Prenuptial agreements are valuable for many couples. Candidly discussing assets, debts, and financial expectations before marriage can strengthen your union and prevent future disputes about money.
Contact a St. Louise prenuptial agreement lawyer from our firm if you want to explore your options. At Jones Family Law Group, we could explain the legal requirements, discuss your goals for the agreement, and create an initial draft. If your fiancé’s attorney has already prepared a draft, our knowledgeable attorneys could review it, explain its implications, and suggest revisions if it is unfair or does not meet your needs.
What Topics Can a Prenup Cover?
With a few limitations, a prenuptial agreement (prenup) can cover any aspect of your life as a married couple that you choose. After discussing your hopes and concerns with you, an attorney at our St. Louis office may suggest provisions to accomplish your goals for the prenup.
Many prenuptial agreements identify the property each partner wants to keep separate and exclude from the marital estate. The agreement might specify that certain debts are the responsibility of one person, not the couple. The agreement can also detail how joint living expenses will be paid during the marriage.
The prenup might ensure that if a couple divorces, a spouse can continue to operate a business or professional practice and provide financial compensation to the other spouse. If either of you has children from a prior relationship, a prenup could ensure specific property passes directly to the children if their parent dies.
Prenuptial Agreements Reflect Your Decisions
When you divorce, the law determines what property you own as a couple and what property belongs to each spouse separately. The law requires you to divide your marital property equitably. An equitable division is fair to both parties but not necessarily equal.
If you do not have a prenuptial agreement, negotiations over identifying separate property and fairly dividing marital property can intensify. Reaching an equitable division can take months; meanwhile, the fees for accountants, appraisers, valuation experts, and attorneys pile up.
A valid prenuptial agreement can speed up the property division process and save needless expenses. You and your fiancé can identify the property you want to keep separate and determine a process for dividing joint property that seems fair to you. Our lawyers may suggest provisions in your prenuptial agreement to ensure the property division goes smoothly if your marriage does not endure.
Requirements for a Valid Prenuptial Agreement in St. Louis
Missouri does not have a statute that governs prenups, as many states do. However, state courts have upheld prenups that comply with principles applicable to other kinds of contracts. A prenup is only valid if it is in writing and both parties sign it before the marriage. Courts will not honor an oral prenuptial agreement. Additionally, you and your fiancé must enter the contract freely and willingly. If one of you coerces the other or applies unreasonable pressure, a judge could rule that the agreement is invalid.
A prenup must not unfairly favor one party over the other. If the agreement calls for one of you to give up a right to something, it must offer something in return. Both parties must fully disclose their income, assets, and debts, and both parties should have an independent attorney review the prenup before signing.
Call a St. Louis Attorney to Discuss Prenuptial Agreements
Taking the time to address financial issues now could pay off later. Money is often a source of discord in a marriage, and having clear expectations of how you will handle your finances can reduce future disputes. If the marriage ends, your prenuptial agreement determines your property settlement, saving you time and attorney’s fees.
A prenup provides transparency and clarity about financial matters, which is a good start to a marriage. Discuss your situation with a St. Louis prenuptial agreement lawyer from Jones Family Law Group. Call us today to set up a consultation.