When it comes to dealing with marital finances, people generally think about two types of spousal contracts: a prenuptial agreement entered into before a marriage and a postnuptial agreement entered into after a marriage.
Sure, most readers have at least heard of a prenuptial (also known as a “prenup” or an antenuptial agreement). Prenups are used to clarify how certain assets and liabilities will be distributed if the marriage were to end in a divorce or a death. While this may seem less-than-romantic, it is actually an important step in marriage for many persons.
A prenuptial agreement can also determine what support from a spouse will look like after a divorce. A prenup is generally used to protect and preserve assets that one person brings into a marriage, however, it can also be used to protect a spouse against the debt of the other. Lastly, prenups can be used to protect the inheritance of children from a previous marriage so that the biological wealth is assured to pass to the biological children from prior marriages.
As you consider filling out a prenuptial agreement, divorce attorneys in Scottsdale recommend that you follow a few important steps. For one, you want to make sure that both parties honestly and completely disclose all assets and liabilities. This disclosure should be overinclusive in the document. In addition, each party should have ample time to read and review the document (with an attorney for each partner) before signing. A prenuptial agreement should be signed by both parties without any fraud or coercion. Do not under any circumstances sign a prenuptial agreement on the eve of your wedding. Plan far in advance to give both sides several months to complete the process.
Having said all of this, one significant question remains: what if you didn’t sign a prenup before marriage?
Perhaps your marriage is on the rocks or maybe you just want to protect certain assets that are not secured in writing. Enter the postnuptial agreement.
These are many reasons why couples decide to form a postnuptial agreement, which is a legal document designed for couples who are already married or in a civil union who wish to contractually change their futures.
Similar to a prenuptial agreement, a postnuptial agreement establishes by contract how a couple’s assets will be divided in the unfortunate event of a divorce, legal separation or death. Furthermore, it establishes any amount of spousal support that one party will pay to the other if the marriage were to end.
If you’re already engaged or on the verge of marriage, consider signing a prenuptial agreement before exchanging vows if you have significant assets or liabilities. Even if you are currently married without a prenup, it’s never too late. You can sign a postnuptial agreement that will set a lot of things in stone. Trust us when we tell you that you won’t regret it.