Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements provide financial safety and stability throughout a marriage. Whether you want to protect a business or make sure you have financial safety in case the marriage ends, deciding if a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement is right for you is a discussion you should have with an attorney.
Prenuptial Agreements: What They Can Do
Prenups are good financial planning tools. For example, when divorcing an ex-spouse may be able to receive a portion of the business, even if he or she played no part in running the business. A prenuptial agreement can allow you to keep full control of your business. A prenuptial agreement can also set spousal support or alimony payments. This can help to keep assets for one ex-spouse, but it can also provide for the ex-spouse with less earning capability.
Postnuptial agreements are similar to prenuptial agreements, but are arranged when the couple is already married. Perhaps, like many people, when you first got married a prenuptial agreement didn’t make sense — or you simply didn’t think to execute one. If that’s the case, and your life circumstances have changed, such as you inherited money, obtained an advanced degree or spent the last several years as a stay-at-home parent, you may wish to execute a postnuptial agreement.
The conditions for making a valid postnuptial agreement are the same as prenuptial ones, although not all states allow them, as traditionally courts viewed that they violated the public policy of trying to protect family relationships. However, more and more states are reversing their positions. Connecticut was the most recent state to decide in favor of allowing postnuptial agreements, after deciding Bedrick v. Bedrick in April of 2011. The court held that like prenuptial agreements, a postnuptial agreement is valid if:
- The agreement is not unconscionable, meaning that the terms are so unfair that the court renders it invalid
- There was no duress, coercion or any other circumstance that forced a spouse to sign the agreement
- There were no hidden assets
Contact a Lawyer
If you are about to be married, or your life circumstances have changed so that a postnuptial agreement is now essential, contact a family law attorney. A family law attorney with an extensive background making prenuptial and postnuptial agreements can allow you to be comfortable knowing that your finances are taken care of throughout the marriage and in the event of divorce.