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Divorce / June 28, 2017

Thinking of Signing a Prenup? Here’s What You Need to Know

Prenuptial agreements are not just for the rich and famous, nowadays couples from all walks of life are choosing to execute a prenup before saying their vows. At its core, a prenuptial agreement (also sometimes referred to as a “premarital agreement” or an “antenuptial agreement”) is simply a contract signed before marriage in which a betrothed couple decides how they would like their marital property and debt to be divided in the event of a divorce. Executing such a contract typically allows a couple to retain significant control over their post-divorce financial futures, however, before you sign a prenup in Mississippi consider the need to know basics outlined below and be sure to consult with a local Jackson divorce attorney.

The Scope and Limitations of Prenuptial Agreements

Each prenuptial agreement is different, but many contain provisions related to the couple’s assets, debts, and businesses. For example, prenuptial agreements often address:

  • Child support obligations from previous marriages,
  • Assets that the couple would like to leave to their children,
  • A wealth disparity between the partners in order to protect the financial interests of the wealthier spouse,
  • How debt will be distributed, and
  • How ownership and control of the couple’s businesses will be maintained.

While the permissible scope of prenuptial agreements is quite broad, they are not without their limitations. For instance, a prenuptial agreement can not address child custody or child support matters, as doing so is against public policy in Mississippi. Additionally, it is important to note that simply signing a prenuptial agreement is no guarantee that a court will actually uphold the contract in the event of a divorce. Be aware that a court can find a prenuptial agreement (or provisions within a prenup) to be invalidated if the contract is patently unfair, was signed under duress, or was not properly executed.

The Difference Between a Prenuptial Agreement and a Postnuptial Agreement

Prenuptial agreements and postnuptial agreements are very similar contracts with one key difference; prenups are executed before marriage while postnups are executed after a couple is already legally married. A married couple may opt to sign a postnuptial agreement, rather than a prenuptial agreement, for a variety of different reasons. For example, the couple may not have had time to execute a prenup while they were busy planning their wedding, or they may not have wanted to discuss the possibility of divorce during their engagement. Additionally, couples sometimes sign a postnuptial agreement after they have been married for a while in order to reflect new assets that they have acquired, to override a prenuptial agreement, or to give their struggling marriage an ultimatum.

Let Us Assist You Today

A prenuptial agreement is a legally binding document that can greatly impact your financial future. Therefore, be sure to have an experienced family law attorney review the contract with you before signing it. Anyone living in Mississippi who would like a prenuptial agreement reviewed or drafted is free to contact Derek L. Hall, PC to schedule a free initial consultation at our Jackson office. Call us today at (601) 768-8057.

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