Is It Too Late To Get a Prenup after Marriage?
by Unbundled Legal Help
Prenups are a great tool if a couple wants to plan for possible future events. Many spouses do not consider this type of agreement until after they’re married, so is it too late to get a prenup after marriage?
Even after you’re married, it’s not too late, and you can still create an agreement. However, after you’re married, it is no longer a prenup, but a postnup.
Postnup agreements can be valuable for many couples. If you’re considering a postnup, an unbundled lawyer can assist you with drafting, negotiating, and executing, a mutually favorable agreement. We can connect you today with an unbundled lawyer in your area.
What Is a Prenup?
A prenuptial agreement (also referred to as a prenup, antenuptial agreement, or premarital agreement), is a contract between two parties created before they marry. Prenups cover a variety of topics and provide a roadmap in case of divorce or the death of a spouse.
Many people view prenups negatively because they discuss contingency plans should the couple divorce. While no one likes to enter a marriage thinking about divorce, prenups can do much more than create a plan for the future. A prenup can facilitate honest conversation between a couple and set clear expectations for the relationship.
Prenup vs. Postnup
You have probably heard of prenups, but another type of agreement exists called a postnup.
A postnuptial agreement is exactly like a prenuptial agreement. However, the couple create it after they have married. Postnuptial agreements and prenuptial agreements have the same requirements and cover similar details.
Therefore, if a couple is wondering whether it is too late to get a prenup after marriage, the answer is no. But instead of a prenup, the spouses create a postnup.
Why Get a Postnuptial Agreement?
Contrary to popular belief, getting a postnuptial agreement can be for everybody, not just wealthy individuals. Nonetheless, postnups are particularly beneficial in certain circumstances.
Couples in the following situations often find postnuptial agreements advantageous:
- One or both spouses have a business
- One or both spouses have extensive property and assets
- One or both spouses have a significant inheritance
- Either spouse has substantial debt
- Either spouse has children from a previous relationship
Postnups have become more favorable for couples in states with no-fault divorce laws or states that follow laws for equitable distribution of assets.
What Are the Benefits of Having a Postnup?
For many, a postnuptial agreement is a no-brainer, due to their financial or marital situation. But postnups can have great benefits for every couple. You can use postnuptial agreements for many of the following reasons:
- Allowing couples to have honest discussions and fully disclose all financial information
- Clearly defining goals, wishes, and expectations
- Protecting children financially
- Simplifying the divorce process
Spouses may feel they need a postnup if their circumstances have changed, financially or otherwise. Many couples also decide to enter into a postnuptial agreement several years into their marriage as a tool to save their relationship.
Postnuptial agreements are versatile and have many advantages. While even the thought of an agreement sends many running the other way, if you draft and execute them correctly, they can be helpful to both parties in the short and long term.
What Does a Postnuptial Agreement Usually Cover?
You can customize postnuptial agreements, depending on your goals and needs. Postnuptial agreements generally include provisions for the following issues:
- Division of assets and property - Deciding how the couple will divide their assets and property is one of the primary reasons for a postnup. Spouses can determine what to do with premarital and marital assets and property if the couple should split in the future.
- Division of debt - Both spouses come into the marriage with their own debt and acquire debt throughout the marriage. Couples can decide how to divide their debt, including mortgages and credit cards, between them.
- Spousal support - Spouses can decide if either spouse will be entitled to spousal support in the future. In many cases, it is situational.
- Death of a spouse - Postnups aren’t only useful in case of divorce. A postnuptial agreement can also include terms regarding the death of a spouse.
Couples often want to include information regarding children, such as child custody and child support, even if the couple doesn’t yet have children at the time they enter the agreement. It is important to note the court may not uphold provisions in the postnup, as the court is required to make decisions based on the child’s best interests.
Postnup agreements should be fair to both spouses. Couples can communicate and negotiate to come up with a contract that reasonably suits their needs.
How Are Postnups Made Valid and Enforceable?
Postnuptial agreements are contracts. For a contract to be valid, it must meet certain requirements. The following points must be true:
- The agreement is in writing - Postnuptial agreements cannot be oral - they must be in writing.
- It’s signed by both parties - Both parties must sign the agreement and have it properly notarized. Some states require witnesses as well.
- There must be full disclosure - A postnuptial agreement requires both parties to make full and honest disclosures regarding finances.
- Neither party is under duress or coercion - Both parties must enter the contract voluntarily. If it is later discovered that one party was under duress or coerced to agree, the postnup can be voided.
- The agreement is fair for both parties - While many believe otherwise, postnups are intended to be fair to both spouses, not just the one proposing the agreement. The contract cannot be unconscionable or one-sided.
Additionally, both parties should have the mental capacity to enter into the agreement, and the spouse agreeing to the postnup must be given adequate time to review the contract with their lawyer.
If the postnuptial agreement is created or executed improperly, it may not be enforceable in the future.
How Long Do I Have to Get a Postnup?
Couples often enter into postnuptial agreements shortly after they are married. However, you may create postnups at any time during a marriage. Whether you’ve been married a month or 25 years, any married couple is eligible to have a postnuptial agreement.
Do I Need a Lawyer for a Postnuptial Agreement?
You are not legally required to have a lawyer draft and execute a postnuptial agreement. Still, it is usually in your best interest to have legal guidance.
Most individuals are unaware of the state and federal laws that affect postnuptial agreements. A family attorney is well versed in the law and has the skill to competently put together a postnuptial agreement.
Courts often heavily scrutinize postnups. Having a qualified family lawyer helps ensure you create a solid and valid agreement that meets all requirements.
Should Spouses Have Their Own Lawyer, or Can They Share One?
Some states allow spouses to share a lawyer for their postnuptial agreement. Nonetheless, it is always best for each spouse to have their own attorney to protect their rights and interests.
Typically, one spouse will propose the postnuptial agreement and get a lawyer to draft the contract. The other spouse should be given ample time to seek legal counsel and review the proposed contract. The parties and their lawyers may need to negotiate before coming to a final agreement.
Consider an Unbundled Lawyer for Your Postnup
If you’re considering creating a postnuptial agreement, having a lawyer on your side can lead to a better result, but family attorneys can be costly. Fortunately, an unbundled lawyer can provide the guidance you need while minimizing costs.
An unbundled lawyer is the same as a traditional lawyer, but the way they offer their services is different. Instead of having one attorney handle your matter from start to finish, an unbundled lawyer will only assist you when you need it most.
For postnups, an unbundled lawyer can provide any of the following services:
- Provide legal advice
- Draft your postnuptial agreement
- Help execute your postnup
- Assist with modifying or revoking your agreement
Whether you need limited legal guidance or substantial representation, an unbundled lawyer is ready to help you.
Unbundled Legal Help facilitates high quality legal representation for everyone. While most traditional lawyers can cost thousands of dollars, unbundled legal services start at $500-$1,500.
If you’re seeking help with your postnup, we can match you today with an experienced unbundled lawyer in your area. Contact us today to get started.