When couples get engaged, the potential for divorce is often far out of mind. Yet, as you and your partner prepare for marriage, you may want to take precautions. One or both of you may own assets that you would dread giving up if you parted down the road. Or, you both might want to protect yourselves in case things don’t work out. Either way, you may find creating a prenuptial agreement worthwhile.
Understanding how prenuptial agreements work
Prenuptial agreements account for the individual assets you and your partner bring into your marriage. Your agreement allows you to uphold these as separate property in the event of divorce. Without it, your assets could face division if you split up.
Not every couple needs a prenuptial agreement. Many consider them unromantic, as well as a sign that the relationship lacks in trust. But you and your spouse may benefit from one if:
- One or both of you have substantial assets
- One or both of you hold employment or retirement benefits
- One or both of you own a business
- One or both of you have debts or liabilities that you do not want the other to incur
- One or both of you have assets you’d like to pass to specific people in your estate plan
Prenuptial agreements and property division laws
Prenuptial agreements also give you and your spouse’s wishes precedence over property division laws. Both Kansas and Missouri’s laws follow the equitable distribution model. This model helps courts determine a fair division of assets based on each spouse’s individual circumstances. Yet, unless your prenuptial agreement unfairly favors one of you over the other, a court would consider it valid and follow its terms instead.
Prenuptial agreements and estate planning
Prenuptial agreements protect your assets from more than just divorce – they also protect your assets in the event you or your partner passes away.
As you are building a robust estate plan, you and your partner will have to consider each of your individual assets, as well as your mutual marital assets. If there is something you or your partner would like to pass on to a specific individual, you might want to include that asset in your prenuptial agreement so you have more control on who inherits it.
If you feel wary about creating a prenuptial agreement, remember that it simply puts you and your partner in control of your own assets. By acknowledging its benefits, you might decide that having one will protect you in the long run.