Preputial agreements are legal contracts. In fact, many refer to them as “marital contracts.” They are set in stone, and the law expects them to be obeyed. In some cases, they can be challenged or overturned, but generally, they remain strong under scrutiny.
For this reason and more, you want your prenup written correctly, just as you would any legal agreement. Sometimes, however, life takes unexpected turns, and it’s time to change your legal documents. Luckily, a prenuptial contract can be altered when necessary.
Below are examples of gradual changes and life events that tell you it’s time to revisit your original prenuptial agreement.
Your Cohabitation Agreement Isn’t Working
Prenups can do far more than secure and designate finances between partners. They can also dictate the role each person plays in the marriage. For instance, a marital contract can name one person as the finance manager of the marriage, while the other controls the kids’ educational concerns.
Life, however, doesn’t always turn out the way we expect. A couple working at their highest capacity may still find that the contract isn’t working. Perhaps the wrong person was given a certain role, and the other is far more equipped for the job. Maybe an injury or degenerative disease renders someone incapable of performing a role they once did perfectly.
As your relationship grows and changes, you may find a new groove that works better for you. Unfortunately, this means that you still have a contractual agreement that contradicts the way the marriage currently functions. If you find that your current situation stands in direct contrast with your original agreement, it’s time to have that contract altered.
An Unexpected Baby
It’s a common story. A couple gets married and genuinely plans on having no children, or they plan on having no more than a specified number. Time passes, and an unplanned pregnancy occurs. This couple, once resolute, decides to keep the child, and the family changes forever.
A new baby requires a new look at your contract, especially when the number of children was originally predetermined. If your original contract, for instance, has a rigid financial plan, that’s going to need alteration. There is another person in the family, now. This is another mouth to feed and body to clothe. The baby will need medical care and a financial plan for the future.
You must now consider how much money goes toward the child. You must decide who controls that money and how. Cohabitation agreements will also need revision, as the division of duties will likely.
Imagine a couple who writes a prenup in which one partner remains a stay-at-home parent, and the other is the breadwinner. The stay-at-home parent has plenty to do, but they also find time to write a novel. Eventually, they find an agent, get their book published, and become a best-selling author. Since they found time to do it before, they manage to do it again. Now they have a writing career while continuing to be a successful, supportive stay-at-home parent. A situation like this could change everything. This writer may become the higher earner in the home. In fact, they can support the family and allow the other parent to quit their job.
This example might be a bit fanciful, but it illustrates an important point: Major changes in work and earnings could make your original prenup irrelevant. When this happens, it’s time to go back to the drawing board and update your contract.
Unexpected changes can alter everything about a prenuptial agreement. Therefore, you may want to consider waiting to create a postnuptial agreement. “Postnups” can work the same as a prenup. The only difference is when they are created, after the wedding.
You and your partner can agree to a predetermined amount of time, after which you create your postnuptial contract. Using that time to decide what works best in your relationship, you then draft the contract.
To keep one another accountable, you can create a simple prenup leading to the eventual postnup. For instance, you could sign a contract that explicitly states that by the third year of marriage, you will create a postnuptial contract.
Choosing a postnup could keep you from revisiting your contract, paying lawyers, and going through the whole process again.
For help with marital agreements, trust our firm. We have years of experience assisting couples through these contract negotiations. You can call us at (949) 565-4158 for a free, no-risk consultation. You can also contact us online.