While most people are familiar with the term "prenup" or prenuptial agreement, a "postnup" or postnuptial agreement is often lesser-known as a marital contract.
What is the difference?
A prenuptial agreement is a document that is drawn up prior to a marriage which essentially determines how commonly-contentious issues like division of property, child and spousal support, custody and debt will be handled in the event of a divorce. A postnuptial agreement serves a nearly identical purpose, but it is signed after the marriage has occurred.
Top reasons for postnuptial agreements:
You might be asking yourself, "If I didn't need a prenup, why would I need a postnup?" Here are five good reasons:
- You might have more money now. Perhaps a prenup seemed unnecessary when you could barely afford to pay your rent. A few promotions, a modest inheritance, or a good real estate investment may mean a marital agreement makes more sense now.
- You stayed home to raise your kids. After you were married and had children, you and your spouse decided it was best for you to stay home with them. So, you either postponed your career or never quite got it off the ground. Although it was a mutual decision, it was not exactly the path you were planning when you were in graduate school. It could take a toll on your earning power, and you and your spouse don't want it to put you at a financial disadvantage.
- Thinking about divorce while looking at wedding venues sounded unromantic. The idea of divorcing the person you were planning to marry was unfathomable. Maybe you still feel the same, but the fact is you now know better than to be idealistic. Hope for the best, plan for the worst, as they say.
- Community property laws in Texas. The state of Texas has community property laws that tend to split assets evenly, 50/50. In theory, that might sound fair. In reality, you know that might not be what's best for your family. If you agree to your own terms in a postnup, the community property laws likely won't come into play, provided that you make sure to have an attorney who is experienced at creating marital agreements advise you as to the consequences.
- It's better to plan these things when you still like your spouse. Making decisions that affect your family's welfare is probably best done when the deciding parties are still able to communicate and hopefully still looking out for each other's best interests. Decisions made out of anger or emotional distress, on the other hand, may end up hurting people down the road, especially minor children.