Posted by: Vernon Ready
Asking your future spouse to write a prenuptial agreement is not something that most people look forward to. While these documents are very important, many couples feel too awkward to create them and put off writing prenuptial agreements or forego them altogether.
So if you didn’t write a prenuptial agreement, you’re not alone. But what if you find yourself wishing you had written one a few years into the marriage? Is it still possible?
Whether your marriage is hitting a rough patch or you would just feel more comfortable knowing you have a document to fall back on in case of a divorce, there is an option available to you: crafting a postnuptial agreement. This document, which is quickly gaining popularity throughout the United States, allows you to name the terms of where your assets will go and how much alimony will be paid in the case of a divorce after you are already married.
So, is a postnup the same as a prenup? While they are very similar, these three main differences will help you understand what makes a postnuptial agreement different for couples looking to define how they want to divide their assets. The first is pretty obvious:
You Can Write a Postnuptial Agreement at Any Time. The biggest difference between a prenup and a postnup is when they are filed. Prenuptials are written up before you and your spouse get married. Postnuptials can be created at any time.
If a couple runs out of time or does not think a prenuptial agreement is necessary initially, they have the option of later drafting a postnuptial agreement. In fact, making changes or modifications to an original prenup actually makes it a postnup.
Full Financial Disclosure. Traditionally, when you file a prenuptial, you must include a full financial disclosure. This way, each party is aware of the other’s finances and there is nothing to hide. After you are married, it is commonly assumed that you are more aware of your spouse’s finances. Because of this, it is not required to create a postnup.
But while a full financial disclosure is not required to file a postnuptial, it is still recommended, especially if you are filing the postnup soon after your marriage begins.
Inclusion of Marital Property. Both documents can include information about what will happen to marital property if the couple decides to get a divorce, but postnupitals will be able to provide more information simply because the couple is aware of what those specific marital assets are.
Many couples write postnuptial agreements after a drastic and unexpected change in their financial situation. A prenuptial may not be appropriate if a couple receives a large amount of assets through inheritance or gifts, for example. Postnuptial agreements are often more specific and more relevant at the time of a divorce.
However, prenuptial agreements may prevent marital assets from being obtained at all, and specifically denote which assets obtained during the marriage will belong to whom. This makes a divorce settlement a lot easier and cleaner if one ever occurs.
Both documents are written to prevent a messy divorce that leaves one spouse high and dry after the process is finalized. It is important to be as specific as possible when you write either document. If a prenup has loopholes or does not follow Colorado’s guidelines, it can be challenged and the entire process of writing a prenup may end up being a waste of time.
Whether you and your spouse are writing or revising a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, it’s important to keep a family lawyer by your side throughout the process. Your lawyer will be able to point out any inconsistencies or loopholes, and insure that these documents will help divorce proceedings go smoothly. Contact us today to get started on protecting your financial future.
About the Author:
Vernon Ready is an award-winning Colorado lawyer with an in-depth understanding of all areas of family law, estate planning, and personal injury. His energetic and aggressive advocacy approach allow him to successfully navigate complex cases, including high asset divorce and complicated custody issues. During his time at the University of Colorado Law School, Ready won numerous awards for his trial advocacy skills. Since being admitted to practice in 2009, Ready has become well-known throughout Denver and the state for the passionate defense of his clients and his unparalleled understanding of the law.