3 reasons why you should have a prenuptial agreement

A prenuptial agreement can be used by any couples to define financial responsibility or to track separate property.

Getting married is a dream-come-true for many people in Missouri. However, amidst the planning of the wedding reception, preparing to move in together, scheduling the honeymoon and selecting items for the gift registry, people should also give some thought to a prenuptial agreement.

Most people believe that prenuptial agreements are only for those who have significant assets they want to protect. In fact, a prenuptial agreement can play several roles in a couple's relationship.

1. Creates a list of separate property

The Missouri Legislature states that when two people decide to call it quits, their assets fall under either marital property or separate property. Marital property is subject to division but separate property means that it will remain in the possession of the spouse it belongs to.

In order to prove that an asset classifies as separate property, people will need to show some type of documentation and this is where having a prenuptial agreement can help. Within the contract, couples can include a list of what each person is bringing into the marriage. These can include the following:

  • Home
  • Cars
  • Stock options from a job
  • A retirement pension
  • Art pieces
  • Bank accounts

People can also list a personal business or other sources of income, like a family trust. In this way, if there are any disputes over that property during the divorce negotiations, the prenuptial agreement can provide proof of separate ownership.

2. Defines how finances will be handled

People have differing ideas when it comes to handling money and these differences can spur huge arguments. However, a prenuptial agreement gives people the opportunity to put down in writing how they will handle their finances. For example, maybe one person agrees to cover the mortgage payment on the home while the other agrees to take care of the household expenses.

3. Provides for spousal support

While few people give a thought to what will happen financially to them if their marriage fails, they should understand that spousal support is usually a hotly contested issue. A prenuptial agreement, however, can eliminate the dispute and since both parties are still in love and want what is best for each other, the terms could actually be more favorable.

One clause that Fox Business mentions is something that reimburses a person financially for raising children instead of pursuing a career or working. Often times, one parent becomes dependent on the other for financial support, taking on the role of caregiver, and this can leave that person unable to reenter the workforce, especially if the marriage is a long term one. Having the written contract is the spouse's guarantee that he or she will not be left to struggle.

A prenuptial agreement can be a useful tool for couples in St. Louis. However, they should be drafted correctly and the terms should be fair. Therefore, people may want to consider enlisting the help of an experienced attorney.