When couples plan to marry they typically are optimistic, idealistic and romantic about the future. They are firmly convinced that they will be together “until death do us part” and are loath to consider what should happen if things do not work out as planned. While it is perfectly appropriate to enter marriage with such optimistic and hopeful aspirations, the reality is that estimates place the divorce rate for first marriages as high as 50%. The rate has been estimated to be as high as 74% for third marriages. The bottom line is that statistically one in every two marriages will end in divorce. Anyone contemplating marriage need no more than review these statistics to realize that it makes virtually no sense to avoid planning how property and debt division and spousal support issues should be handled if a marriage breaks down.
A prenuptial agreement is an agreement between parties in anticipation of marriage that directs how certain issues typically financial, property and spousal support issues will be handled in the event of divorce. Contrary to the assumptions of some, a prenuptial agreement is not an unromantic fatalistic gesture but an effective financial planning device that protects both parties to a marriage in the even of divorce by removing uncertainty about how issues will be handled and providing a roadmap for resolving potential issues that will reduce stress, costs and uncertainty if a marriage fails.
This article outlines a number of fundamental advantages to an effective prenuptial agreement including the following:
Resolves Uncertainty Regarding Income Disparity: If there is a vast difference in net worth and earnings between parties entering into a marriage, a prenuptial agreement is appropriate to protect the assets and estate that may represent the legacy of a family business built prior to marriage. A prenuptial agreement can also help protect appreciation of such assets that occur during marriage. The prenuptial agreement can help distinguish those assets that the parties to a marriage view as marital assets from separate property when entering into a marital relationship.
Avoiding Unnecessary Expense in a Divorce: A contested divorce can be expensive and time consuming particularly if the parties to the marriage have an estate of substantial net worth. Litigation over property division issues and spousal support can result in valuable financial resources being drained from the wealth that a couple has build during the marriage to pay for litigation costs. An effective prenuptial agreement can prevent disputes and disagreements keeping acquired wealth with the parties to a divorce instead of transferring substantial sums to attorneys at the time of divorce.
Remove Uncertainty and Promote Fairness: A prenuptial agreement allows a couple to define a fair resolution to property and spousal support issues if a divorce occurs. This allows parties to a marriage to define a fair resolution of issues when a couple is able to relate to each other on an amicable basis. This allows a couple’s expectations to be met.
Define Parameters Regarding Spousal Support: When there is a substantial difference in the net worth and income between parties to marriage, the higher earning and/or higher net worth spouse will likely be required to pay alimony or spousal support in the event of a divorce. A prenuptial agreement allows the parties to define the amount and appropriateness of spousal support within certain general parameters.
Protect Estate Planning Arrangements: A prenuptial agreement takes on added importance if either party has been married previously. Inheritance laws and children from prior marriages can make a divorce complex and complicate estate plans. A prenuptial agreement can help protect estate planning arrangements that provide for children from prior marriages.
In the final analysis, a prenuptial agreement is an effective way to protect both a husband and wife contemplating a Kansas marriage. These agreements do not promote divorce but provide for ordered amicable resolutions in the event of an unexpected breakdown of a marriage. However, the technical and legal rules that govern and limit prenuptial agreements are complicated. If you are considering a prenuptial agreement in Kansas, it is essential to seek the advice and experience of an experienced Kansas divorce attorney. We handle family law cases throughout Johnson County and surrounding counties in the Kansas City metropolitan area. Kansas divorce attorney Weston R. Moore represents clients in family law cases throughout Johnson County and the surrounding counties in the Kansas City metropolitan area. We invite you to call us today at 913-782-7075 to discuss your family law matter.