If you have been asked to sign a prenuptial agreement, first and foremost, it is important to have your own attorney look it over to protect your interests. That said, there are basic considerations that apply to mostly all prenups:
- They must be in writing and signed by both parties
- They must be entered into voluntarily free of coercion – the court may refuse to enforce one if they’re there is any evidence of fraud, coercion, undue influence applied to one party
- A complete disclosure of all assets and income must be provided by both parties
- An overall fairness to the agreement must be met, which is interpreted to mean that each side was represented by their own attorney and there has been a full disclosure of the financial picture – assets, debt, and income – by both parties
What Issues Can an Illinois Prenup Resolve?
Prenuptial agreements typically include a provision for spousal maintenance and details regarding the division of property in the event of a divorce. Prenuptial agreements cannot resolve issues related to child support of the allocation of parenting time and responsibility.
- Prenups can state whether spousal maintenance will be paid in what amount and for what duration. Keep in mind however, that a judge may set aside a low alimony provision as unfair if a long time has elapsed between the signing of the original document and the time in marriage
- Prenups can off protection of assets acquired prior to the marriage including a business. A prenuptial agreement can prevent these assets from being considered marital property subject to division in a divorce. Conversely, an agreement may also be used to declare that certain property acquired before marriage will be treated as marital property subject to division if the parties agree.
- An agreement can preserve premarital assets for children from a prior marriage rather than dividing them in the divorce. It can help you avoid costly litigation that you may have already weathered in a previous divorce.
- Issues related to death benefits and agreements to execute wills and trusts to distribute assets in a particular manner upon death may also be covered as can any other issues which individuals can legally contract.
Drafting an Ironclad Prenuptial Agreement
The devil is in the details when it comes to prenuptial agreements. Some assets acquired prior to marriage may be protected, but what happens when those same assets increase in value during the marriage? If one spouse owns a house and keeps it as separate property, what happens if the other spouse makes improvements or pays for maintenance on the same home during the marriage? If there is a small business, does the non-owning spouse get a cut for contributing time and energy to the business during the marriage?
Work With Our Experienced Prenuptial Agreement Lawyers
It is vitally important to have a well drafted prenuptial agreement that will protect you in the event of a divorce, therefore before you sign a prenuptial agreement, it is crucial to work with an experienced family law attorney to protect your interests. If you are considering signing an Illinois prenuptial agreement, contact the family law attorneys of Schlesinger & Strauss LLC to schedule a consultation today at 847-680-4970.