Can You Get a Prenup After Marriage?
Many people learn more about prenups after their wedding, and wonder whether they can enter into a prenup after marriage.
The short answer is no. Prenuptial agreements must be completed before marriage. However, Connecticut does allow spouses to enter into postnuptial agreements, or “postnups.”
Read on to learn more.
What is a Postnup?
In the most general terms, a postnuptial agreement is a contract between two spouses entered into after their wedding ceremony, anywhere from weeks to years later.
For many years, Connecticut courts found postnuptial agreements contrary to public policy in part because courts believed at that time postnups encouraged divorce. But in the 2011 case Bedrick v. Bedrick, Connecticut shifted its position on postnups and acknowledged that they can help:
- Privately resolve marital conflicts
- Protect third party interests, and
- Address the spouses’ financial concerns.
Read: What is a Postnup? Read: What is a Prenup?
What Can a Postnup Cover?
Postnups are used to address many of the same issues as prenups. They allow spouses to decide and determine what will happen to their finances at the end of their marriage — whether that marriage ends by death or by divorce. Today, we will focus on how postnups work in the divorce context.
This includes how to handle:
- Property division
- Alimony and spousal support
- Children’s rights to property
- Life insurance
- Retirement plans
Read: Alimony: the Comprehensive Connecticut Guide Read: Property Division: The Comprehensive Connecticut Guide
Prenups vs. Postnups
A prenup allows future spouses to decide and determine what will happen to their finances at the end of their marriage — whether that marriage ends by death or by divorce. It is entered into before marriage.
A postnup is also a contract between two spouses entered into after their wedding — anywhere from weeks to years later.
To enter into a prenup you must be engaged — what Connecticut calls “prospective spouses . . . contemplati[ng] marriage.” To enter into a postnup you must be married.
Read: Prenup vs. Postnup
Read: The Real Reason Prenups Are Good
What is Not Covered by a Prenup or a Postnup?
Generally speaking, the limitations of prenups apply to postnups.
Here are some of the main ones:
- Prenups can’t decide child custody or child support.
If a marriage ends in divorce, the court will have the final word in matters of child custody and child support.
- Prenuptial agreements can’t encourage divorce.
Prenups should not encourage divorce in their language or structure.
- It can’t promote unconscionable or illegal activities.
No surprise here. As with most contracts, your prenuptial agreement cannot include anything illegal. And, if circumstances change and what you decided in your prenup or postnup would no longer be conscionable at the time of divorce, the court won’t enforce it.
Read: Do Prenups Work?
To start making a plan for your prenup or postnup, reach out. Our first step at Freed Marcroft, the Goals & Planning Conference, is designed to unveil your true goals. We analyze those goals and present you with recommendations and options to move forward.