Preparing a prenuptial agreement

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in divorce on Friday, October 6, 2017.

Missouri couples who get married do so with the idea that it will be forever. However, a significant number of marriages end in divorce, which can severely change each person’s life plan. One way to prepare for the possibility of a divorce is by drafting and signing a prenuptial agreement before the wedding.

The agreement should be prepared and signed well in advance of the wedding so as to preclude a later challenge by one of the parties claiming coercion. Generally, they must be written documents, signed by both parties who have retained separate legal counsel during the process. In preparation, each party must reveal all their assets and liabilities. Assets can include stocks, bonds, retirement accounts, annuities, bank accounts as well as the appraisal values for any homes or vehicles owned by each party. Liabilities include debts such as student loans, credit card debt and auto loans.

Once the assets and liabilities are identified, the parties need to gather supporting evidence for each and then provide this information to the other party’s legal representative. During negotiations, future outcomes need to be considered, including whether to give up alimony in the event of a divorce, and when and if the agreement will end after a period of time. This last is called a sunset clause. Couples also need to discuss what is considered separate and marital property and how this will be handled after the marriage. Finally, each party should figure out if they have been named beneficiaries for inheritance from a relative since this information will also impact how the agreement is written.

A prenuptial agreement can be used as a tool of protection in case a marriage fails. Negotiating a fair one often depends on experience and knowledge. An attorney with family law experience might provide a client with both.

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