The Difference Between a Prenup and a Postnup

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This article was reviewed and approved for publication by Attorney Charlotte Christian.

The Difference Between a Prenup and a Postnup

Getting a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can help you and your partner plan for the future and give you the chance to have those hard, but important, conversations. While they may seem similar, prenups and postnups have one key difference. Read Charlotte Christian Law’s blog to learn more.

What is a Prenup?

A prenup, also called a prenuptial agreement or premarital contract, is a written document created by you and your partner before you get married. It can clarify financial rights, protect you from debt, and decide how the court will divide property in the case of divorce or death.

Prenuptial agreements are a great way to have those hard, honest conversations with your partner before you jump into a lifelong commitment. Prenups require you to be honest about your spending habits, any debt you may have, and how you want to divide property.

Since you sign a prenup before getting married, you get to talk about your ideal life. You and your future spouse will start your marriage with trust and transparency, paving the way for a happy life.

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What is a Postnup?

Like prenups, a postnuptial agreement is a written contract you and your spouse create together. However, a key difference is that you sign a postnup after marriage. You and your spouse may have just gotten married or been married for years before getting a postnup.

Postnups also provide that space for an honest conversation between you and your partner. They help relieve some of the financial tension that can build up throughout the years and give you the space to state your needs.

You can get a postnuptial agreement anytime after you get married. You will be able to clear the air and get a fresh perspective of your finances, enabling you to solve some potential problems in your marriage.

The Difference

In short, the main difference between prenuptial agreements and postnuptial agreements is when you sign them. You can get a prenup before your marriage and postnups after you get married.

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Why People Get Prenups and Postnups

There are many reasons that people may get a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. They protect any assets you may have had before your marriage, like an inheritance, property, family heirlooms, or a small business.

While getting a prenup or postnup does not mean that you will get a divorce, it does help make the process more manageable if you need one. These agreements can save you time, money, and heartache of a long, drawn-out divorce.

People also get prenuptial and postnuptial agreements if they have children from a prior marriage. Agreements like these ensure that you can give your kids specific assets if you were to pass away.

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Benefits of Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements

Both agreements have many benefits, particularly when it comes to your finances. They can protect you from debt, prevent your assets from becoming marital property, and give you a clear idea about what your life could look like.

Prenups give you the chance to understand and control the rights you receive and give up in your marriage before actually getting married. You and your partner have to have transparent and honest conversations about what you want your life to look like.

Postnups can help soothe tension between you and your spouse by giving you the chance to speak honestly about your wants and needs. This agreement can clarify what causes fights and simplify the financial responsibilities of you and your partner.

What Prenups and Postnups Include

Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are similar in what they can and can’t cover, no matter when you sign them. They can include:

  • Distinctions between marital and personal property
  • Terms of a potential separation or divorce
  • Protections against debt
  • Provisions for children from prior marriages
  • Estate plans
  • Descriptions of each spouse’s financial responsibilities

While these agreements can cover various topics, there are a few matters they can’t cover. Your prenuptial or postnuptial agreement cannot include:

  • Anything considered illegal or unfair
  • Provisions that attempt to control child custody and child support
  • Allocation of chores
  • Where you spend holidays
  • How you raise your children
  • Any personal matters

Prenups and postnups are enforceable by the court, so a general rule would be to exclude anything the law doesn’t have jurisdiction over. For instance, the court can’t step in and make sure that your spouse always takes the trash out.

How to Get a Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreement

You and your partner have to have your own separate attorneys to get a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. Your attorney will help you draft the document and ensure that the agreement is fair, legal, and valid under Alabama law.

Getting a prenup or postnup can be daunting, but we’ll help you take the next step with clarity and confidence. Connect with us online at charlottechristianlaw.com or at (256) 859-7277. Move to a brighter future with clarity and confidence.

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