Prenup vs. Postnup
Updated December 3, 2023
You’ve heard of premarital and postmarital agreements — commonly called “prenups” and “postnups.” But what’s a prenup vs. a postnup?
Read on to learn more.
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. You entered into it prior to marriage.
A postnup is also a contract two spouses enter 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.” On the other hand, you must be married to enter into a postnup.
Read: What Is a Postnup?
Law on Prenups vs. Postnups
Connecticut General Statutes 46b-36 governs prenuptial agreements. In contrast, there is no postnuptial agreement statute in Connecticut. In fact, 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 could help:
- Privately resolve marital conflicts
- Protect third-party interests, and
- Address the spouses’ financial concerns.
What is Covered by a Prenup vs. a Postnup?
Prenups and postnups are used to address many of the same issues. They allow partners and 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:
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 on child custody or 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.
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. Then, we analyze those goals and present you with recommendations and options to move forward.