Close to 44% of marriages end in divorce. The rate is even higher for second marriages – a staggering 67% to 80%. If you have plenty of assets, are expecting a large inheritance, or are entering your second, third or fourth marriage, divorce could lead to some serious financial ramifications. This is why more couples are opting to sign a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.
Difference between a Prenuptial Agreement and a Postnuptial Agreement
A prenuptial agreement is a private contract between two people drawn up before they get married. This document stipulates how the couple will divide their assets in case the marriage does not work out.
Although prenups are frowned upon as wildly unromantic and oftentimes uncomfortable, more and more couples are seeing the practicality of getting one before walking down the aisle.
There is no guarantee to a lasting marriage, and a prenup can save you a lot of heartache – and money – in the event of divorce. Because everything is already spelled out in the prenuptial agreement, there is no need for a nasty, drawn-out, expensive, and extremely stressful court battle when you part ways.
Who needs a prenuptial agreement?
A prenup is basically financial protection. Young couples with few or no assets who are getting married for the first time may not need a prenup. One exception is if one or both parties expect to receive a massive inheritance or distribution from a family trust.
For single individuals who have significant assets or a large estate, a prenup is an absolute necessity before getting married.
In a prenup, you can determine how much your spouse will receive should you get divorced. You may also stipulate a specific alimony amount or even eliminate it altogether.
A postnuptial agreement is a private contract between two people drawn up after the wedding.
Who needs a Postnuptial Agreement?
Talking about money and divorce may seem awkward for a couple who are about to get married so some put it off until after the wedding. Sometimes even if they wanted to sign a prenup, all of that chaos and excitement can make it difficult to find time to sit down and discuss a prenuptial agreement.
It is not unusual for couples who have already been married for five or even 10 years to decide to sign a postnup. In these cases it is important to understand that many of the assets are now conjugal property. These may include stock options, real estate, and retirement assets that were acquired during the marriage. The postnuptial agreement should be able to state how to divide these marital assets as well as any future earnings.
If you are about to receive a large inheritance such as an ancestral home and you want to claim it as your own, a prenuptial agreement can make this happen.
Contact a Family Lawyer to Take Care of These for You
Although some view prenups and postnups as tasteless processes, many regret not signing one when they are already caught in the middle of an ugly divorce settlement.
Whether this is your first or fifth time to get married, you might want to consult with a family law attorney about a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement to protect your assets.
Written by Kellie Bertels, an attorney at Bandre, Hunt and Snider in Jefferson City, MO. Bandre, Hunt and Snider are the best attorneys Jefferson City MO have to offer.