Are you coming into a marriage with significant assets you want to protect? Maybe you have children from a previous relationship and want to make sure their inheritance remains safe.
Whatever the reasons, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are a good idea for many different couples. There are some things to consider however, so make sure you fully understand what they encompass and what the limitations are.
What’s the Difference Between a Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreement?
At the simplest level, the difference between the two is when they are created. A prenuptial agreement is created before the marriage and goes into effect once the marriage is legal. A postnuptial agreement is created after two people are already married. Although prenuptial agreements are the most common, postnuptial agreements are becoming more popular.
Prenuptials and postnuptial agreements are common in Nevada because of community property laws. Community property laws generally mean that a judge must divide property and assets equally.
This is problematic if the marriage was very short, one spouse had considerable assets coming into the marriage, or if one spouse was responsible for the majority of the expenses and debts in the marriage.
An experienced family law attorney can help you create an enforceable agreement, whether it’s prior to your marriage or after.
What Do I Need to Know?
Nevada has adopted the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act, along with 26 other states, in an effort to standardize the rules pertaining to prenuptial agreements.
For example, things like child custody, visitation, and child support cannot be included in prenuptial or postnuptial agreements. This is because these matters should be decided based on what is best for the child, not the parents.
A court could declare a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement as invalid, per the UPAA, if one of the spouses was coerced into signing it. Oral agreements are also not recognized and the agreement can be unenforceable if one of the spouses concealed assets or acted in bad faith.
Why Would I Need a Postnuptial Agreement?
You might be wondering why you’d bother to create a postnuptial agreement if you didn’t already create one before your marriage. Some of the reasons to create one are very similar to why you’d create a prenuptial agreement.
You might want to make sure children from a previous marriage are taken care of and that certain assets will pass to them or you might want to simply clarify how property and other assets will be divided in the event of a divorce. Other reasons could include:
- one spouse making irresponsible financial decisions
- one spouse leaves their job to become a stay-at-home parent
- one spouse has a large financial windfall (a large inheritance, for example)
These situations might necessitate a postnuptial agreement to ensure that both spouses are protected in the event of a divorce.
Protect Yourself and Your Assets
It seems depressing to go into a marriage planning for a divorce, or talking about what happens in the event of a divorce after you’re already married, but it’s a necessary discussion to protect both parties. Whether it’s a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, make sure that your assets are safe.
If you do find yourself seeking a divorce, our firm can handle both contested and uncontested divorces, mediation, child custody and support, and alimony. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.