Many people consider marriage an emotional and familial relationship, but it is also a legal and financial one. Legal contracts between the parties to a marriage can be advantageous in many circumstances.
If you are wondering whether a legal agreement might be helpful in your circumstances, consult an experienced family law attorney. A Lincoln County marital agreements lawyer could listen to your concerns and goals and recommend an appropriate course of action. A marital contract may help you achieve the ends you envision.
Set Expectations with a Premarital Agreement
A premarital agreement, often called a prenuptial agreement or prenup, defines aspects of a couple’s financial life before they marry. According to Kansas Revised Statutes § 23-2404, the couple could use the premarital agreement to:
- Segregate personal property from marital property
- Implement financial protections for a spouse who does not pursue a career in favor of homemaking
- Protect the inheritance of children from prior relationships
- Divide property in the event of legal separation or divorce
- Establish whether one spouse will receive alimony if the marriage ends
The couple could include other relevant decisions in their premarital agreement; however, child custody and support provisions are not enforceable.
A valid prenuptial agreement must be in writing, and each party must sign it. In addition, both parties must disclose their assets and debts before either party signs.
Before signing, each party should review the agreement with their own knowledgeable Lincoln County marital agreements attorney. The contract is not enforceable unless both parties sign it willingly and without duress.
Postmarital Agreements Respond to Changes
Couples can also enter contracts with each other after they are married. In some cases, they do so because they have a premarital agreement that is no longer fair or effective because of changes in their circumstances. A postmarital agreement would supersede the couple’s outdated premarital agreement.
In other cases, couples enter postmarital agreements to respond to some change in their lives. For example, they might wish to ensure care for a loved one or protect a spouse from a financial risk the other spouse assumes.
Many couples enter postnuptial agreements in anticipation of divorce or legal separation. Negotiating property division and alimony before a divorce filing can smooth the legal process, making it quicker and less expensive. A seasoned legal professional in Lincoln County could advise a couple about how best to achieve their goals in this type of marital agreement.
Non-Marital (Co-Habitation) Agreements Protect Unmarried Couples
Many couples choose to build a life together without getting married. These couples do without some of the legal protections of marriage, which could leave the partners and children of the relationship vulnerable if the relationship ends. A non-marital agreement could alleviate some of the risks.
A non-marital agreement could address issues concerning:
- Joint and separate property
- Division of debt
- Managing inheritances
- Responsibility for living expenses
- Other financial issues
A proactive Lincoln County lawyer might also advise couples entering these agreements to draft wills naming each other to ensure each partner has the right to inherit from the other.
Unmarried couples should also consider executing healthcare directives, as they do not automatically have the right to make healthcare decisions for each other. When one partner is unable to communicate their wishes in an emergency, healthcare providers and family members might not honor the other partner’s decisions. Executing healthcare directives naming each other as decision-makers alleviates that potential problem.
Meet With a Lincoln County Marital Agreements Attorney
Contracts between people in intimate relationships with each other are helpful in many different circumstances. Couples planning to marry, already married, or intending to live together without marriage could protect themselves with legal agreements.
A Lincoln marital agreements lawyer is skilled at drafting contracts that meet a couple’s specific needs. Reach out today to speak with a well-practiced attorney.