We usually hear about prenups when it relates to celebrities and their fortunes, especially when tabloids plaster A-listers and their prenuptial agreements on their covers before a wedding. While it may seem like only wealthy celebrities establish a prenup before they get married, prenups aren’t just for the rich and famous.
According to Harvard Law School, only 5-10 percent of marriages involve prenups. While most marriages in America don’t have an established prenup, millennials are changing things up a bit by increasing the number of prenups within the past few years.
So the question remains: should you insist on a prenup to protect your assets? If you’re considering getting a prenup or if your partner is insisting you do so before you enter into marriage, you’ll need to understand what they are and how they work. Continue reading to learn about prenups to help you decide if getting one is right for you.
What is a prenup?
Often when we hear the word prenup we think of the rich and famous protecting their millions of dollars and extravagant assets like yachts and mansions in the event their marriage ends in divorce. However, you don’t need to be wealthy to get a prenup.
A premarital agreement (or prenuptial agreement “prenup”) is a contract that is established before a marriage that outlines the rights each spouse is entitled to in the event of a death or divorce. It protects both individuals’ assets including money and property from being divided in a certain way by the courts should the marriage end. A prenup can save both parties from having to divide assets down the road, saving them time and preventing the need for litigation.
Prenups usually include assets, properties, and debts from both parties. A prenup includes, but isn’t limited to the following: premarital debts, premarital assets, marital home and property, inheritances, alimony (spousal support), and life insurance. While the division of assets can be set in a prenup prior to death or divorce, custody cannot be determined until a divorce takes place.
Why get a prenup?
Getting a prenup is never a bad idea, especially if you and/or your spouse are wealthy or own a lot of property. Even if you don’t have much money in your bank account before you get married, you never know how much money you or your spouse will earn throughout the marriage. A prenup will protect both parties, including their assets and everything they accumulated before and during the marriage.
While some couples believe that separating their finances and foregoing combining bank accounts will protect them, they’re wrong. Just because both names aren’t on the same accounts doesn’t mean that the money in those accounts won’t be divided between you and your spouse.
How do I get a prenup in Missouri or Kansas?
Currently, 28 states across the country have adopted the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (UPAA) or the more recent Uniform Premarital and Marital Agreements Act (UPMAA). The UPAA/UPMAA outlines what can be included in a premarital agreement as well as things that make the premarital agreement unenforceable. You can get a prenup in both Missouri and Kansas but it may not be enforceable depending on what’s in the agreement and how the circumstances surrounding entering the agreement.
Missouri is one of the few states that has not adopted the UPAA/UPMAA, therefore, the court determines what is enforceable in the agreement by case law and statutes. Kansas has adopted the UPAA/UPMAA, making it easier for a prenup to be deemed enforceable.
Anyone can get a prenup in Missouri or Kansas, but you’ll want to make sure you go about it the right way. The prenuptial agreement must be entered in good faith and it must be conscionable. Before you sign a prenup be sure that both you and your future spouse consult with separate lawyers to ensure the agreement is fair and conscionable.
So, should you insist on a prenup? Understanding what a prenup is and who should get one, you’ll need to determine whether or not you should insist on one before entering a marriage. It’s a decision that can only be made by you and your future spouse. While a family law attorney can help guide you in the right direction of establishing one and ensuring one is fair, ultimately the decision is up to you.
If you’re about to get married and you and your partner are considering a prenup and are searching for a family law attorney in Lee’s Summit or a family law attorney in Kansas City, contact The Law Office of Young, Kuhl & Frick, LLC. With over fifty-three years of combined legal experience, our family law firm is comprised of a team that’s skilled in both negotiation and litigation, handling family law matters from the most complex to the most straightforward.
We have offices in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, and Leawood, Kansas (consultations by appointment only). In addition to our two physical locations, our firm’s family and divorce attorneys have practiced in Jackson, Clay, Cass, Lafayette, and Platte County, Missouri as well as Johnson County, Kansas.