Prenuptial agreements (also known as antenuptial agreements or “prenups”) are contracts entered into between prospective spouses prior to and in contemplation of marriage. Prenuptial agreements generally determine how property and assets will be divided in event of divorce. These agreements are typically favorable and enforceable under Missouri law.
The terms of a prenuptial agreement can include division of real property, individual and marital assets, business assets, and individual and shared debts at death or divorce of the spouses. Prenuptial agreements can also include provisions affecting issues like spousal maintenance and payment of attorney’s fees in a divorce action. On the other hand, prenuptial agreements may not include provisions regarding child support or child custody – these determinations are based on the best interests of the child at the time of divorce and will be decided by the court.
Prenuptial agreements are evaluated by the court under the same criteria that is applicable to other types of contracts. Like other contracts, prenuptial agreements must be in writing and signed by both parties to be legally valid and enforceable.
Other factors affecting the validity and enforceability of a prenuptial agreement include:
- Did both parties have access to separate, independent lawyers for advice?
- Did each party have sufficient time to review and revise the agreement prior to the wedding?
- Did both parties disclose the kind and value of all assets and debts?
- Were both spouses fully informed of their legal rights?
- Did both spouses have relatively equal bargaining positions (age, sophistication, employment, education, and experience)?
- Is the agreement unconscionable (unfairly disadvantaging one spouse)?
- Did both parties enter into the agreement knowingly and voluntarily without undue influence, duress, or coercion?
The law in Missouri regarding prenuptial agreements is complex and complicated. If you would like more information about preparing a prenuptial agreement or the validity of your prenuptial agreement, please contact our firm to schedule a consultation with an experienced family law attorney.
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