Prenuptial agreements and postnuptial agreements – sometimes called premarital and postmarital agreements – tend to have a negative reputation among married or engaged couples. Each agreement says what to do in case of divorce with the only noteworthy difference between the two is that a prenuptial is drafted and signed before the marriage is official and the postnuptial is drafted and signed afterwards. Somewhere along the line, more and more people began to assume that the “just in case of divorce” part of prenups and postnups meant that a divorce was certain. However, the truth is that there are many benefits to both types of agreements that often strengthen a marriage instead of damaging it.
What Do Prenuptial & Postnuptial Agreements Do?
The overall idea of a prenuptial or postnuptial is defining what happens during a divorce, but the details can become intricate. In both agreement types, the couple can set expectations for one another, such as what to do with joint funds, or even specific behaviors during the marriage. A pre- or postnuptial can also dictate what to do in terms of property division and spousal maintenance. Lastly, such agreements can protect inheritances and other benefits that are assigned to children from a previous marriage.
Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements typically cannot control aspects of a divorce directly pertaining to a child. In specific, child custody, child support, and visitation are generally off-limits in prenuptials and postnuptials. The idea is that a child’s best interests are always changing and must always be upheld during a divorce. Any sort of court order regarding a child’s welfare, therefore, needs to be based on the most recent information, not on whatever was written in a premarital or postmarital agreement.
Why Prenuptials & Postnuptials are Beneficial
You never know what is right around the next corner in your life, and even the best marriages can devolve and lead to divorce. Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements can actually benefit a marriage because they provide peace of mind and a plan for the unknown. Rather than always stressing about what might happen in case of divorce, both spouses can feel confident that there is a safety net in place, which frees up their time and energy to really appreciate and enjoy their marriage.
One thing that must be kept in mind when drafting prenuptial and postnuptial agreements is keeping it fair and reasonable. A family law judge can throw out any agreement that seems to intentionally benefit just one spouse. Cooperation should be the centerpiece of your marriage, so creating a balanced prenuptial or postnuptial that works for both you and your spouse should not be an issue.
If you have any more questions about prenuptials and postnuptials, or if you just would like some guidance while drafting one, talk to Boudreaux Hunter & Associates, LLC and our Houston family law attorneys today. With more than a decade of experience managing sensitive family law cases for people in situations just like yours, we are confident that we can provide you with all the legal advocacy you need. Contact us and we can discuss setting up an initial consultation.