Pre-nuptial agreements, also referred to as antenuptial agreements, are private contracts made between two individuals in anticipation of marriage. These agreements most commonly dictate the asset division in the event the marriage terminates in divorce. However, pre-nuptial agreements may also address future spousal support, as well.
The attraction of this type of agreement is to decide, in advance, what assets the parties will retain in the event of divorce and avoid future acrimony. Such an agreement would take the place of a court deciding the division of assets in a contested divorce. In order to ensure the enforceability of such contracts, there must be full financial disclosure and other procedural safeguards must be afforded the parties prior to entering into such an agreement.
Post-nuptial agreements are private contracts entered into between two married individuals which dictate potential asset division and/or support obligations in the event the marriage ends in divorce. Since the parties are already married, these types of agreements are reviewed with a higher level of scrutiny by the court to ensure that such agreements were not the product of duress or coercion.
Thoughtful advance planning can ease transitions in the event of divorce or other life events.