In an earlier blog, we talked about circumstances that may cause a prenuptial agreement to be invalid. And while this is value information to have during a divorce, some couples are simply looking to modify an existing prenuptial agreement, even if divorce is not on the horizon. So, can a previously signed prenuptial agreement be modified after marriage? Here’s what you need to know about your options.
Modifying a Prenup
The short answer to this question is yes, you can modify a prenuptial agreement at any time. However, just as the prenuptial agreement had to be signed by both parties, both parties must also agree to any modifications made to the agreement. So, if you and your spouse are both seeking to make certain amendments to your original prenuptial contract, the process is fairly simple.
A revision to your prenuptial agreement is called an amendment, and takes the form of an additional page or pages that are added to the end of the prenup. It will alter or override any parts of the prenuptial agreement that you and your partner wish to modify. A family lawyer can easily walk you through the process, review the document to ensure it reflects your desires accurately, and have it notarized.
However, if your spouse does not wish to modify the existing prenuptial agreement, you may have to pursue other options.
Invalidating the Prenup
If you wish to modify your prenuptial agreement, but your spouse wishes to leave it as it is, you may want to look into the enforceability of the prenup. As we discussed previously, there are many reasons that your prenuptial agreement may be considered invalid. You can read our blog on the topic here. Work with one of our experienced attorneys, and we’ll help you review your prenuptial agreement and the circumstances surrounding its creation to determine if it is an enforceable document. If you find reason for your prenuptial agreement to be invalid, you may not have to worry about modifying it at all.
Creating Postnuptial Agreements
Whether you’ve determined your prenuptial agreement to be invalid, or you simply didn’t create one before you were married, you always have the option of creating a postnuptial agreement. These types of documents are becoming more and more common as married couples decide to take steps to ensure their assets are protected during a divorce.
You can also draw up a postnuptial agreement to override a previously written prenuptial agreement. This may be a good option if your and your spouse’s circumstances and desires have changed drastically since the time the prenuptial agreement was signed. If you’re interested in having a postnuptial agreement drafted up for you, be sure to work with an experienced attorney to ensure it is done properly.
Reasons You May Wish to Amend
Now that you know you can modify your prenuptial agreement, and you’re aware of some alternative options if your spouse doesn’t wish to modify, let’s talk about some common reasons for seeking a prenuptial agreement modification. Two of the most common reasons we encounter for amending a prenuptial agreement are a change in finances or when the couple have children.
When drawing up a prenuptial agreement, you’re often making your best guess regarding what the financial and personal circumstances will be if a divorce arises. Often enough, your circumstances alter over the years, and you may be unhappy with your existing prenup. For example, if your prenuptial agreement states that everything will be split equally, but you inherited a large piece of property from your parents that you wish to keep intact, you may modify your prenup to state the property will remain with you in the event of a divorce. This is just one of many possible examples.
While prenuptial agreements cannot be used to determine child custody or child support payments, you may still wish to modify a prenuptial agreement in order to accommodate the birth of any children in the relationship. For example, let’s assume you owned a home when you were married, and your prenup stated that the home would go to you if you and your spouse divorced. After the birth of your children, you may decide to modify the prenup to state that the family home will remain with whichever apparent is awarded primary custody, so that the children can remain in a familiar, comfortable atmosphere.
If you wish to amend your prenuptial agreement, or you want to draw up a postnuptial agreement, reach out to our family law offices today, and our experienced attorneys will be happy to assist you.