When you marry, you make a set of promises to your beloved, but you do not put all your expectations of each other in your marriage vows. Agreements about some issues are better put in writing.
Marital agreements are a way for engaged and married couples to think about their expectations and promises to each other and formalize them in a contract. Courts will enforce these contracts if they meet specific conditions.
Each party should work with an independent attorney when considering a marital agreement. A St. Louis marital agreements lawyer from Jones Family Law can listen to your needs and draft a contract to protect your best interests. Our dedicated legal team may also review a contract your partner’s attorney drafted.
Prenuptial Agreements Offer Multiple Benefits
Prenuptial agreements are a good idea for any couple but are critical in some circumstances. If either of you has children from a previous relationship, a prenuptial agreement can ensure designated property goes to the children if the marriage ends. Prenuptial agreements are also essential if one of you has significantly more wealth than the other.
When a marriage ends, laws determine how the spouses distinguish separate property from marital property and require the couple to divide marital property equitably. What a judge deems equitable on paper might not be fair in practice. Working on a premarital agreement with our lawyers in St. Louis allows you to decide which property you will share and which is separate.
All marital agreements, including prenups, require both parties to fully disclose their income, assets, and debts before signing. This process allows you to gain a clear understanding of each other’s financial positions and can help in setting realistic expectations for your financial lives together. A skilled marital agreements attorney could help you prepare your disclosure and review your fiancé’s disclosure, ensuring you both enter marriage fully informed about finances.
Postnuptial Agreements Address Unanticipated Situations
Many couples marry without a prenup and later wish they had one. Others might have a prenup that no longer seems fair or appropriate because of changes in their circumstances. Some couples face situations they did not anticipate and want to commit to handling things a certain way.
Postnuptial agreements can address all these situations. Anything you could have included in a prenup can be in a postnuptial agreement. In addition, you may use a postnuptial agreement to formalize your decisions about caring for a disabled family member, allocate interest in a business, or impose consequences for marital misconduct.
A valid postnuptial agreement is the only way for a couple to amend a prenuptial agreement. If your current circumstances render a prenuptial agreement unfair, you could enter a postnuptial agreement to replace it. If you are considering a divorce, a postnuptial agreement can avoid a challenge to a prenup or a property division dispute, easing the marriage dissolution process.
Separation Agreements Ease a Peaceful Parting
Many marriages do not endure forever. If you decide to legally separate or divorce in St. Louis, our local attorneys could draft a separation agreement. The agreement covers property division, allocation of debts, and spousal maintenance.
A separation agreement often incorporates the terms of a prenup or postnuptial agreement. Doing so reduces the effort you must invest in dividing property and deciding on spousal support. You can focus on making appropriate arrangements for the children; however, any provisions in your prenup or postnuptial agreement pertaining to child custody and child support are typically not enforceable, as issues relating to children must reflect the children’s best interests at the time of separation.
If you and your spouse can create a comprehensive separation agreement before you file for divorce, you could seek an uncontested divorce. In an uncontested divorce, you submit your separation agreement to the court with your divorce petition. The judge will adopt it and issue a divorce decree upon review unless it is unfair.
Consult a St. Louis Attorney About Marital Agreements
Marital agreements might not seem romantic, but taking practical steps to address your financial expectations can solve many problems before they impact your happiness. A St. Louis marital agreements lawyer at our firm could work with you on developing a contract that meets your needs. Call Jones Family Law Group today to discuss your situation and get tailored solutions.