What is a Postnup?

blue border with "what is a postnup?" and the gold Freed Marcroft divorce and family law attorneys logo in the lower right cornerYou may have heard of a postnup, or “postnuptial agreement,” but not know what a postnup actually does or what you can use it for.

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.

Read: What is a Prenup?

What’s the Difference Between a Postup and a Prenup?

The first major difference is also the most basic — spouses enter into a prenup before marriage.  Spouses enter into a postnup after marriage.  There are other differences as well.

Read: Prenup vs. Postnup

Why Do Spouses Enter Into Postnups?

People enter into postnuptial agreements in the interest of preserving their marriage and encouraging the private resolution of family issues.

Read: Understanding the Limitations of a Prenuptial Agreement

What’s the History of Postnups?

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: The Real Reason Prenups are Good

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:

Read: Alimony: the Comprehensive Connecticut Guide

Read: Property Division: The Comprehensive Connecticut Guide

What Can’t a Postnup Include?

Unlike prenuptial agreements, which are governed by Connecticut General Statutes 46b-36, there is no postnuptial agreement statute in Connecticut.  That said, generally speaking, the limitations of prenups likely 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.

Next Steps

To start making a plan for your 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.

Schedule your Goals & Planning Conference today, or contact us either here or by phone at 860-560-8160.