Can You Sign a Prenup After Marriage?

Wondering, “can you still sign a prenup after marriage?” We’ll tell you the answer today, so keep reading to learn more.

By Amanda Mitchell

Prenup After Marriage
Photo by Shutterstock

If you’re unsure about signing a prenuptial agreement or you’re worried about having the conversation with your partner, don’t stress about it. While prenups have become far more popular and common with Millenials, they can feel rather daunting and may not be suited for you and your partner's lifestyles.

It's far from the end of the world if you don't get one, either—postnups or postnuptial agreements, are becoming more commonplace, too. What exactly is a postnuptial agreement? While a prenup agreement is signed before marriage or civil union, a postnuptial agreement is one signed after things are said and done.

Why might you do this? Things change, people make life-altering decisions, and a postnup can often be a cathartic, eye-opening way to look at your future with your partner and reaffirm that you're on the same page—regardless of if it's one year into the marriage or 15 years along.

For more must-have facts on the postnup, Zola spoke to an attorney and financial advisor to answer all of your most burning questions.

Can You Sign a Prenup After Marriage? Photo Credit // Shutterstock

The Difference Between a Prenup and a Postnup

A prenup and a postnup are essentially the same things, the only difference is in the timing: The former occurs before the wedding takes place, while the latter occurs after vows are said.

Both a prenup and a postnup can—and do—cover a variety of things, including but not limited to how to divide property and marital assets, issues of spousal support, or how to divide the marital estate if one party dies or the parties' divorce. Some parties even include infidelity clauses, and both documents must be fair to both parties and not entered into under duress.

How to Consider Getting a Postnup

According to marriage attorney Maria M. Barlow, there are many reasons a couple might consider a postnup:

  • Some couples consider postnups because they didn’t know about or consider a prenup agreement before marriage.
  • Perhaps one spouse wants to stop working outside of the home and the parties want to agree on how to divide things should they part ways. Some opt for postnups after infidelity or to protect their children. Some spouses hear about ugly divorces, which prompts them to get a postnup.
  • Perhaps one spouse starts a business during the marriage and wants to keep it separate.
  • Or, perhaps one spouse incurred a huge amount of debt, and the other spouse did not want to be on the hook for it.

"There are various benefits for a postnup, including saving time and money should divorce rear its ugly head," Barlow explained. "Whatever the case may be, a postnup is not a bad thing. Negotiate fair terms while you are still in love."

Postnups are frequently used to update a prenup agreement, says financial advisor Theresa Morrison. "Sometimes, postnups are the first marital agreement, usually resulting from a significant change in circumstances, or in anticipation of a mediated divorce," she explains.

Can You Sign a Prenup After Marriage? Photo Credit // Shutterstock

How the Postnup Process Works

Approaching a postnup is similar to a prenup: It’s a marriage contract that must be negotiated, and both you and your partner should each have independent counsel. In the event of a divorce, it provides a roadmap for a less costly, less emotionally charged, and faster end to the marriage.

Prenups are becoming more popular because it's a great way to discuss your future with your partner and make sure you're on the same page about things like finances and child support. Postnups do the same, but in some cases are an even better option, because they afford you the chance to revisit and recalibrate your relationship and ensure your future happiness by covering ground that may not have been uncovered before your wedding day.

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