Missouri Postnuptial Agreement

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Updated August 07, 2022

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Missouri postnuptial agreement is a legal document used by married couples to arrange certain rights and obligations regarding property if the marriage ends in divorce or death. In the case of divorce, judges have broad powers to divide marital property; postnuptial agreements essentially limit what judges can do because most judges must defer to the arrangement outlined in the agreement. Postnuptial agreements, therefore, resemble prenuptial agreements, or “prenups.” However, unlike prenuptial agreements, which are signed before marriage, couples sign postnuptial agreements after they are already married. Missouri also recognizes “separation agreements,” which are for couples planning to get divorced imminently.

Signing Requirements – Postnuptial agreements should be in writing, and both parties must sign. Lipic v. Lipic (2003). For separation agreements, oral agreements are possible, but written documents are more easily enforced. Freeland v. Freeland (2008).

Laws

Enforceability: Postnuptial agreements will not be enforced unless they are entered into freely, fairly, knowingly, understandingly, in good faith, and fully disclosed. If these requirements have been met, the agreement is binding on the trial court unless the court finds the agreement unconscionable. Lipic v. Lipic (2003).

Unconscionability: A postnuptial agreement is unconscionable when it creates strongly unequal conditions between the parties. But the mere fact that entering the agreement seems unwise in retrospect does not make it unconscionable. Lipic v. Lipic (2003).

Separation Agreement: The parties may enter into a written separation agreement containing provisions for the maintenance of either of them, the disposition of any property owned by either, and the custody, support, and visitation of their children. Mo. Ann. Stat. § 452.325.