When you are planning your wedding, the last thing you want to think about is your marriage ending.
However, in certain circumstances, it’s important to consider that fact and plan ahead for it, just in case. In those situations, a premarital agreement may be right for you. A premarital agreement is an agreement made in contemplation of marriage to become effective upon marriage. While premarital agreements are sometimes considered taboo, they can provide peace of mind in certain situations.
The purpose of a premarital agreement is to provide for the division of property in the event of divorce or death. Couples with children from a prior relationship often wish to protect their children’s interests in a second marriage. Individuals who have gone through bitter divorce battles in the past may also find some solace in a premarital agreement before a subsequent marriage. Additionally, individuals who are entering into a marriage with substantial assets or a family business often wish to secure their interests before entering into a marriage.
There are certain things that a premarital agreement cannot do, including altering child support. In order to be enforceable upon a challenge by one spouse, a court must find that both parties entered into the agreement freely, fairly, knowingly, with understanding, and in good faith. In addition, both parties must provide full financial disclosure before signing the agreement. A court can invalidate an agreement that is unconscionable, or unusually unreasonable.
To ensure enforceability of a premarital agreement, it is important create the agreement well in advance of the marriage so that both parties have time to contemplate the agreement. In a premarital agreement challenge, courts will often consider whether or not the challenging spouse was given an opportunity to review the agreement with a lawyer. It may also be beneficial to videotape or otherwise document the signing to fight claims of duress or misunderstanding.
If you think a premarital agreement may be right for you, a knowledgeable Missouri family law attorney at the Quitmeier Law Firm can advise you on what is best for your particular situation.