A prenuptial contract is a legal document that provides financial security to marrying spouses, outlining their respective financial rights and responsibilities for their marriage. Every state has unique laws pertaining to divorce and all related legal issues like property division, child custody determination, and more. If you are planning to marry soon, you may not want to consider the possibility that your marriage will end in divorce, and many people think the suggestion of a prenuptial contract indicates a belief that this is the most likely outcome.
The reality is that a properly constructed prenuptial agreement can offer several valuable benefits to both spouses, and it is also possible to create a postnuptial agreement that serves as a blueprint for resolving financial disputes and a future divorce. Many people who develop prenuptial contracts with their spouses also include postnuptial clauses. As long as the couple periodically updates their contract as their circumstances change, they can continue relying on it for years, and if they decide to divorce, the contract will streamline the process significantly.
Prenuptial Vs. Postnuptial Agreements in Columbia
Having a legally enforceable prenuptial/postnuptial contract in Columbia can allow you to avoid many common financial issues pertaining to divorce and help you and your spouse save time and money on dissolution proceedings. In addition, even if the two of you remain married, creating your prenuptial contract will compel you to have challenging conversations that many married couples do not broach until they are forced to do so, sometimes not until they’ve been married for years.
A prenuptial contract and postnuptial contract are essentially the same; a prenuptial contract is created before marriage, and a postnuptial contract is created after the couple is already married, but both serve the purpose of outlining the spouses’ financial responsibilities and their rights during the marriage. A prenuptial contract can include a specific postnuptial clause that pertains specifically to divorce, and it’s possible to customize your prenup in many other ways, too.
Using Your Prenuptial/Postnuptial Contract for Divorce in Missouri
In the event you and your spouse create a prenuptial contract and later need to use it to divorce, a properly constructed contract could mean your divorce process will be little more than a formal review of your prenup and the implementation of its terms into your divorce order. Most couples who draft prenuptial contracts and later use them for their divorces will take advantage of the alternative dispute resolution process, using collaborative divorce or mediation for the review portion of their contract before moving to family court litigation to resolve child custody and other outstanding issues.
If you or your spouse has any reason to believe your prenuptial contract is no longer valid or one of you has violated the terms of the contract, it is crucial to consult an attorney to determine what this could mean in terms of your impending divorce. A prenuptial contract could also be rendered unenforceable if it is discovered to include any illegal or unconscionable terms, if it was created on a fraudulent basis, or if either party signed under duress or in any incapacitated condition.
Ultimately, a prenuptial contract has the potential to streamline your divorce case substantially, but only if you devote the proper time and effort to creating a legally enforceable contract. Additionally, you and your spouse will need to periodically review and revise the contract whenever your circumstances change. If you’re unsure whether you need a prenuptial/postnuptial contract, it’s worth consulting an experienced Columbia family law attorney. They can assess the details of your situation, help you understand the potential benefits your contract could offer, and guide you through the creation process with confidence.
Q: Are Prenuptial/Postnuptial Contracts Only for Wealthy People?
A: While high-net-worth individuals likely have more financial concerns pertaining to their marriages than most average people, it would be a mistake to assume that a prenuptial contract wouldn’t benefit you or your spouse due to limited assets. A prenuptial contract outlines you and your spouse’s financial responsibilities for your marriage, and it can also lay the groundwork for a divorce and streamline this difficult process if you construct the contract accordingly.
Q: Do I Have to Hire a Lawyer to Create a Prenuptial Contract?
A: You and your spouse may be able to privately negotiate your preferred terms for a prenuptial contract on your own, but if you want to be sure the contract is legally enforceable, it is crucial to have an experienced Columbia family law attorney help you draft the contract. Your attorney can ensure it covers all of you and your spouse’s primary financial concerns, and they may be able to uncover other issues you may not have considered on your own.
Q: What Can’t Be Included in a Prenuptial Contract?
A: A prenuptial agreement specifically focuses on financial matters, typically those that will arise in a future divorce if the couple decides to end their marriage. A prenuptial agreement cannot include any terms pertaining to child custody, child support, or everyday personal affairs, such as who is responsible for cleaning the marital home and who gets to decide where the family vacations. An experienced Columbia family lawyer can provide direction when it comes to what you should include in your contract.
Q: Do I Need to Hire an Attorney for a Divorce?
A: Even if you have a solid prenuptial/postnuptial agreement, do not assume you can handle your divorce proceedings without an attorney. Hiring legal counsel you can rely on will significantly improve the efficiency of your divorce proceedings, and they can help you make more informed decisions about every aspect of your divorce.
If you are planning to marry in the near future or recently married in Columbia, a prenuptial/postnuptial agreement can be a valuable lifeline when it comes to preserving your financial security and helping you and your spouse begin your marriage with reassurance and open communication. If you believe a prenuptial/postnuptial contract could benefit you and your partner, contact a Columbia, MO, family law attorney you can trust to help you draft your contract.