Prenuptial Agreement Basics

prenuptial agreement, DuPage County family law attorneyA prenuptial agreement is a legal contract developed and signed by a couple before they get married. A prenuptial agreement, or “prenup,” can delineate how financial assets and property will be divided in the event that the couple divorces in the future. It is important to understand that a couple cannot use a prenuptial agreement to make determinations about future custody of or child support for children the couple has together.

Benefits of Prenuptial Agreements

There are a number of potential benefits to developing a prenuptial agreement. For example, a prenuptial agreement can be used to:

  • Protect the assets of an individual with substantial wealth who is considering marriage. In the agreement, the couple could stipulate that certain assets will not be considered part of the marital estate;
  • Prevent one spouse from absorbing the debts of the other spouse in the event of a divorce. This is especially helpful to couples who begin the marriage with a significant amount of debt;
  • Specify each party’s responsibilities during the marriage, including who will be responsible for making certain payments. An agreement could also address purchasing life insurance policies on each other and naming beneficiaries;
  • Clarify inheritance rights and financial concerns regarding children from a previous relationship; and
  • Secure business interests for spouses who own or operate a family company. Without careful consideration in advance, the business could become part of the marital estate and be subject to division in an eventual divorce.

Ensuring Your Prenuptial Agreement Will Stand Up in Court

It is extremely important for your prenuptial agreement to be legally sound and, therefore, valid in the event that it is needed. A prenup can be set aside by a judge if the agreement is deemed unviable during a divorce. For example, the agreement may not be enforceable if it was not signed before the wedding, if one or both of the spouses did not read or fully understand the agreement, or if either person was coerced into signing the agreement. A judge may also decide that a poorly developed prenup is too unfair to one party or fails to other legal requirements of a valid prenuptial agreement.

Does Signing a Prenuptial Agreement Mean My Marriage Will Fail?

Some people hesitate to bring up the idea of a prenup with their future spouse because they fear what their partner will think it means. For many, there is a negative connotation associated with prenuptial agreements that suggest those who sign one are not serious about their marriage or plan to divorce in the future. This is simply not true. While signing a prenuptial agreement may not be the most romantic thing you ever do with your partner, it is the right step to take for many happy couples.

We Can Help

If you would like to know more about prenuptial agreements and how they can be used to strengthen your relationship, contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney. Call 630-409-8184 for a confidential consultation at the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C. today.

 

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2087&ChapterID=59

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