How is a Prenuptial Agreement different from a Postnuptial Agreement

The difference between a prenuptial agreement and a post nuptial agreement  is timing: A prenuptial agreement is an agreement that a bride and groom enter into before they get married; a post nuptial agreement is an agreement that a husband and wife enter into after they get married.

Prenuptial agreement

The idea of a prenuptial agreement, sometimes called a premarital agreement, usually comes up when one spouse-to-be has more wealth than the other spouse-to-be, and the spouse with more wealth wants to protect what was his before the marriage from the other spouse in case the couple gets divorced.

If the couple does divorce, the prenuptial agreement will not necessarily be enforced. Instead, the judge who is in charge of the divorce case will decide whether or not to enforce the any or all of the terms of the prenuptial agreement.

Some of the factors that would prevent a prenuptial agreement from being enforced would be if one party did not have access to legal counsel when the terms of the agreement were being negotiated, or if the terms of the agreement were so one-sided that it would offend the judge’s conscience to enforce the agreement.

Post nuptial agreement

A post nuptial agreement is an agreement made between a husband and wife after they are married. Several situations could result in a couple wanting to enter into a post nuptial agreement. For example, when couples in a marriage already have children from other relationships, the couple might sign a post nuptial agreement that changes the disposition of their property in the event of a divorce, to better reflect and provide for the changing needs of their children.  

Other post nuptial agreements are made between couples who decide to amend the terms of their prenuptial agreement. This often takes place after a couple has been married long enough to address any concerns that either party may have married the other for money.

Prenuptial agreements may also be renegotiated after a newly married couple has children of their own. The original prenuptial agreement may have restricted the post-divorce income to the less wealthy party to the point where any children of the marriage would not want to spend time with the less wealthy parent because of the disparity in the standard of living from one parent’s home to the other. In those instances, the distribution of income between the parties may be adjusted to cover the period of time while the children are still living at home.

It’s all in the timing when it comes to marriage agreements. Couples sign prenuptial agreement before they get married, and post nuptial agreements after they are already husband and wife.