You don’t have to be a famous celebrity to need a prenuptial agreement.

But if you are a business owner in Missouri, you will want to think about drafting one, with the help of an experienced Missouri business attorney.

Prior to marriage, a properly prepared prenuptial agreement can save money, time and anguish if divorce should occur. It can also prevent battles over business ownership, especially because the prenuptial agreement addresses any increase in the value of financial assets acquired prior to the marriage. Without a prenuptial agreement, community property and equitable distribution laws may determine what happens to your assets upon divorce.

Now, imagine that you are divorcing and you own a business (your asset). Prior to your marriage, your business was worth $7 million. Now your business is worth $12 million. This represents an asset appreciation of $5 million, of which your spouse may be entitled to 50% or more without a prenuptial agreement in place.

Now imagine also that your spouse is your business employee. Beyond protecting pre-marital asset appreciation, a prenuptial agreement can protect your Missouri business ownership interest, address stock valuation, and prevent shares of your business from being awarded to your spouse as part of your divorce settlement. Additionally, the pre-nuptial agreement can limit your liability for debts incurred by your spouse.

Sound good so far? Not so fast. First, a few more important facts you should know:

1) To ensure your Missouri prenuptial agreement is enforceable, specific formalities must be followed. For example, if you are your spouse are represented by the same attorney, the agreement may be rendered invalid. Engaging separate attorneys in matters related to divorce is always sound. At the very least, if you and your spouse share an attorney to draft the agreement, your spouse should engage another attorney to review the agreement, explain it in detail and negotiate terms on your spouse’s behalf.

2) Above all else, take plenty of time to think about, review, negotiate and execute your prenuptial agreement. Do not sign the agreement under stress!

You’ve worked hard to build your business. Now protect it in a legally valid and enforceable way. Talk to a knowledgeable Missouri business attorney today.