Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Should You Have A Prenuptial Agreement?

For those who you who may be getting married in the near future: congratulations! Marriage is a grand adventure that will be unlike anything else you have ever experienced. In addition to its many social impacts, marriage has some legal implications, too. If you and your fiance have not done so already, it's important to set aside some time during your wedding planning and discuss the possibility of establishing a prenuptial agreement.  O'Donnell Law Center may be able to help.


What Is A Prenuptial Agreement?

Simply put, a prenuptial agreement (also known as a "prenup") is a written agreement between you and your spouse-to-be that you enter into before you tie the knot. This document serves as a basic guideline for how your assets will be distributed in the event of death or divorce.

Obviously, no engaged couple wants to think about the possibility of their marriage ending, but unfortunately, death is a fact of life for everyone, and divorce is a fact of life for many people. Having this document in place can make things much simpler if and when the need arises.

Who Needs To Have A Prenup?

Prenuptial agreements are extremely versatile; they can serve several different purposes that can be beneficial in several different situations. Here are a few examples of couples who could benefit from establishing a prenup.
  • Couples With Disparate Income. Getting married to someone who makes significantly more or less money than you do is typically not a problem - unless you get divorced. Without a prenup in place, the lower-earning spouse may be able to get a significant portion of the other's income in alimony. You can use your prenup to set some ground rules for how income will be divided in the event of a divorce.
  • Couples With Disparate Debts. Just as spouses can enjoy the benefits of each other's income, they can also be shouldered with the responsibility of each other's debts. If your partner has significantly greater debt when entering the marriage, you may wish to establish a prenup to protect yourself from being held responsible for a portion of it if you end up divorcing.
  • Couples With Children From Prior Marriages. Prenups can be used for more scenarios than just those dealing with income, debt, and assets. If you have children from a prior marriage, for example, you can use your prenup in conjunction with your estate planning documents to dictate which of your assets will go straight to your children after you pass away (rather than automatically going to your surviving spouse). Your prenup will not replace your estate planning documents, but it can be very helpful when taken in conjunction with other estate planning methods.
These are only a few examples of situations wherein a prenuptial agreement can be beneficial. Contact our Lake of the Ozarks family attorney if you would like more help determining whether or not you need to establish a prenup.


What Happens If I Don't Have A Prenuptial Agreement?

While it is certainly possible to get divorced without a prenup in place, the process can be a bit more challenging. Missouri is what is known as an "equitable distribution state," which means that (in the absence of a prenup) the judge will divide your property in what he or she considers to be an equitable manner. Note that "equitable" does not necessarily mean "equal." That is, the courts do not have to divide the assets 50/50; they only have to divide them in what they believe to be a fair and equitable fashion. 

Establishing a prenuptial agreement may be an important step for anyone getting married at the Lake of the Ozarks. If you or someone you know is preparing to tie the knot, have them contact the team at O'Donnell Law Center.

Call the most trusted law firm at the Lake of the Ozarks to get started today.
We Carry Your Burden ~ You Carry On With Life.

Disclaimer: No attorney-client relationship is created by the publication of this blog.


Phone: (573) 552-0317

O'Donnell Law Center, LLC
1026 Palisades Blvd. Suite 3
Osage Beach, MO  65065
(Located on the McDonald's Side of the Building)

No comments:

Post a Comment