St Louis, MO asked in Divorce and Family Law for Missouri

Q: Prenup question to waive alimony.., My fiance and I had agreed on this to replace alimony. Is this sufficient in prenup?


10. In the event that there is a separation of the Parties, the following will occur regarding spousal

support: J.A.B. Jr. will pay spousal support to J.S. in the amount of a lump

sum of $55,000 cash on the condition that they were married for a minimum of five years.

11. Spousal support will end if the Party receiving support remarries, cohabits with another person

in a common-law relationship, or dies, whichever occurs first.

12. The Parties realize that their respective financial circumstances may be altered in the future by

changes in their health, the cost of living, their employment, their marital status, the breakdown

of their relationship, or otherwise. No such changes will give either Party the right to seek

additional support under any legislation, Federal or State. It is understood by each Party that this

Agreement represents a final disposition of all maintenance and support issues between them.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Chad Garrett Mann
Chad Garrett Mann
  • Springfield, MO
  • Licensed in Missouri

A: The binding effect of any provision in a prenuptial agreement, including one that purports to waive spousal support, depends on a variety of factors, not just the specific language used in the clause.

Under Missouri law, prenuptial agreements must meet certain criteria to be enforceable. First, they must be executed in writing and signed by both parties. Oral prenuptial agreements generally won't be upheld. Second, the agreement must be executed voluntarily and without undue influence. This means that both parties must willingly and knowingly agree to the terms, without any pressure or coercion.

Before signing, each party should have a full and fair disclosure of the other party's financial situation. A failure to disclose significant assets or liabilities could render the agreement unenforceable.

It's also important that each party has the opportunity to consult with independent legal counsel before signing the agreement. This helps ensure that each party fully understands the implications of the agreement, including any waiver of rights, such as the right to spousal support.

Even if a prenuptial agreement meets these criteria, it might still be unenforceable if it's unconscionable, meaning it's excessively one-sided or unfair. The agreement also can't violate public policy or the law. For example, an agreement can't limit a parent's obligation to support their children.

The binding effect of a specific provision in a prenuptial agreement, such as a waiver of spousal support, will depend on all of these factors. This makes it critical to have any prenuptial agreement drafted or at least reviewed by a lawyer who is familiar with Missouri's laws and how they've been applied by the courts. Most of the time, lawyers will have prenuptial agreements that can be modified to your specific circumstances. These agreements have likely already been screened, approved, and upheld by Missouri courts, which can provide more assurance that the agreement will be enforceable if it's ever challenged.

In summary, while it's possible for a prenuptial agreement to waive spousal support, the enforceability of such a provision will depend on the specifics of the situation, including the overall fairness of the agreement, whether the parties had an opportunity to consult with legal counsel, whether there was full disclosure of assets and liabilities, and whether the agreement was executed voluntarily. It's always best to consult with a lawyer when creating a prenuptial agreement to ensure that it's legally sound and enforceable.

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