Many couples think – romantically – that a prenuptial agreement indicates that you expect to get divorced. The prenup is viewed as a romance killer and frightens people about to get married in the way estate planning discussions frighten others. But the idea is well worth considering when you’re thinking about getting married.
A prenuptial or premarital agreement (prenup) is a legal contract between two spouses setting out how specific issues will be dealt with during the marriage and after it, after a divorce, or the death of one spouse. In Illinois, a prenup must be in writing and signed by both parties to the agreement. No matter when it is signed, however, it is not effective until the couple is legally married. The agreement can be modified or revoked later, so long as the change is in writing and signed by both parties.
A prenuptial agreement can clarify issues during a marriage but is more commonly used to deal with issues after the marriage is dissolved. These issues can include:
You cannot use a prenuptial agreement to allocate parental responsibilities or time or address child support issues. Those issues will be handled during a divorce proceeding, and the decision focuses on the child’s best interests.
Generally, if the prenup was executed correctly and signed by both spouses, a court will enforce it. The court will not enforce the prenup, however, if there is evidence that one party signed under duress or if the court finds the prenup to be grossly unfair.
A prenup can resolve a lot of issues while the parties are still happy with one another. These same issues will be much more acrimonious when you’ve already decided that the marriage can’t be saved. Working with a Burr Ridge family lawyer can help you ensure that your prenuptial agreement is fair and fully enforceable.
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