A prenup can be negotiated and documented to set out how certain financial (and perhaps other) matters will be handled in the event of a divorce. Often it also specifies how financial matters will be handled during the marriage. I have helped many couples smoothly mediate the terms of their prenup.
Prenuptial agreements, also called prenups, are established before a couple is married. Although more common among couples in which one or both spouses is wealthy, all marrying couples should consider whether they might benefit from one.
Postuptial agreements, also called postnups, are established after a couple is married. These are less common than pre-nups, perhaps because many mistakenly assume that if an agreement was not established before marriage, it is too late to do so after marriage.
Creating a Prenup
There are essentially two steps to create a legally enforceable prenup:
- Come up with the agreements themselves and
- Document them appropriately so they are enforceable.
Many assume that you need a lawyer for the first step but you can create the agreements yourselves or with the help of a mediator.
Many couples don’t need a documented prenup. They can fall back on the law and/or negotiate a settlement if their marriage ends in divorce. But for others an agreement can have benefits including:
- Reducing financial ambiguity and uncertainty;
- Providing clear guidelines for financial management; and
- Minimizing financial conflict in the event of divorce.
There can be benefits in working with a skilled mediator rather than an attorney when developing your prenup, including:
- Reduced cost; and
- A warmer, more relaxed process.
Certain guidelines must be followed for a prenup to be enforceable in a divorce or other legal proceeding. Therefore, attorney(s) should be involved when finalizing the documented prenup and before signing it.