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What is the difference between a prenup and a postnup?

On Behalf of | Mar 21, 2022 | Divorce, Marital Property, Post-Divorce Issues |

Many Maryland married couples have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. Both legal documents can affect the division of property if you divorce. Most cover assets that each owns, but what is the difference?

What these agreements detail

The main difference between prenups and postnups is that a prenup is signed before marriage while a postnup is signed afterwards. Among the items that each will detail if a divorce occurs. They cover financial assets, especially retirement benefits and sometimes specify alimony, plus how sentimental items will be distributed in the event of a death or a split.

Prenuptial agreements can seem daunting as one partner may view the document as a threat. However, they can also be useful to determine support for children from a previous marriage. At the same time, prenups can be difficult to enforce because of the ever-changing legal landscape concerning them. Couples sometimes sign postnups if their life circumstances change dramatically during the marriage. For example, one spouse may come into a large inheritance or if information comes to light about one partner’s financial situation. Both types of agreements can be difficult to enforce depending on the circumstances.

Are these agreements worthwhile?

The short answer is they can be if spouses are willing to work within the parameters of the documents when entering negotiations for equitable divorce settlements. In these cases, you already have one or more documents that state your wishes, so you may be able to take some assets off the negotiating table.

Keep in mind that the divorce process can take months if it is litigated. If the prenup or postnup was drafted fairly, you can possibly reduce the amount of time and maybe even the cost of your divorce.