A prenuptial agreement is a document created by individuals prior to getting married. It can determine certain property and financial rights of each party. A postnuptial agreement does the same, but it is made after a couple is married. There are several things that individuals considering prenuptial agreements should know. A knowledgeable Kansas City prenuptial agreement attorney can help you create a marital agreement that fits your needs and is legally enforceable.
Legal Requirements of a Marital Agreement in Kansas City
For a marital agreement to be legally valid in Kansas City, it must follow the basic contract laws of the state and other legislation pertaining to marital agreements. These include:
- The agreement is in writing and signed by both parties.
- Neither party was under duress or force.
- Parties disclosed all relevant and reasonable financial information before signing.
- Both parties had the legal capacity to consent to the agreement, meaning that neither was underage, mentally incapable, under the influence, or otherwise lacking capacity.
Although a marital agreement is not required to list all assets, failure to fully disclose assets is a reason for the court to invalidate an agreement. When you work with an attorney to create a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, you can feel more confident that the marital agreement addresses the necessary aspects of your assets and debts while being legally valid.
What Is in a Marital Agreement?
Martial agreements typically cover financial and property rights, including:
- Each spouse’s rights and responsibilities to both separate and marital property
- The disposition of property if a couple divorces, separates, retires, or one spouse dies
- If spousal maintenance is awarded in a divorce
- The state laws that govern the agreement
- If either spouse will make estate planning documents to enforce the marital agreement terms
There are also specific terms that can’t be included in a marital agreement in Kansas, including:
- Child support
- Child custody
- Certain unfair spousal maintenance determinations
- Non-financial personal preferences
- Incentives for divorce
- Illegal terms
Who Needs a Prenuptial Agreement?
Many couples can find benefits from a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. Some of the most common reasons why married couples decide on marital agreements include:
- One or both spouses own a business or part of a business.
- Either party owns real estate.
- One or both parties have significant inheritances or high-value assets.
- One spouse has more separate assets or income than the other.
- One spouse has more premarital debt.
- A couple wants to avoid litigation or long negotiations in case of divorce.
- One spouse is planning to not work for a certain amount of time due to schooling, job training, or childcare.
- One or both parties had prior marriages and want to ensure that the children of prior relationships have inheritance rights.
Any couple may want to create a marital agreement just to determine how assets are shared and split. An attorney can review your unique circumstances to see if you would benefit from a marital agreement.
Benefits of Marital Agreements
There are several benefits to creating a marital agreement with your spouse. These include:
- Determining spousal rights and responsibilities. This can help protect each spouse’s separate assets while preventing a spouse from being responsible for their spouse’s debt.
- Dividing assets in a divorce. Without a marital agreement, spouses must separate assets at the time of the divorce in a separation agreement. Emotions and stress are often much higher at this point in the relationship. A marital agreement can speed up the divorce process. Without one, spouses will be subject to the decisions of the court if they can’t create a separation agreement.
- Improving communication. When spouses discuss important financial matters as they create a marital agreement, it can help improve their communication and make the marriage stronger.
Q: How Do Prenups Work in Kansas?
A: Prenuptial agreements are contracts between couples who are about to get married, which become enforceable once the couple is married. These agreements can determine each spouse’s rights to property and what existing and future property will be labeled separate property or marital property. This distinction is important if the couple ever divorces, as it will make the division of property much more straightforward. A prenuptial agreement can also determine who is responsible for certain debts.
Q: What Are Five Things That Cannot Be Included in a Prenuptial Agreement in Kansas City?
A: In Kansas, a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement cannot include the following:
- Child custody or child support determinations, as these must be chosen based on the child’s interests at the time of separation
- Unconscionable terms that are unreasonably unfair to one spouse
- Incentives for divorce
- Terms about illegal activity or agreeing to illegal activity
- Non-financial terms about how either spouse will conduct themselves personally in a marriage
When the court determines that a marital agreement breaks these rules, it may strike the offending provisions or void the entire marital agreement.
Q: What Are the Downsides of a Prenup?
A: A prenuptial agreement can be costly and time-consuming if it is deemed unenforceable when a couple gets a divorce. Not only have they wasted time and money, but they must now go through the division of property in a separation agreement or have the court decide the division. If a couple makes a marital agreement without legal support, the document is more likely to be found invalid.
In rare cases, a prenuptial agreement may be incredibly unfair to one spouse, but the court does not invalidate the contract. That spouse may find themselves in severe financial hardship because of unfair terms.
Q: Is Divorce Easier With a Prenup?
A: In most cases, divorce is easier with a prenuptial agreement. Division of property is a part of nearly every divorce, and couples with many assets, complex assets, or high-value assets can spend months negotiating a fair division.
When a couple has a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, they must only wait for the court to approve the document if it hasn’t already, and then the terms of the agreement can be followed. Couples only need to separate property that is not covered by the agreement. Although there are still other complex issues in a divorce, it can shorten the process considerably.
Contact Stange Law Firm
When you are in need of an experienced and dedicated marital agreement attorney, contact Stange Law Firm in Kansas City, Kansas. We can help mediate discussion between you and your spouse and ensure that an agreement is valid and fair.