As a previous post on this blog discussed, prenuptial agreements can be very beneficial to couples in the Kansas City area who are thinking about taking the next step in their relationship and tying the knot. Particularly when one or both of the spouses has been married before, a prenuptial agreement can help even happily married couples with no plans to divorce protect certain valuable legal interests.
Like other states, Missouri law imposes certain minimum legal requirements that couples must abide by if they want to create a valid prenuptial agreement.
If they do not abide by these requirements, then the risk is that a party seeking to enforce what they thought was their agreement may find themselves unable to do so in the event of a divorce or other important legal crossroads.
The technical requirements surrounding these agreements may well be easy enough to abide by. Both parties need to sign the agreement, which must be in writing, and both parties must also attest to their signature, a process which will ordinarily require a notary public.
Courts also have an obligation to make sure that, before enforcing an agreement, they ensure that both parties had full knowledge of the other’s assets and debts and also signed the agreement with what can be summed up as knowledge and consent. That is, they had to have some idea of what they were agreeing to and at the same time were willing to sign the agreement anyway.
The agreement must also be conscionable in that the end result of enforcing it is not going to be that one of the spouses winds up impoverished or bearing the lion’s share of financial burdens while the other party gets most of the property.