Getting a prenuptial agreement in Missouri is as easy as finding a good BBQ joint…okay, maybe not THAT easy, but you get the point. A prenuptial agreement (sometimes referred to as an “antenuptial agreement” in Missouri) is a contract between two soon-to-be spouses to determine marital goals, disclose finances, decide on asset distribution, and much more. In this article, we’re about to break down for you what a prenup lawyer does, why you might need one if they’re required in Missouri, the average cost, and much, much more. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about prenuptial agreement attorneys in Missouri.
What does a prenuptial agreement attorney in Missouri do?
First and foremost, you may be wondering what in the world a prenup lawyer even does. We breakdown for you all of the things you can expect your prenuptial agreement in Missouri to do for you.
- Pre-draft consultations
This may be broken into one or more sessions, depending on your situation. The attorney will meet you, go over pricing, timeline, and logistics, and then dive into questions. They will ask you lots of questions and ask for information from you, such as your financial documents. They will ask you your goals for the prenup and ask you what they need to draft a prenup tailored to you.
- Draft the prenup
The lawyer will then use the information they learned in the previous consultations and draft the agreement. The agreement will be customized to fit the goals you described in your consultation. Typically, lawyers use a template and add/edit the clauses based on your needs.
- Legal advice and Q&A
Somewhere during this whole process, it’s likely that you will have legal questions. For example, “What is a sunset clause?” or “Should I protect my inheritance?” To which your attorney will respond with legal advice, best practices, and what other couples tend to do in your situation.
Unless you and your future spouse agree on everything, there’s bound to be at least a little negotiation. That’s not a bad thing, in fact, it’s a very healthy thing because prenups should be satisfactory to both parties, not just one person. Your prenup attorney will negotiate directly with your spouse’s attorney.
- Review and finalization
In Missouri, there are additional requirements in finalizing a prenup that isn’t required in most other states: notarization and/or witnesses. (See Mo. Rev. Stat. Section 451.220). A lawyer in Missouri can assist you in ensuring you are compliant with Missouri requirements.
Why hire a prenuptial agreement attorney?
“All I want to do is keep my stuff separate from my fiance’s, do I really need an attorney?” You may have wondered this yourself and thought, is it really necessary? Maybe, maybe not, but we’ll break down a few benefits of hiring a prenuptial agreement attorney below.
- Get solid legal advice and answers to your legal questions
Wondering what that one weird clause means? What about advice on what to put in your prenup? How about those what-if scenarios? A prenuptial agreement attorney can assist you in answering your legal questions and giving you legal advice, with ease!
- Get peace of mind knowing your financial future is protected
Getting a prenup in general is a great way to put your mind at ease as it pertains to your financial future. It is a great way to ensure your assets are handled how you want them to in the unfortunate scenarios of divorce. Hiring a lawyer to do this can take the pressure off you, while you pay someone to handle it on your behalf.
- Handoff negotiations to your attorney
If you and your future spouse don’t agree on everything, it may be a little awkward going back and forth about who gets what. Enter your prenuptial agreement attorney. They can do the negotiations on your behalf, so you can avoid those awkward convos with your partner. Your prenup lawyer and your partner’s prenup lawyer will handle it (at your direction, of course).
Do I legally need a prenuptial agreement attorney in Missouri?
Technically, no, a lawyer is not required in order to create a valid and enforceable prenup. Under Missouri law, it’s not a formal requirement to hire legal representation in order to enforce your prenuptial agreement. Does it hurt you to hire one? Of course not. With HelloPrenup, you can get a Missouri prenup, without a lawyer, using our self-serve platform. Bonus: if you want to use HelloPrenup AND a lawyer, you can do that, too! This tends to still be cheaper than going the traditional route of just hiring an attorney and not using the HelloPrenup platform.
Can my future spouse and I use the same attorney under Missouri law?
Nope, this would be a conflict of interest. Two parties to the same contract cannot hire the same lawyer because they have competing interests and a lawyer cannot sufficiently advocate for both sides. For example, if the husband wants to waive alimony, but the wife wants to keep alimony, how could one lawyer possibly advocate for both people sufficiently? It’s not possible! That’s why two lawyers or no lawyers are your best bet. Technically, one party can have a lawyer and the other has no lawyer, but that’s typically not advised. This situation is more likely to put your contract at risk when one person has legal advice and the other does not. Not always, but it is a possibility.
How to find a prenuptial agreement attorney in Missouri
Where oh where can I find a prenuptial agreement attorney in Missouri? Will my search be similar to Lewis and Clark’s expedition (see what I did there)? Or will it be a piece of Missouri gooey butter cake? Let’s find out.
Use your network
First, you’re going to want to ask around. Try asking your sister’s roommate, your cousin, your high school math teacher, or anyone else you know who has gotten a prenup. Using a lawyer who’s already been vetted by someone you know and trust is a very powerful resource. You can ask them questions about their work style, communication, and timeline.
Second, if you have no luck with your network, you can check on a few different online resources, starting with Google. Try googling terms like “prenuptial agreement attorney Missouri,” “prenup lawyer Missouri,” “prenup attorney near me,” or any other similar combination of words. You can also check out Avvo’s online lawyer directory which allows you to filter by state and specialty (family law lawyer). Finally, you can check out the Missouri State Bar Association where you can filter by location and specialty.
Don’t forget to do a little vetting first. You can start by checking out their website. Make sure they actually DO prenuptial agreements first and foremost. Not all family law attorneys do. Next, you can check out their online reviews from previous clients. Read through the good, bad, and the ugly to get an idea of their work style. Lastly, you can set a 15-minute free consultation with them (most Missouri prenup lawyers will offer this free of charge). You can get a good idea of whether or not you want to hire this person during your call.
Cost Comparison: Missouri Prenuptial Agreement Attorney vs. HelloPrenup
Let’s talk money. Going the traditional route of hiring a prenuptial agreement attorney is typically more expensive than using HelloPrenup. The average cost of a Missouri prenuptial agreement attorney will vary based on the lawyer’s skill, your needs, your finances, and the level of negotiations that take place.
Some attorneys charge flat rates while others charge hourly. The average hourly rate of a Missouri attorney is $254. If you have basic needs and finances and avoid lengthy negotiations, you might be looking at a 10-hour charge (one hour for a consultation, six hours for drafting, two hours for negotiations, and a one-hour review and finalization). This would put you at a total of $2,540 for your prenup from start to finish. Remember, that cost is only for one person, it doesn’t include what your partner’s lawyer will charge. Let’s compare that cost to HelloPrenup.
With HelloPrenup, from start to finish, you will pay $599 per couple! Yes, that’s right, that puts you at approximately $300 per person. With HelloPrenup you are potentially saving $2,240 or more.
What will you do with all that extra money in Missouri? Maybe an exciting trip to the Ozarks or a luxury hotel booking in St. Louis. Heck, with all that money you can do both!
The Laws on Prenups in Missouri
What’s the deal with prenups in MO anyway? What are the validity and enforceability requirements? What can you put in a Missouri prenup? Let’s discuss.
Validity and enforceability requirements for a Missouri prenup include:
- A prenup must be in writing
- A prenup must be signed by both parties
- A prenup must be acknowledged (witnessed or notarized)
- The parties must provide full financial disclosure
- The parties must enter the prenup willingly
- See Mo. Rev. Stat. Section 451.220 and Kester v. Kester, 108 S.W.3d 213, 218 (Mo.App.2003)
What the above requirements mean is that you must follow them otherwise you risk getting your prenup thrown out. Now, let’s turn to what you can put into your prenup in Missouri:
- How to disperse property in the event of a divorce
- How to disperse property in the event of death
- Alimony clauses
- Any other matter that doesn’t violate Missouri law
Final Thoughts on Prenup Attorneys in Missouri
Whether you are going the traditional route of hiring an attorney or using HelloPrenup, getting a prenup is sure to give you the financial peace of mind you deserve. While there are definitely benefits to getting an attorney, such as having solid legal advice at your fingertips, it can also be costly! With HelloPrenup, you can get a tailor-made prenup that is compliant with Missouri state laws without all the cost.
Nicole Sheehey is the Head of Legal Content at HelloPrenup, and an Illinois licensed attorney. She has a wealth of knowledge and experience when it comes to prenuptial agreements. Nicole has Juris Doctor from John Marshall Law School. She has a deep understanding of the legal and financial implications of prenuptial agreements, and enjoys writing and collaborating with other attorneys on the nuances of the law. Nicole is passionate about helping couples locate the information they need when it comes to prenuptial agreements. You can reach Nicole here: [email protected]