Pennsylvania may have one of the lowest divorce rates in the US, but divorces do happen. That’s why it’s crucial to understand your rights when it comes to postnup vs. prenup agreements.

Prenups, in particular, get a bad rap sometimes. But these agreements are like marital insurance, protecting yourself and your spouse from disaster should you decide to separate down the line.

Learn the facts about postnups and prenups in this guide to understand why all couples, especially high-net-worth ones, should consider these legal agreements.

What Is a Prenup Agreement?

A prenup agreement spells out the division of assets, spousal support, alimony, and other financial factors in case of separation, divorce, or one spouse’s death. Couples sign these agreements before getting married.

Though more common among high-network spouses, prenups can also benefit the average couple. Learn about the advantages and disadvantages of prenups below.

Benefits of Premarital Agreements

Fairness is the primary advantage of signing a marital agreement before saying ‘I do.’ Couples are far more likely to reach a mutually beneficial agreement before marital strife takes its toll.

Other advantages of executing a premarital agreement include:

  • Avoiding liability for one’s spouse’s debt
  • Gaining asset or business protection
  • Setting clear expectations for financial habits
  • Preventing lengthy and expensive divorce court battles
  • Protecting the financial interests of children from a previous marriage

Additionally, prenups explain what happens should one spouse breach a provision of the agreement. For some couples, breaching the prenuptial agreement is grounds for a fault-based divorce.

Drawbacks to Premarital Agreements

Prenups are not airtight. Courts can determine tenets of or even the entire agreement to be unenforceable. If one provision in the agreement is deemed unenforceable, the entire prenup may be invalid.

Other risks of signing a premarital agreement include:

  • Creating tension with one’s spouse
  • Favoring an imbalance of financial power
  • Not covering the child custody or support agreement

Also, couples should remember that once signed, a prenup is irrevocable. You may modify the provisions in the prenup, but both spouses must agree on all new terms. If they cannot, the original prenup will stand.

What Is a Postnup Agreement?

A postnup agreement is identical to a prenup except that it’s signed after the official wedding. Postnuptial agreements outline divorce terms for property distribution, spousal support, and alimony.

Couples can exact a postnup at any point in their marriage. They are especially common in marriages heading for divorce. Learn about the advantages and disadvantages of postnups next.

Benefits of Postnuptial Agreements

The primary benefit of signing a postnup is that spouses can execute one even if they did not create a prenup agreement. Postnups have no time limit; spouses can have them drafted at any time during the marriage.

Other benefits of executing a postnup agreement include the advantages of a prenup, plus the following:

  • Allowing couples to protect assets after changes in financial circumstances
  • Enabling estate planning for children that result from the marriage
  • Facilitating conflict resolution in a marriage that is breaking down

The effects of postnups on prenuptial agreements are controversial. However, in Pennsylvania, postnups can also be used to diminish a spouse’s claim on the other’s estate since it is not possible to disinherit a partner via an estate plan.

Drawbacks to Postnuptial Agreements

Postnups are relatively unusual. Judges are far more critical of these marital agreements due to concerns of fairness and equitableness. If a postnup favors one spouse over the other, a court will be reluctant to enforce it.

Other drawbacks to signing a marital agreement after the wedding include:

  • Creating feelings of distrust in an already rocky marriage
  • Not protecting property owners in community property states (Pennsylvania is not one of them)
  • Requiring full financial disclosure

Finally, postnups have limited to no effect on existing prenuptial agreements. Couples are better off revoking or revising the original prenup than attempting to nullify it with a postnup.

Postnup vs. Prenup: Which Is Right for You?

Now that you understand the pros and cons of prenups vs. postnups, it’s time to determine which is best for your marriage. Here are the ideal candidates for each type of marital agreement.

Who Is a Postnup Right For?

A postnup is right for any couple wishing to protect their assets in case of the marriage falling apart or one spouse’s death. Specifically, getting a postnup in PA is smart for:

  • Spouses for whom separation or divorce is imminent
  • A spouse who leaves the workforce to care for children
  • A spouse who receives a large inheritance
  • The spouse of someone who accumulates significant debts
  • The spouse of someone who has committed infidelity

Say your spouse decides to obtain a professional degree during your marriage, and you must work an extra job to support them. After graduating, your spouse’s income increases significantly, thanks to your sacrifice.

In this case, executing a postnup will ensure you get compensated for your sacrifice if the marriage ends.

Who Is a Prenup Right For?

A prenup is right for couples with significant wealth differences or two spouses with significant incomes, assets, or prospective inheritances. Consider getting a marital agreement before the wedding if you are:

  • A spouse with a high net worth or significant premarital assets
  • A spouse expecting a large inheritance during the marriage
  • A spouse with children from a previous marriage

Say you are a high-net-worth individual with children from a previous marriage. In Pennsylvania, if you passed away, more than half of your estate would automatically pass to your spouse, regardless of the marriage’s health.

In this case, getting a prenup will allow you to decide exactly how much of your estate goes to your children and spouse.

Need a Postnup or Prenup Attorney in York, PA?

When comparing a postnup vs. prenup, the biggest difference is when the agreement is signed. Postnups are signed after the wedding; prenups are signed before you say your vows. Courts favor premarital agreements, but a postnup may be the best option if you did not execute a prenup.

Need help drafting or revising a marital agreement in York, Pennsylvania? Blake & Schanbacher Law is home to award-winning family attorneys with years of experience creating and modifying marital agreements that hold up in court.

Contact us to schedule a consultation and learn more about postnup and prenup services.