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3 crucial factors when negotiating a marital agreement

On Behalf of | Oct 11, 2022 | Divorce |

Couples planning to marry in Missouri might decide to protect themselves by negotiating a prenuptial agreement prior to the wedding. Those who are already married and who have encountered some kind of relationship complication might agree to negotiate a postnuptial agreement with one another.

Such agreements serve several purposes. They can help the two of you reevaluate the relationship and what you expect from one another. They can protect you, and they can help you speed up any divorce that might eventually occur.

There are certain factors you need to carefully consider when negotiating a marital agreement with your spouse if the document is to remain effective later in life.

Reasonable timing

Especially if you intend to sign a prenuptial agreement, when the two of you have the discussion about the agreement can affect its enforceability and validity later.

If the conversation only arises two weeks before the wedding when there are people coming from out of state and thousands of dollars invested in the ceremony, one spouse could potentially claim duress later to invalidate the document. The same could be true if one spouse is pregnant.

Proper representation

One of the quickest ways to negate the potential value of a prenuptial agreement is to have one attorney draft it and then have both spouses sign it. Both spouses should have a say in the contents of the agreement and should have their own legal representation before signing it.

It will be harder for someone to claim that they didn’t understand the contents of the agreement if they consult with their own attorney prior to signing. Additionally, when each spouse has an attorney, it will be easier to draft a fair contract that benefits and protects both spouses instead of an unconscionable agreement that the courts will not uphold.

Full disclosure

For a marital agreement to hold up in family court, both spouses have to honestly and thoroughly disclose to the other their financial circumstances and legal matters. Any kind of intentional obfuscation, including hiding assets or debts, could invalidate the agreement.

By understanding these three factors that can influence the validity and enforceability of a marital agreement, you will have an easier time drafting a document that adequately protects you and your spouse. Taking the right steps when negotiating a marital agreement can protect you from divorce or at least streamline any marital dissolution that does occur.

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