Before you walk down the aisle, it can be important to consider the financial ramifications of saying “I do.” Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements allow couples to protect their assets if their marriage does not work out.

Considering nearly half of marriages in the United States end in divorce, these agreements can be extremely beneficial and are becoming much more popular.

Prenuptial Agreements

A prenuptial agreement is a contract made between a couple before they enter marriage. While most prenuptial agreements plan how you will divide financial assets and property in a divorce, they can also outline each spouse’s responsibilities during the marriage. These agreements must be fair and cannot be entered under duress, fraud, coercion or undue influence.

Postnuptial Agreements

Postnuptial agreements are similar to prenuptial agreements, except a couple creates one after they get married. Whether the couple did not have time before they got married or circumstances change during the marriage, postnuptial agreements can alleviate conflict surrounding financial concerns.

Like prenuptials, postnuptial agreements must be in writing and signed voluntarily by both spouses. There must be full disclosure of all the terms of the agreement and it must not be unfair to one spouse. If your postnuptial meets all the elements, the agreement can protect you in a divorce, unless the other party challenges it in court.

Does having one mean you are planning to get divorced?

Some people do not like the idea of prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, because they think having one means they are planning to get divorced.

However, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are not indications someone plans to divorce. They are protective plans that can make the process a little easier if a divorce does occur. In many cases, people with a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement never need to refer to it again. That said, it is crucial that these documents be enforceable and valid should a couple ever divorce. Therefore, if you are considering creating a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement or you have questions about one you have already created, you can explore your legal options with an attorney.