Understanding Prenups and Postnups

With interest in prenups and postnups rising, some Michigan couples might wonder which, if any, is the right type of agreement for them. This is not surprising, as many couples enter marriage with some assets already acquired or with children from previous marriages to consider. Prenups and postnups are drafted in very similar manners, with the main difference being when the agreement is signed: before marriage or after. However, the way they hold up in court can have major differences.

Why should you sign a marital agreement?

Both prenups and postnups are marital agreements. Prenups, however, are signed before the couple gets married while postnups are done any time after the marriage has taken place, though they often happen soon after the wedding. The purpose of both is to establish early on what is considered separate property and how assets will be addressed in case the couple ends up getting divorced or one of the spouses dies. They are often entered into by couples who want to protect some assets, such as properties or businesses acquired before marriage or to ensure what part of their property their children from previous relationships will receive or how inheritance of their assets will be handled in case of their death.

Drafting a prenup or postnup

Both prenups and postnups have similar requirements. As they are both considered legal contracts, the language and evidence must support the requirements. These include:

• Entering into an agreement voluntarily and with full, honest disclosure of each party’s financial situation
• Creating a written agreement signed by both parties
• Having clear proof of the benefits received by each party when they sign the agreement

In general, prenups are more accepted by courts than postnups. However, courts will also accept postnups if certain conditions are met, including proof that the couple intended to stay in the marriage when the postnup was drafted and that they are fair agreements for both parties involved.

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