Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements: What’s the difference?
Your important decisions deserve sound, competent legal advice.
Prenuptial Agreements are a good insurance policy that, hopefully, you will never need. But if you ever do need it, you will be thankful you have it. We can’t tell you how many divorces we work on in which a prenuptial agreement would have saved tens of thousands of dollars in addition to the significant heartache and anguish of having to go through a protracted divorce battle in Court.
Who needs a prenuptial agreement?
While no one enters into marriage thinking it will ever end, there is a reason the Family Court system in Clark County, Nevada is the most overworked part of the judiciary system in Nevada. While not everyone who gets married needs one, it is most appropriate for couples who enter into a marriage with very unequal assets and earning power. In such a case should a divorce arise, alimony is going to be a major issue. Alimony is the most litigated issue in Family Court as there is no formula, such as in child support, to direct a judge in how to set it. That makes an alimony case a scary thing as the amount and duration is simply up to a judge, and the award can vary widely depending upon which judge you happen to get.
If you are entering a second or third marriage (or maybe more) you most likely have children and other commitments from prior relationships you want to financially protect. In some instances, it may be impossible to meet your prior obligations should you have to divide assets or support a new person should the new marriage fail.
What are the pitfalls I should look out for in drafting a prenuptial agreement?
The main problem I see occurs when people use do-it-yourself forms they found online. I have been successful in setting aside prenuptial agreements that do not comply with Nevada law. One case involved a do-it-yourself form. Although both husband and wife duly executed the agreement, it was set aside since the spouse who waived her rights to her husband’s property was not provided independent counsel. This made her waiver invalid, and the few bucks the husband saved by not hiring an attorney was more than offset by the tens of thousands in assets and support he now had to pay.
What is a Postnuptial Agreement?
People often do not realize they can enter into a similar agreement even after their married. The postnuptial agreement establishes the parties rights and obligations regarding their property and alimony after they marry. It is simply called a postnuptial agreement as it takes place after the marriage. A postnuptial agreement may be considered for asset protection where one spouse has potential law suits or credit issues. A carefully drafted postnuptial agreement may even be intermediate step to avoiding divorce.