Most people cringe at the thought of a prenuptial agreement. After all, during the lead up to marriage, the last thing you want to think about is divorce. The truth is that many couples’ marriages will end in divorce and being prepared for the possibility might even strengthen your union in the long run. Forbes offers a few basics on pre and postnuptial agreements and why you should consider implementing one. 

What a prenup can do

Prenuptial agreements lay out specific plans for financial issues in the event of a divorce. This includes the proper division of assets, who is responsible for what debt, who keeps certain property, trust creation for estate planning, and any other financial issues that may arise between two married people. Prenuptial agreements can also lay out the terms of spousal support once the marriage has been dissolved. Also known alimony, these payments are afforded by one ex-spouse to the other to ensure a similar living standard as what occurred during the marriage. 

What it can’t do

Prenups can’t be used to make decisions about child custody, visitation, or support. These matters are decided by the court and made with the best interests of the children at the center of the dispute in mind. As a result, couples can’t make these decisions on their own. Clauses related to housework, sexual relations, or the physical appearance of a spouse can’t be legally enforced, so most attorneys recommend sticking to the basics. 

How postnuptial agreements work

Postnuptial agreements are implemented after a marriage has already taken place. While these documents are sometimes subject to greater scrutiny than prenups, they can be of assistance when issues arise during the course of your marriage. For instance, if you and your spouse continually battle over financial issues, a postnuptial agreement offers some peace of mind in the event your marriage does end. This document may also help you come to terms about common issues, which can actually prevent separation in some cases.