The attorneys at Ward Law have extensive experience in drafting and negotiating Premarital and Postmarital Agreements for our clients. Premarital Agreements are legal documents executed before a marriage and dictate how couples agree to divide their assets if they divorce. Premarital Agreements are effective on the date of the marriage. Postmarital Agreements are legal documents executed after the marriage and govern how couples will divide their assets upon divorce. Both types of agreements may also provide for spousal maintenance (alimony) or waive it.
Some couples decide not to marry and enter Nonmarital Agreements. Nonmarital Agreements simply provide that the couple have no intention of being married at the present time and so each person’s property remains hers or his despite their living together.
Premarital Agreements have immense value to anyone having premarital assets and property such as owning a property or business, anticipating inheritances, planning to take off time to raise children, or even holding significant premarital debt—i.e., student loans. Premarital Agreements can also direct how couples intend to share their finances, divide their property (what property is considered separate versus marital property) pay or not pay spousal maintenance (alimony) in the event of divorce, file taxes, and much more. Premarital Agreements are also important for people who have already been through a divorce, plan to get remarried, and want to protect their assets, especially retirement benefits or inheritance for their children.
From an attorney’s standpoint, the earlier a Premarital Agreement is negotiated, the better. The unfortunate reality is many couples find themselves immersed in the joy (and stress) of planning a wedding, and discussions regarding their financial future become less of a priority. Moreover, some people view the discussion of Premarital Agreements as taboo or offensive, when in actuality, the discussion and creation of a Premarital Agreement is a proactive, protective measure which can mutually benefit both parties.
Kansas is governed by the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act. The act has been adopted in 28 States and the District of Columbia. This Act was drafted in order to promote more uniformity and predictability between state laws relating to Premarital Agreements and to ensure that a Premarital agreement validly entered into one state would be honored by the courts of another state where a couple might divorce. In Kansas, a Premarital Agreement is enforceable unless the party against whom the enforcement is sought proves either of the following:
Postmarital Agreements are quite similar to Premarital Agreements—providing spouses the opportunity to define their separate property versus marital property, establish the terms of property division and spousal support, or address matters of premarital debt. Postmarital Agreements also have immense value to anyone who goes through changes in their marriage. In certain instances, spouses may want to update an older Premarital Agreement that has, over time, become outdated for any number of reasons (length of marriage, birth of children, health issues, or other events that were not foreseeable or anticipated prior to the marriage). Postmarital Agreements may be drafted because of marital infidelity or addiction issues, and the couple is working through the issues and want an agreement to provide a certain level of certainty and stability. Like a Premarital Agreement, a full disclosure of assets and debts must be provided by each party.
One area which cannot be addressed in Premarital, Postmarital, or Nonmarital Agreements is the area of children. Such agreements cannot regulate child custody or parenting time because those decisions are based on what is in the best interest of the children at a given time (with certain exceptions.) Pre-, Post- and Nonmarital Agreements also cannot set child support as support is considered the right of the child, and the amount is regulated by public policy considerations and Kansas Supreme Court Rules.
The attorneys at Ward Law can assist you with all aspects of Premarital, Postmarital, or Nonmarital Agreements. Whether you need to negotiate an agreement, draft one, review one, attempt to overturn one, or enforce one, we can provide experienced guidance.