agreement, family lawEvery couple should sign a prenuptial agreement before saying “I do” because it can become “I don’t” in the blink of an eye. And many couples do eventually end up in divorce court. Prenuptial agreements protect spouses from the potential pitfalls of divorce including disagreements over property division and liability for debts accrued both before and during the marriage.

The Basics of Prenuptial Agreements

Prenuptial agreements can help protect individuals with meager or significant assets. They can be used to separate premarital property from the marital estate and make it easier for individuals with children from previous marriages to pass these assets to their heirs. A prenuptial agreement clarifies the financial rights of the couple and can considerably reduce conflict and arguments when it comes time to divide the marital estate. They also help protect each spouse from the other’s debts including liabilities from student loans, business loans, credit cards, etc.

Develop a Stronger Position with a Postnuptial Agreement

Many things can change over the course of a marriage and it is not uncommon for changes in status, jobs, and finances to lead to questions about the “what if’s” of a marriage failure if the couple doesn’t have a prenuptial agreement on file. A postnuptial agreement, also known as a postmarital agreement, does essentially the same thing as a prenup and can be created and signed at any point during the marriage. This agreement establishes who will get what property, how assets will be divided, how debts will be distributed, custody issues, and everything else the couple wishes to include. As with prenuptial agreements, the agreement can be drafted and explained to both parties by a family law attorney in Illinois.

The Validity of Prenuptial & Postnuptial Agreements

While legally binding contracts, the court still maintains considerable discretion when determining the validity of these agreements. The court may reject the terms set forth in these documents if it determines the agreement is fraudulent, if the agreement was coerced or signed under duress, the agreement was not filed properly, if it was signed without legal representation, or if the agreement is so uneven that it clearly places one party at a disadvantage. As such, it is important to draft and review these documents with the help of a family law attorney to ensure their validity down the road.