Prenuptial agreements can help protect your assets and business if your marriage ends in divorce. However, if you do no set up the prenuptial agreement correctly, you could run into serious legal issues.
The Timing of the Prenuptial Agreement
A prenuptial agreement must be executed before the marriage. It is possible to have a postnuptial agreement created, but that requires a different type of planning. Courts generally look to uphold a prenuptial agreement unless there is a specific reason not to.
One reason a prenuptial agreement might be thrown out is that it was signed under duress. This means that one party was forced into signing it. The best ways to make sure that there is no duress is to execute the prenuptial agreement well ahead of the actual wedding and to make sure both partners have separate lawyers to look over the agreement,
The closer to the wedding day that the prenuptial agreement is signed, the more it may look like coercion was used.
While there is a lot of room to be creative with prenuptial agreements, there are some provisions that are illegal and will not be enforced by an Illinois court. Some examples of illegal provisions include:
- Anything relating to child support;
- Any provision that goes against public policy, such as agreeing to very limited parenting time; and
- Anything that is unconscionable. This means anything that is grossly unfair or is designed to punish one spouse unfairly.
In most cases a single illegal provision will not void an entire prenuptial agreement. If the court can still enforce the other provisions while ignoring the illegal ones, it will do so.
Why Prenuptial Agreements Matter
It may seem awkward to talk about prenuptial agreements, but these agreements are an important tool. A good prenuptial agreement can save thousands of dollars in litigation costs in the event of a divorce. They can also offer both spouses some measure of economic security.
Prenuptial agreements are especially important in cases where one spouse has a business or in the case of second or third marriages. Under Illinois law, marital property is such a sweeping concept and without a prenuptial agreement it is easy for people to lose businesses of their children’s future inheritances without proper planning.
If you have any questions about prenuptial agreements, divorce, or any other family law issues, you need to contact an experienced DuPage County divorce lawyer. Call the firm of Mulyk Laho Law, LLC today at 630-852-1100 to setup a consultation. Protect yourself and learn about your rights.