Can You Add Property To A Prenup After Marriage?

Aug 8, 2023 | Prenuptial Agreements

Let’s say you’ve already signed, sealed, and delivered that prenup, gotten married, and went to Mexico for your honeymoon. It’s now been a few years of marriage, and you bought a new house. Do you need to go back and add this to your prenup?? Not necessarily! You should have clauses in your prenup that “cover” you in all situations, including the situation of acquiring new assets during the marriage that didn’t exist when you signed the prenup. Let’s dive into this question and explore some more.

Understanding Prenuptial Agreements

Before we dive into adding property to a prenup after marriage, let’s get a good grasp on what prenups are all about. So, a prenuptial agreement is basically a legal contract that spells out the nitty-gritty details of how assets, debts, and financial responsibilities will be divided if a divorce ever happens. It’s like a roadmap that brings clarity and protection to both partners, making sure things get split fairly and avoiding unnecessary drama during a divorce.

Adding Property to a Prenuptial Agreement BEFORE Marriage

Typically, prenuptial agreements are drafted and signed before the marriage ceremony takes place. They primarily focus on the assets and debts the couple brings into the marriage. This includes a process known as financial disclosure when both spouses disclose the values of their assets, debts, and even future inheritances. These values are calculated as of the date of the prenup. However, couples can also include provisions for future purchased property or income that may occur during the marriage (more on this in the next section).

Can You Add Property to a Prenup AFTER marriage? 

The answer is yes, but you probably don’t need to. Why? Because it’s likely that your prenup ALREADY covers future property. That’s right, your prenup (if done well) should already account for any of the stuff that you don’t have yet. Yes, it also covers your existing property, as well. How does that work? Well, you add in clauses for specific situations: appreciation, exchange of property, purchasing new property, future income, future businesses, and future inheritances. All of these things should be expansive enough to cover every single future purchase you make.

Let’s break it down: 

  • A clause for appreciation: you can add a clause that talks about what should happen to FUTURE appreciation. Appreciation is property, too! For example, let’s say you own a house and it’s your separate property. That house will likely gain some value over time (i.e., the house will appreciate). Do you now need to go back and add this new value to your prenup? Not if you have an appreciation clause! 
  • A clause for exchange of property: what if you own a house (and it’s your separate property) but you exchange it for another house during the marriage? This new property… what happens to it? Do you need to go back and add it to your prenup? Not if you have a clause that talks about exchange of separate property! 
  • A clause for future income: there are clauses you can add into your prenup that talk about what will happen to your future income. Will it stay separate? If yes, then you don’t need to go back to your prenup and add every single last penny of income you’ve made to make sure it’s safe. 
  • A clause for future purchased/earned assets: things like retirement funds, investments, and other property that you acquire DURING the marriage can be protected. You don’t need to specify which ones, it’s enough to say that these future acquired assets are protected. 
  • A clause for future businesses: if you just recently started a business and you’re already married, do you need to go back and add said business to the prenup? Not if you have a prenup in place with a clause that talks about future business interests! You can make sure that all future business interests are protected in your prenup, even if they don’t exist yet.
  • A clause for future inheritances: if you are expecting an inheritance (or even if you’re unsure) you can add a clause that covers you for the future, and protects your inheritance that doesn’t exist yet. So, when you get your inheritance, you don’t necessarily need to go back and update your prenup, as long as you put a future inheritance clause in there to begin with. 

Financial Disclosure 

There is a part of the prenup-making process that requires both spouses to share financial information with each other. This includes assets, debts, and future inheritances. If anyone skimps on this, it puts the entire prenup at risk of being thrown out, so both parties must be adding EVERYTHING. For example, if you own a home and a bank account, you would need to include detailed information about both, including the values of each as of the date of the prenup creation. Thus, all your financial information is recorded as of the prenup date. If anything else is added to your portfolio, you don’t necessarily need to go back and update it to protect it. (You can if you want to, which would require modifying the prenup or potentially creating a postnup). 

Modifying a Prenuptial Agreement After Marriage

While it’s not always necessary to add property to a prenup after you’ve already been married if you’ve created an all encompassing prenup, some people may still want to do so or be advised by an attorney to do so. If that’s you, and you’re looking to modify or amend your prenup based on new assets you’ve acquired, then listen up. 

For starters, amending a prenup requires the agreement of both spouses. If your spouse doesn’t want to update the prenup, then you can’t update it. It’s a contract, so it works two ways. Secondly, you must adhere to the legal requirements of the state in which governs your prenup. This may mean getting the amendment witnessed, notarized, or obtaining legal representation (or other requirements). 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about adding property to your prenup after marriage 

Q: Can I add property to a prenuptial agreement after marriage?

A: Yes, you can, but it’s not always necessary if you have the right clauses in your prenup to begin with. 

 

Q: How do I add property to a prenup after marriage?
A: You’ll need to amend the prenup or get a postnuptial agreement.

 

Q: Can I modify a prenuptial agreement without the help of an attorney?

A: While it is possible to modify a prenuptial agreement without an attorney’s help in some states, it is highly recommended to seek legal counsel, and in fact, some states require it. 

 

Conclusion

In conclusion, while prenuptial agreements are typically created before marriage, it is possible to add property to a prenuptial agreement after tying the knot. But is it necessary? Not usually. If you have a well-crafted prenup, you should not have to worry about adding property to a prenup after marriage because your prenup will already cover future purchased assets. If you still want to add property to a prenup, for whatever reason (personal preference or from the advice of an attorney), make sure you follow your state’s requirements for amendments or postnups and speak with a local prenup lawyer.

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