Many people contemplating marriage are hesitant to broach the subject of a premarital contract (also known as a “prenuptial agreement ”). An individual planning to marry might consider a premarital contract to conflict with the romantic notion of a lifelong commitment. However, candid conversations regarding sensitive financial information, which are necessary to create a premarital contract, can actually provide a firm foundation for a marriage. Some people do not prepare premarital contracts because they assume that they are only necessary for the extremely wealthy. Our Wichita divorce law firm has prepared answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) to dispel misconceptions about premarital contract.
What is a premarital contract?
A premarital contract is a special type of contract entered into by a couple in contemplation of marriage. The agreement will typically represent a pre-arranged resolution of financial issues, such as duties and rights regarding property, disposition of property upon separation, alimony and ancillary issues.
Will a Kansas court enforce a premarital contract?
Kansas courts will enforce a premarital contract, but the agreement must meet certain requirements. The premarital contract must be written and signed by both parties. The parties also must have voluntarily entered into the agreement. If the terms are so unfair as to be unconscionable, the court might decline to enforce the agreement. When adequate financial disclosures are not made by the parties, the failure to provide this information can constitute a basis to set aside the premarital contract unless such disclosure have been waived. Even when no waiver of this financial information has occurred, the premarital contract might still be enforceable if evidence establishes that the spouse challenging the agreement had an independent means of learning the information.
Are there divorce issues that cannot be included in a premarital contract?
Premarital contracts can include a broad range of provisions addressing many issues, but there are certain limits. The premarital agreement cannot include terms or provisions that violate the law or public policy. A common mistake made by parties when they do not have legal advice is to include a waiver of child support. Because children have the right to receive child support from both parents, a parent cannot waive this right.
Does everyone need a premarital contract?
If both parties to a divorce have comparable net worth and earning capacity, a premarital contract might not be necessary. Most people can benefit from such an agreement because it provides predictability in the event of divorce or the death of a spouse. Since the parties have negotiated the agreement, the parties are likely to find the terms more acceptable than those imposed by a judge. There are certain scenarios where a premarital contract is especially appropriate, such as:
- Previous marriage by either spouse
- Substantial difference in wealth between the parties
- Ownership of a business by a spouse prior to marriage
- Significant disparity in income
- Either spouse is giving up career or educational opportunities
If you have questions about preparing, enforcing or challenging a premarital contract, we invite you to contact the Weber Law Office, P.A. at (316) 265-7802 or submit an inquiry form through this website to schedule your initial consultation.