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Singer, actor's divorce turns contentious

The end of a romantic relationship is inherently difficult. Even couples in Missouri who are able to put their differences aside and come to an amicable agreement often face emotional difficulties. While a prenuptial agreement can help ease some of these difficulties in the event of a divorce, questions about such an agreement's enforceability could ultimately arise if certain steps are not followed. In fact, such questions have arisen following the split of Dixie Chicks singer Natalie Maines and her estranged husband, actor Adrian Pasdar.

While the couple signed a prenuptial agreement, Pasdar claims that he cannot remember the process of drafting and negotiating the agreement. He is also challenging his agreement to waive spousal support. While state laws vary regarding such documents, all jurisdictions look at several basic elements to determine the validity of a prenup.

Issues that must be addressed are whether both parties supplied an accurate and complete list of liabilities and assets, if there was sufficient time to research and fully understand all aspects of the agreement, whether both parties had access to legal counsel and other professionals, and if the agreement is clear. Videotaping the signing of such a document can help provide safeguards against future challenges of validity. For example, a videotape could provide evidence if one party later claims he or she signed under duress.

Unfortunately, as time passes, circumstances change. An agreement that might have been fair prior to the marriage -- such as waiving spousal support -- may no longer seem fair after time has passed. While there are steps to help ensure that a prenuptial agreement is enforceable in the event a divorce occurs in Missouri, a need to challenge it may still arise after years have passed. Fortunately, an attorney with experience with family law matters can help ensure that a person is treated fairly and lawfully.

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