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How are prenuptial and postnuptial agreements different?

It is often difficult for couples in Tennessee to discuss the topic of a prenuptial agreement before they get married. Even if you and/or your spouse thought it was a good idea, you may have worried about how the other person would react when you brought it up or had concerns that it may endanger the relationship. Needless to say, the window of opportunity to enter into a prenuptial agreement closes at the end of the wedding ceremony. However, if you still think that you and your spouse could benefit by setting parameters for the division of property in the event of a divorce, you have the option of creating a postnuptial agreement.

According to FindLaw, a postnuptial agreement accomplishes many of the same objectives that a prenuptial agreement does by delineating provisions for handling a couple's debts and assets after a divorce. However, that was not always the case. Prior to the 1970s, which is when more states started adopting no-fault divorce laws, postnuptial agreements were generally unenforceable. 

There are two main differences between postnuptial and prenuptial agreements. The first and most obvious is that a couple can only enter into a prenuptial agreement before the marriage takes place, while a postnuptial agreement can only occur at some point after the wedding, whether weeks, months, or years later. Another significant difference between the two pertains to legal representation for each spouse. With very few exceptions, couples entering into a prenuptial agreement must retain separate counsel. However, despite greater scrutiny by the courts to ensure fairness, most states allow both spouses to use the same attorney while creating a postnuptial agreement.

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.

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