t have time to consider a prenuptial agreement until after their marriage. More often, spouses consider a postnuptial agreement because their circumstances have changed since they married. For instance, one spouse may have inherited a significant amount of wealth, one spouse may have taken on a large amount of debt, or the stability of the marriage may be in question and the spouses want to prepare for the possibility of a divorce.
Schedule a Legal Consultation
Whether you are engaged or married, a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can provide you and your partner with a number of benefits. If you are considering a prenuptial agreement, or have questions about these legal documents, the lawyers at Gardner & Lewis LLP would be happy to be of assistance. Call our Oakland law firm at (510) 451-4822 to schedule a legal consultation at your earliest convenience.
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“The needs of your family are always at the forefront of our legal services. Whether through litigation or mediation, we believe that reaching a fair, efficient solution with minimal negative impact to your family is of the utmost importance.” Henry F. Lewis