Prenuptial Agreements: Do We Need One?
In some situations, particularly when there are children from other relationships to be considered, or where one or both parties are bringing assets into the marriage, couples choose to make agreements in advance of the marriage as to the rights of each party in the event of a divorce or the death of either spouse.
How do we begin the process?
If you would like to discuss whether a prenuptial agreement is advisable prior to your marriage, please call to arrange a consultation. It is best that prenuptial agreements are addressed and resolved well in advance of any wedding date. Some couples choose to use the mediation process to resolve issues relating to prenuptial agreements, although the representation of each party by a lawyer is also an important part of a prenuptial agreement.
THE PRENUPTIAL AGREEMENT NEGOTIATION
Having a clear understanding of how finances will be handled during a marriage is important although those can be difficult discussions in the early stages of a relationship. It is important to begin these discussions early to allow time for consideration and resolution well in advance of the wedding date. Negotiation of a prenuptial agreement involves a lawyer for each party and a financial disclosure. It is helpful to have both parties and the lawyers at the table before drafting begins, to be sure the couple is in agreement on the terms to be included in the Prenuptial Agreement. The agreement should then be carefully drafted and reviewed by the couple and their lawyers and should include detailed financial disclosures as addendums to the agreement.
TOPICS OF PRENUPTIAL
Prenuptial Agreements generally may address the major topics of what happens in the event of the death of a spouse and what happens in the event that the marriage is terminated other than by death (such as a divorce).
When there are children from prior relationships, often a couple will agree that the usual rights of a spouse to inherit up death of the other will be waived, so that their estate may pass 100% to their children, unless they later provide otherwise. Each prenuptial agreement is different and many nuances can be negotiated to meet the needs and interests of the particular couple, which may include the financial security of the surviving spouse and the rights of inheritance of children.
Prenuptial Agreements also often address what will happen if the marriage is terminated and a well drafted Prenuptial Agreement can simplify a divorce process. The Prenuptial Agreement may specify the property of the parties that is separate and not to be divided in a divorce, and the couple may agree to expand the definition of separate property beyond that which is provided in Missouri law absent an agreement. How marital property will be divided (whether equally or otherwise) can be negotiated and a waiver of the right to maintenance in the event of divorce can also be a part of a Prenuptial Agreement. The couple may also choose to include some details in their Prenuptial Agreement as to how finances or particular assets will be managed during their marriage.
The interests of each spouse do not always align in negotiating prenuptials and children of prior relationships or other family members may influence the negotiation of a prenuptial agreement as well. This may be an emotional process, during what would otherwise be a happy and exciting time for a couple. Selecting the right team of professionals to assist in the negotiations to ensure that a well drafted agreement is completed that is satisfactory to all while getting the marriage off to a healthy start is important.
The attorneys at Amato Family Law can help you develop a prenuptial agreement that will meet your needs and interests while helping you to ensure the concerns of your finance are also considered in order to come to a resolution that is acceptable to all as the marriage begins.