Who Needs a Prenup?

Antenuptial Agreements or Prenuptial Agreements, commonly called prenups, are contracts parties enter into, usually before marriage but there can be a postnuptial agreement as well. We are often asked when a client should have a prenup. At Checkett & Pauly, we advise individuals entering into a second marriage, particularly if there are children—and especially if there are children and assets—to obtain a prenup. This agreement determines whether property remains with the husband or the wife or becomes marital property subject to division in case of divorce or distribution at the first and second death.
 
Without a prenup, a spouse obtains very substantial rights in case of divorce. Perhaps more importantly is that without a prenup, upon first death, the surviving spouse obtains very substantial rights under Missouri probate law. When a husband and wife have children from a prior marriage, the need for a prenup and the stakes involved grow substantially larger. Many contested probate cases involve children from prior marriages, or children and a surviving spouse, fighting over assets of the deceased person. For an unknown reason, many people are reluctant to ask their intended spouse to sign a prenup. It may not be very romantic, but having a prenup is one of the most important and common sense financial decisions that an adult can make for themselves and their children.