If a couple decides against making a prenuptial agreement, also known as a prenuptial agreement or prenup, state law will usually determine how their marital assets are divided in the event of a divorce. In the event that a couple did not sign a prenup, they do have an option to create a postnuptial agreement, also known as a postnup, to determine how their property and debts will be divided during divorce proceedings.

What Is a Prenuptial Agreement?

A prenuptial agreement is an agreement entered into by a couple prior to marriage that outlines how the couple’s assets and debts will be divided in the event of a divorce. It requires a full disclosure of each person’s finances, and generally must be a written document. The document must be signed prior to the marriage taking place, or it will not be valid.

What Is a Postnuptial Agreement?

A postnuptial agreement is just like a prenuptial agreement in that it can cover all of the matters covered by a prenuptial agreement, However, the key difference is that a postnuptial agreement is signed after a couple gets married. This agreement allows a married couple to determine how issues will be handled if they divorce or one spouse dies.

What Can a Postnuptial Agreement Contain?

A post-marital agreement can cover:

  • Issues regarding current and future debt, including absolution of one spouse of liability for another spouse’s debts
  • The ownership of specific assets
  • Day-to-day and household budget issues

Can a Postnuptial Agreement Revise a Prenuptial Agreement?

Yes. A married couple can revise an existing prenuptial agreement by using a postnuptial agreement to supplement it. It can be done for any reason, such as:

  • In the event that one spouse cheats
  • To end disagreements over finances or property
  • If the family’s financial picture changes
  • In the event that one spouse starts a business without the other spouse

Can I Just Modify My Existing Prenuptial Agreement?

A premarital agreement can be amended, but both parties have to agree to the changes. The modification can be done by:

  • Adding amendments to the existing prenuptial agreement
  • Invalidating portions of the existing prenuptial agreement

However, it may be easier to replace a prenuptial agreement with a postnuptial agreement if the prenuptial agreement needs to be changed dramatically.

Do I Need a Lawyer for a Prenup or a Postnup?

Choosing between a prenuptial agreement and a postnuptial agreement can be difficult, as there are many good reasons to select either type of agreement. To determine which agreement is best for you, contact a family law attorney. Your attorney will explain your rights and responsibilities according to each type of agreement and assist you in creating the necessary documents when you have selected which type of agreement you need.