Welcome to the Land of Oz… and Kansas Law!
Hold onto your ruby slippers because we’re about to embark on a journey through the fascinating world of premarital agreements right here in Kansas. Just like Dorothy followed the yellow brick road, let’s follow the legal path to understanding how Kansas law can help you protect your interests and ensure a smoother journey down the aisle.
In the land where tornadoes and technicolor dreams mix, we’ll demystify prenups, show you how they can be your legal safety net, and make you feel as empowered as the Lion after discovering his courage.
Should I get a prenup, and why?
Prenuptial agreements, often called prenups, can benefit many couples, not just the wealthy or famous. While the decision to get a prenup is a personal one, here are some situations in which couples may consider getting a prenup and the reasons why:
Couples with Disparate Wealth: If one or both partners have substantial assets (money, property, farmland, etc.) before marriage, a prenup can help protect those assets. This ensures that each party’s pre-marital financial situation is respected.
Business Owners: If you own a business or are inheriting the family business, this one is important! Individuals who own businesses or have ownership stakes in companies can safeguard their business interests from being divided in a divorce. A prenup can outline how the business will be valued and handled in case of divorce.
Protection of Family Assets: If one partner expects to receive a significant inheritance or has family assets they want to keep separate, a prenup can specify how those assets will be treated in divorce proceedings.
Income Disparities: In cases where one partner is earning way more than the other, a prenup can establish fair terms for spousal support in the event of a divorce. This can protect the interests of both parties.
Second Marriages: Individuals who remarry and have children from previous marriages may use prenups to ensure that assets are preserved for their children’s inheritance while also providing for their current spouse.
Debt Management: Is your fiance racking up their credit card debt? Do they have a lot of student loans? Couples with significant debts may use prenups to clarify how debt responsibilities will be divided upon divorce. This can prevent one partner from assuming the other’s pre-existing debts.
Protection of Intellectual Property: If one partner is an artist, writer, inventor, or has valuable intellectual property, a prenup can outline how intellectual property rights and income will be managed.
Alimony Waivers: Some individuals may want to limit or waive their right to receive alimony (spousal support) in the event of divorce. A prenup can address this issue.
Clarity and Communication: Most importantly, prenuptial agreements can also be a great communication tool before saying the big I do! They encourage couples to have important conversations about their financial expectations, goals, and values before marriage, which can strengthen their relationship.
Ultimately, prenuptial agreements can provide clarity, protection, and peace of mind for all couples entering marriage!
What is the UPAA/UPMAA?
If you have been searching for information about prenups, chances are you’ve come across these little (sometimes confusing) acronyms. But what are they, and why do they matter?
The UPAA (Uniform Premarital Agreement Act) and the UPMAA (Uniform Premarital Agreement and Marital Agreements Act) are standardized laws adopted throughout the United States that govern prenuptial agreements’ creation, enforcement, and validity.
But like many areas of law in the United States, it’s up to the individual states to decide whether they will adopt these rules completely, partially, or not at all.
Kansas is one of the states, along with twenty-six others, that has adopted the UPAA! So first, let’s start with understanding what makes a prenuptial agreement valid in Kansas.
What makes a prenuptial agreement in Kansas enforceable?
The thing to remember about prenuptial agreements is that they are only good if they are enforceable when you need them, aka if your spouse tries to challenge it at any point during the divorce proceedings. To see how to make one enforceable in Kansas, we must first look at Kansas Law—specifically, Chapter 23 Article 24 Section 23-2403 of the Kansas Legislature.
And to save your eyes for when you have to focus on other, more fun things, such as your seating chart, we’ve summarized the requirements for you below:
- Put it in writing! Just like any other contract, you’ve got to put words to paper.
- Signatures, of course! Both partners must sign the agreement.
- A premarital agreement in Kansas won’t hold up if one party can prove it wasn’t entered into voluntarily (like being dragged to the Emerald City against your will) or if it was outrageously one-sided (think of the Wicked Witch’s wickedly unfair demands).
- Before signing, each party must be provided with a fair and reasonable disclosure of the other party’s property and financial obligations (no hiding behind curtains).
- They must have had, or at least had a chance to have, a good understanding of the other party’s property and finances. In other words, you can’t sign away your rights if you don’t even know what you’re signing!
- Also, Kansas has a Public Assistance Exception: If a premarital agreement alters or eliminates spousal support and that change leaves one party in need of public assistance after separation or divorce, a court can step in and require the other party to provide support. The contract terms won’t save you from helping out, especially if the state has to pay for it!
- Lastly, all courts like things to be fair. The court decides whether an agreement is unconscionable or not as a matter of law. This means the Kansas court will determine if the agreement is so unfair that it’s essentially as wicked as the Wicked Witch herself and thus, invalid.
In re Marriage of Traster: When a prenup is extremely one-sided, will it hold up?
This case is a significant decision from the Supreme Court of Kansas. In this case, the court addressed the issue of whether a prenuptial agreement should be enforced, considering the circumstances involved – specifically, the wife receiving 98% of the property assets vs. the husband’s 2% upon divorce.
The key takeaway from this case is that Kansas courts will carefully scrutinize prenuptial agreements to ensure they meet the criteria for enforceability – especially when they are too one-sided. The Kansas court’s decision in Traster again emphasizes the importance of:
- Full and Fair Financial Disclosure
- Voluntary Consent to Enter the Prenup
- Understanding of Rights Being Waived
- Fairness of Terms
Couples considering prenuptial agreements in Kansas should ensure these criteria are met to increase the likelihood of their agreements being enforced if challenged in court. It serves as a reminder that prenuptial agreements are not meant to be vehicles for unfair advantage but rather tools for transparent and equitable financial planning in marriage. That is why it is so important to disclose your finances!
So, in the land of Kansas, like Dorothy and her companions on the yellow brick road, the journey to premarital agreement enforceability isn’t without its twists and turns. Just remember, fairness and voluntary consent are essential, and if things get unconscionable, the courts are there to click their legal heels and make things right.
How Much Is It Going to Cost Me?
The cost of getting a prenuptial agreement, or prenup, in Kansas, can vary depending on many different factors, such as the complexity of the agreement, the attorney’s individual fees, and where in Kansas you’re located.
On average, you can expect to pay anywhere from $1000 -$3000 or more for a prenuptial agreement in Kansas.
The average hourly rate of a Family Law attorney in Kansas is $278 per hour. To draft a prenup may require about 11 hours of work (Let’s say it’s 2 hours of Q&A, 3 hours of drafting, 4 hours of negotiation, and 2 hours of review and finalization). Ugh, math time! 11 hours x $273 comes out to $3,003…which just upped the wedding budget by quite a bit.
Here is a breakdown of some of the factors that can influence the ticket price down your own yellow brick road:
- Attorney’s Fees: this will be the primary expense for creating your prenup. Lawyers usually charge hourly rates for prenups but may sometimes charge flat fees for their services, and these rates can vary significantly.
- The complexity of the Agreement: Complex agreements, or those with many assets involved, such as a lot of property, land, inheritance, businesses, and investment accounts, may require more work and, in turn, more money.
- Geographical Location: The cost can also vary depending on your location within Kansas. If you go to an attorney in large cities or metropolitan areas, they may charge higher rates than in smaller towns.
So why get a prenup in Kansas?
Remember that while a prenuptial agreement may involve upfront costs, it will ultimately provide you with valuable protection and peace of mind in the event of a divorce.
The best part is that alternatives to conventional legal representation, like HelloPrenup, will help you keep those costs down for a flat rate of $599 per couple….now you don’t have to pick between the prenup and the ruby red sole heels for wedding day!!
Meet Andrea, one of our brilliant legal content writers. Andrea has developed a knack for breaking down complicated legal concepts into digestible information that is easy for anyone to understand. Beyond her expertise as an attorney in the legal tech space, Andrea is a self-diagnosed shopping addict. And when she’s not writing or adding unnecessary items to a shopping cart, she is looking for the next best restaurant in Chicago.