The Deal With Prenups

You wouldn't start a business without a business plan. Why would you get married without a clear plan for your life with your significant other? Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements may carry a stigma, but the truth is, in today's world, proactive planning can actually help couples build a strong foundation for their marriage so they won’t get divorced down the road.

At Z Family Law, it’s our job to set our clients up for success — whether they’re saying “I do” or preparing to file for divorce. One way we accomplish this is through the pre or postnuptial agreement: a written document designed to protect the rights of each married party in the event that their union comes to an end.


What Is a Prenuptial Agreement?

Often referred to in popular culture as “prenups,” prenuptial agreements are contracts between couples on the cusp of marriage. By drafting a prenup together, couples have the opportunity to dictate the terms of their new legal relationship, therefore ensuring both parties are on the same page from day 1. Fundamentally, prenups are applied to protect any assets held by one or both spouses in the event that the union should end in divorce. These types of agreements can be particularly helpful if you or your future spouse have extensive assets, ownership in family businesses, or children from previous relationships, but they can also be instrumental in a variety of other situations. Prenuptial agreements, for instance, can outline your plan to deal with finances, debt, or other related matters during your marriage.

Marriage is more than a symbolic union rooted in romance; it’s a legal contract that bestows responsibility on both spouses for any debts accrued during the partnership, also called jointly owned debt. Similarly, even after a marriage is dissolved, both parties retain ownership (to some degree) of any jointly acquired or titled property. In order to more equitably allocate both debt and ownership, a prenuptial agreement outlines specific guidelines for the contributions couples have made during the marriage and how future earnings and acquisitions will be distributed. For high-net worth individuals, creating such a plan for asset and resource distribution can help safeguard previously-held assets while ensuring an equitable outcome for both parties in the event of divorce.

However, the prenuptial agreement isn’t just a useful tool employed by those preparing for the possibility of divorce down the line; it’s a means of establishing boundaries and expectations in the present. Additional capabilities commonly associated with prenuptial agreements are:

  • Creating arrangements for children from prior relationships or for former spouses
  • Determining inheritance of family property
  • Building a business succession plan
  • Delineating the responsibilities of each party within the marriage
  • Outlining trust creation and property distribution

Prenuptial vs. Postnuptial Agreement

While the prenup is everywhere in popular culture, there isn’t nearly as much buzz around its counterpart: the postnuptial agreement. Although this type of agreement is less well-known, it's no less important for couples facing separation or divorce. True to its name, a postnuptial agreement can be crafted at any point after the wedding and covers many of the same functions as a prenuptial agreement. Unlike in a prenuptial agreement, postnuptial agreements are often created when there is reasonable expectation of forthcoming divorce in order to streamline the resulting proceedings.


Strengthen The Foundation of Your Marriage Before It Starts

Tie A Tighter Knot with our prenuptial agreement checklist


Finding the Right Prenup & Postnup Attorney for You

As you navigate this challenging time, a trusted legal team who can help you make rational, well-guided decisions is essential. After all, when it comes to writing your new happily ever after, the importance of finding strategic and compassionate counsel focused solely on family law cannot be understated. By combining our vast legal experience, our tenured team can design a tailored strategy to help you take back your power and build the new beginning you deserve.

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