Archive for the ‘Mississippi Prenuptial Agreements’ Category

What is a Prenuptial Agreement, and Do I Need One?

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

Prenuptial agreements are something that many people have a strong opinion about, regardless of whether they fully understand them or not. Some people think that prenuptial agreements are only used by wealthy people, or celebrities whose marriages are highly likely to end in a divorce anyways. Other people believe that prenuptial agreements are unromantic, because they seem to acknowledge that the couple anticipates that their marriage may one day end in divorce. The truth about prenuptial agreements is that while they are not necessary for all couples, they can be a useful tool for some couples to use to protect the interests of both parties in the event of a divorce.

A prenuptial agreement is a document which a couple negotiates and signs before they get married. It may contain provisions for any assets or responsibilities that the couple wishes to include. The agreement becomes valid upon the date of the marriage. If the couple later divorces their assets and other responsibilities will be apportioned according to the terms that they included in their prenuptial agreement.

If you are wondering what kinds of things couples use prenuptial agreements for, here are a few examples. If you own a business, a prenuptial agreement can be very useful because you can use it to protect your interest in the business that you have worked hard to create. Couples with children from a previous relationship often use prenuptial agreements to ensure that they will have the resources that they need to provide for their children after a divorce. If a family has owned a piece of real estate for several generations and it is important that the real estate continue to be owned by members of the family, a  prenuptial agreement can be used to enable the current owner to keep that property in the event of a divorce, instead of splitting it with their spouse. You could also use a prenuptial agreement to ensure that you will be able to keep an important piece of personal property, such as a family heirloom, if you divorce.

One of the most important things to know about prenuptial agreements is that they are legally binding documents. Prenuptial agreements involve full financial disclosure, so be prepared to exchange financial statements with your prospective spouse. It is important that you allow yourself and your prospective spouse plenty of time to negotiate and finalize a prenuptial agreement well in advance of your wedding. It is also essential that each of you works with your own Mississippi family law attorney to ensure that the agreement is fair, and that it is valid. A single attorney cannot legally represent the interests of two parties, as it would create a conflict of interest.

Your attorney can help you decide what kinds of provisions to include in your prenuptial agreement based upon what is important to you. They can also work with the attorney of your soon to be spouse, to negotiate an agreement which is fair to both of you. Mississippi courts will not enforce a prenuptial agreement which is so one-sided as to be unfair, or which was signed under duress, or pressure, from the other party.

Whether you have been presented with a premarital agreement and you are considering signing it, or you wish to create a premarital agreement which will protect your assets, you need the assistance of an experienced Mississippi family law attorney. Matthew S. Poole is a renowned family law attorney in Mississippi, with a reputation for exceptional legal service.  Call Matthew S. Poole today, at (601) 573-7429, to schedule you free initial consultation.

Tips to Create an Enforceable Prenuptial Agreement in Mississippi

Saturday, November 2nd, 2013

There is little romance involved in the negotiation and signing of a prenuptial agreement.  Often, soon to be spouses avoid this awkward topic as it may seem cold or almost cruel to bring up the possibility of divorce before the wedding even occurs.  However, given that statistically over 50% of marriages today end in divorce, a prenuptial agreement can serve an important purpose and save much heartache down the road.

In Mississippi, prenuptial agreements, also known as “ante-nuptial agreements,” are contracts between a man and a woman entered into before marriage, defining what will happen to assets in the event of divorce or death of either party.  Prenuptial agreements must be in writing.  Mississippi has recognized this form of contract and enforced prenuptial agreements since the mid-1800’s.

To be enforceable under Mississippi law, a prenuptial agreement must be fair in its execution and involve full disclosure.  Fairness in execution essentially means that both soon to be spouses were able to participate meaningfully in negotiations, free from coercion or duress.   The parties should have plenty of time to discuss the agreement and contemplate before providing consent.  Full disclosure means the parties were informed fully of each other’s financial conditions, as well as future financial conditions, prior to signing of the agreement.

With these guiding principles in mind, the following is a list of tips to create an enforceable prenuptial agreement in Mississippi:

  1. Discuss your premarital agreement far in advance of the wedding—one of the most important factors in the enforceability of your prenuptial agreement will be whether both spouses had sufficient time to contemplate the agreement.  Start discussing your wishes for a prenup well in advance of the wedding, and even in advance of any wedding planning if possible.  Waiting until the invitations are in the mail, the flowers selected, and the honeymoon planned is a risky proposition, as the chancellor is more likely to find, under such circumstances, the spouse signed under duress.
  2. Both soon to be spouses should consult with an attorney—it is always best for both spouses to consult with a knowledgeable family law attorney concerning the prenuptial agreement.  Typically one spouse will have an attorney draft it, but their fiancé should then take it to a different attorney for review.  By having both parties consult with counsel, the agreement is much more likely to later be found enforceable as both parties were fully informed of their rights.
  3. Disclose all of your financial data—it is best to fully divulge all of your financial information to your fiancé during the prenuptial agreement negotiations.  Swapping important financial documents like tax returns and asset/liability statements is recommended.  For partners who have been divorced before, ensure your fiancé receives a copy of your divorce agreement as well as child support obligations, if any.  Disclose your debts.  All too often, newlyweds learn of their spouse’s debts only after the wedding.  Failing to disclose important financial details such as this can lead to an unenforceable prenuptial agreement.

Creating a prenuptial agreement does not have to be momentous or straining on a couple.  By following a few simple steps, you can create a prenuptial agreement to protect you against the worst case scenario, while ensuring no hard feelings on the part of your spouse because he or she was provided with plenty of time to think it over and subject to full disclosure.

Matthew S. Poole, a Mississippi family law attorney, has helped countless clients draft and review prenuptial agreements.  He knows how to create an enforceable prenuptial agreement that protects his client.  Contact The Law Office of Matthew S. Poole today at (601) 573-7429 for a free initial consultation.