Prenuptial Agreements vs. Postnuptial Agreements: The Pros and Cons of Each

A prenuptial agreement, or "prenup", is simply a written agreement entered into by a couple in contemplation of marriage. Each prenuptial agreement is different, but these contracts generally dictate how the couple's assets and future earnings will be distributed in the event that they divorce in the future. Prenuptial agreements are very similar to postnuptial agreements, or "postnups", in that they often address similar marital topics, however the key difference is that postnups are executed after the couple is already married while prenups can only be made before the couple's wedding. Because these two types of marital agreements are so similar they are often confused, but be warned, there are important pros and cons commonly associated with each.

The Pros and Cons of Prenuptial Agreements

Pros:

  • Signing a prenuptial agreement can help alleviate the worry that one spouse is getting married for financial gain.

  • Drafting a prenup forces couples to discuss their personal finances (including their income, assets and debts) before getting married, which can help avoid financial surprises later on down the road.

  • Married couples who have a valid prenup in place are often able to get divorced with less hassle. For example, their divorces tend to be less expensive, faster, and less emotionally charged.

  • If an engaged person has children from a previous relationship executing a prenuptial agreement can help provide for the financial future of these children.

Cons:

  • Prenups tend not to be very romantic.

  • Some people believe that couples who have prenuptial agreements are not fully committed to their marriage.

  • Your partner may not react favorably if you ask them for a prenup.

  • Sometimes poorly drafted prenups are ultimately found to be invalid and do not function as the couple expected them to.

  • The law is constantly in flux so to get a rock solid prenup is becoming very difficult.

The Pros and Cons of Postnuptial Agreements

Pros:

  • A postnuptial agreement can be used to amend a married couple's prenuptial agreement if it no longer suits their needs. It can also be used if there was never a prenuptial agreement.

  • Married couples who anticipate that they will get divorced in the future can agree to a postnup in order to simplify their impending divorce.

  • If one spouse was unfaithful, executing a postnup that greatly favors the unoffending spouse can help provide reassurance that the cheating spouse has recommitted to the marriage and will not stray again.

Cons:

  • Some people feel that executing a postnuptial agreement is a sign that the marriage is in trouble.

  • Postnuptial agreements are sometimes found to be invalid (for example, if one spouse can show that the agreement resulted from undue influence or duress).

Speak with an Experienced Family Law Attorney


Are you wondering if a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement would benefit you? Experienced family law attorney Michael A. Robbins would be happy to discuss your legal options with you and draft a marital agreement tailored specifically to suit your individual needs. Contact the Law