Post-Nuptial Agreements: What are they?

People frequently get confused over the difference between pre-nuptial agreements, post-nuptial agreements, separation agreements, and marital settlement agreements. What are the differences?

In Pennsylvania, a pre-nuptial agreement is an agreement entered into by two people before they get married. The purpose is usually to state what happens when the parties die and if the parties get divorced later. The agreement usually covers the parties’ respective assets, debt, and the issue of alimony.

A post-nuptial agreement does the same thing, except the parties enter into it after they get married. It is essentially a pre-nuptial agreement entered into after marriage. It is not entered into because the parties are about to get divorced.

A separation agreement is usually just a different name for a marital settlement agreement in Pennsylvania. The parties are getting divorced and want an agreement to divide their assets and debt, and to address how alimony will be handled.  Its focus is not what happens at death, but rather what happens right now as the parties get divorced. It can be used in place of the parties going to trial and having the court divide their assets and debt and rule on alimony.

Our firm can assist you with drafting any of these agreements. Beware of using form agreements from the Internet, as they may not comply with Pennsylvania law and usually are not tailored to your individual situation. They can also be poorly written, being hard for the court to interpret later or by not being comprehensive enough (that is, leaving something out). Our fees are low, and you can have peace of mind that your assets are protected.


Written by Attorney Andrew Glasgow