November 16, 2015

The Importance of a Prenuptial Agreement

Marriage, Premarital agreement

There’s nothing in a fairy tale romance about a prenuptial agreement, and many couples shy away from drawing up this important legal document before marriage in an effort to avoid the perceived stigma of a prenup — “we only need this if one of us will be cruel or unfair in the event that our marriage does not last.”

Unfortunately, life is not made of fairy tales, and marriages are not made only of romance. Obtaining a prenuptial agreement is an important step in the beginning of all marriages. It not only determines what will happen in the event that the marriage does not last, but allows for the couple to evaluate certain financial situations. Sometimes, this type of serious consideration of mundane matters can actually bring the couple closer together.

Prenuptial agreements not only allow the couple to lay out financial expectations and alleviate the possibility of financial surprises in the event of marital dissolution, they are also legally binding documents that set forth expectations and limitations on spending and settlements in the case of divorce. That is, a prenuptial agreement allows that both parties are aware of the other’s expectations.

This is not only true when considering the holding of assets, but for other serious deliberations, such as childcare and child support in the event of divorce as well. You cannot, however, limit one party’s involvement in a child’s life in a prenuptial agreement. While certain expectations regarding children can be delineated in a prenup, no party will be able to limit the involvement of a non-custodial parent with a prenuptial agreement.

And that is a good thing — because prenuptial agreements are legally binding documents that almost always hold up in court in the event of divorce. If you do not have a prenup, what happens to your shared assets and your lives will be determined by the state or the court in the event of divorce. This does not allow a couple for the same degree of flexibility, and also can add an extra layer of stress during divorce—already ranked one of the most stressful experiences that a person can go through during life.

If you or someone you know has questions about signing a prenuptial agreement, the most important step is to seek legal counsel. Contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney today.