You may have heard that it’s a good idea to execute a prenuptial agreement before walking down the aisle, but for some reason you and your now-spouse simply never got around to it. However, does this close the door to such agreements altogether? Not really. Couples in the Austin area who married without a prenup can still execute what is known as a postnuptial agreement (a “postnup”) during the course of their marriage.
A postnup is similar to a prenup, except that it is executed while the couple is married, not before. It is a legally binding agreement that can outline the financial aspects of being married as well as the financial aspects of divorce. For example, like a prenup, a postnup can contain details on what property will be separate and what will be marital in the event of a divorce, and who will keep which marital assets and who will pay spousal support and in what amount, should the couple divorce. It can even include provisions on inheritance, which can be especially important if one spouse has a child from a previous marriage that they want to provide for. Postnups can even address how money will be spent and how debt will be incurred during the marriage.
Unlike prenups, postnups can address assets obtained during the course of the marriage that are important, but were unanticipated prior to the marriage. In addition, if both spouses initially intended to stay in the workforce when they marry, but later on in the marriage change their mind and decide that one spouse will stay out of the workforce to care for the family or relocate for their partner’s job, spousal support provisions in a postnup can reflect these changes.
It may be easy to assume that you only want to execute a postnup because you are planning to divorce. However, while a postnup can make the divorce process run smoother, as many divorce legal issues will already be agreed upon, even couples with strong marriages can benefit from a postnup. Postnups can address financial issues in the marriage in a way that leads to compromise and assuages any fear a spouse may have about the future.