Tips to Create an Enforceable Prenuptial Agreement in Mississippi

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.

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