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Understanding the difference between prenups and postnups

Asking your future spouse to sign a prenuptial agreement right before you're set to walk down the aisle can cause conflict at what's supposed to be an optimistic time. While the thought of asking your significant other to sign either a prenup or postnup might make you cringe, if it has to be done, there are pros and cons to pursuing both.

Prenups and postnups are most often requested by a more financially solvent spouse of their eventual spouse. It's pursued as a way for one spouse to protect his or her financial resources, real estate and other assets should the marriage ultimately not work out. They've become increasingly more popular in the past few decades as divorce rates have surged as high as 50 percent.

When being drafted, prenups should be accompanied by detailed financial reports. This is because, if a prenup is challenged, a divorcing spouse can say he or she was not provided with an accurate depiction of his or her spouse's financial state. If a judge senses that a spouse did not disclose all of his or her assets, then the agreement may be thrown out by a judge.

A prenup should also be signed as far in advance of the wedding ceremony as possible. This is because an agreement signed the day of the wedding is unenforceable in most states. This is because it's believed that the signing of an agreement on such short notice doesn't allow attorneys an opportunity to adequately review and advise their clients about the risks associated with signing it.

For postnups, it's important to keep in mind that it only covers assets acquired by a spouse once the agreement is signed. Therefore, any property that was being held by either party prior to the marriage, in most cases, will be considered joint or marital property unless a prenup is signed instead.

Aside from providing a clear understanding of which property belongs to the individual spouses versus to the pair, prenups and postnups serve other roles as well. They can be used by a couple to spell out how they intend to handle alimony payments or legal fees associated with divorce proceedings as well.

To be considered legally enforceable, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements must thoroughly list assets, but must be properly executed as well. A New York prenup attorney can ensure that your agreement meets both of these requirements.

Source:, "Prenup vs. postnup: which is better?," Rebecca Zung, accessed May 16, 2017

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