Creating a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement

It is exciting when a couple is engaged and planning a wedding. While their focus might be on choosing a venue, deciding on rings or sending out invitations, they may also consider creating a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.

These agreements outline the rights and obligations of each spouse in the event they later divorce or legally separate.

Prenuptial vs. postnuptial agreement

The main difference between a prenuptial agreement and a postnuptial agreement is when it is created. A prenuptial agreement is created before the couple marries, it must be signed by both parties and must be in writing, while the postnuptial agreement is created after the couple is married and can be signed any time after the marriage.

Both agreements can address a wide range of rights. However, the postnuptial agreement may address additional issues that have come up during the marriage, like how changes in income are managed or how one spouse may be compensated for work that contributes to the family, for example.

Key provisions

Spousal support is often addressed in both types of agreements. It can lay out whether one spouse will be required to provide financial support to the other and can address both short and long-term support.

If the couple shares a business, they may want to include how the business profits and debts will be divided. The agreements may also address how personal property will be divided, like jewelry, artwork or family heirlooms.

By planning ahead of time, couples can save a lot of time and expense later if they do decide to divorce or separate.