Most people have heard of prenuptial agreements, but many consider them something that happens in Hollywood or with high net-worth couples. However, there are many reasons ordinary couples can benefit from having a prenuptial agreement. While you may think you will never split up, the fact is over half of all marriages end in divorce.
What Is the Purpose of a Prenuptial Agreement?
A prenuptial agreement is an attempt for a couple to decide how their property and assets should be split up in case of a divorce. It is like a property settlement that is agreed to before anyone is even thinking about filing for a divorce.
Individuals with property, a business, or a potential inheritance often want to make sure these items do not become marital property. A prenuptial agreement is way for both spouses to keep the property they bring into the marriage separate.
What Are the Risks of Signing a Prenuptial Agreement?
A prenuptial agreement is a legal contract. If you willingly sign the agreement you cannot later say you did not understand what was in it. The biggest risk for signing a prenuptial is giving away important rights you would otherwise have in a divorce. You should always have your own independent attorney examine a prenuptial agreement before you sign it.
If a prenuptial agreement is not drafted correctly, it could all be a waste of time. Illinois law requires certain formalities be observed when creating a prenuptial agreement. If the document is not created and executed properly it may be thrown out in court and it will be like there was never any agreement.
Can We Sign an Agreement after We Are Married?
Prenuptial agreements are by definition entered into before a marriage. But, the law allows couples to sign postnuptial agreements after the marriage. Just like with prenuptial agreements, both sides are advised to get their own independent lawyers to look at anything before it is signed. No lawyer or law firm can represent both spouses in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.
Postnuptial agreements must be freely entered into. If there is any coercion or other inappropriate attempts to interfere with someone’s exercise of their free will, the agreement will be voided.
If you are considering a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, consult with a skilled and knowledgeable DuPage County family law attorney. You need to make sure your rights are fully protected. Call today for a consultation.