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What's the difference between a prenup and a postnup?

If you or your partner owns valuable assets, then you might have talked about signing a prenuptial agreement. You might have also heard about something similar called a postnuptial agreement and wondered if it might be better for you. According to First Wives World, the two contracts are similar, except postnuptial agreement is handled after your official marriage while a prenuptial agreement is done prior. However, there are other complexities involved, since marriage affects property ownership.

You might decide to get a postnuptial agreement for a number of reasons and it is possible to sign one at any point in your marriage. You and your spouse might create one a few years or even decades into your marriage, especially if there is some change in your financial situation. You may also make changes to your prenuptial agreement and thereby create a new document

A prenuptial agreement protects a partner's assets from being used as marital property during a divorce. For example, if you expect to inherit valuable property or enter the marriage extremely wealthy, then you can protect your assets from your spouse by declaring that they only will receive a small percentage rather than an equal division in case of divorce or death.

Income and assets accrued during the marriage can also be protected, and you can predetermine how much alimony you or your spouse will receive. A complexity involved in a postnuptial that is not present in a prenup is that once you are legally married, much of your property becomes marital property.

Michigan is an equitable distribution state, which means that all marital property Is considered divisible in a fair and equal manner, as discussed in a previous blog post. However, under the law, you might still be able to protect any high-value assets you obtain during the marriage, as long as it is kept separate from any marital property.

A postnuptial agreement might help you decide upon a different arrangement than would normally be determined during a divorce in a similar manner as a prenup, even though you will already have marital property. This information is intended solely to educate and should not be considered legal advice. 

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Lorrie J. Zahodnic

"I will hold you up until you can stand on your own two feet."

Lorrie J. Zahodnic, P.C. has provided skilled and compassionate legal guidance to Michiganders in family law matters for over 20 years.

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