What Should I Include in my Prenuptial Agreement?
Prenuptial agreements, commonly known as prenups, have become more and more popular over the past few years. It is very common for young couples to enter into a prenuptial agreement before committing to marriage, so that both parties can be protected should the relationship end in divorce. These agreements are legal documents, and so should be looked over by an experienced family law lawyer before being signed. But it can be difficult to decide what is worth including and what is not. That is why we at Nottage and Ward, LLP have put together this brief guide for you.
During divorce proceedings, maintenance (alimony) is often one of the main issues ex-couples debate about. If you and your partner wish to deal with the matter before any potential divorce goes through, you can include in your prenup whether either party is owed maintenance in the event of a divorce. This can help smooth the divorce process out and make it faster as well as cheaper.
However, it is important to remember that a court can overrule maintenance requirements in prenups during divorce proceedings if they find that the maintenance terms were unconscionable at the time they were negotiated.
Allocation of Parental Responsibilities (Custody Issues)
When you write out your prenuptial agreement, you may be tempted to insert a section on the allocation of parental responsibilities, but before you do, you must understand that this is prohibited in Illinois, and in most other states.
On top of that, allocation of parental responsibilities is usually determined by the courts, who will consider what is best for the child or children in question. Even if you and your partner decided that you would be the residential parent in your prenup, the court may decide that your partner is actually the better option for the welfare of your child.
The division of property is another primary use of prenuptial agreements. The prenup can ensure that property is divided the way you and your partner feel is correct, rather than how the court sees fit. This means that you can identify your important financial assets, such as your retirement fund, income, any stock you may hold, and inheritance as separate from the pool of the marital property.
This concept can also be applied to any debt, such as student loans, that you or your partner may have. If one person is indebted and then they marry someone in a better financial situation, then the prenup can ensure that the more financially stable spouse is not then responsible for the burden of the debt.
You can include more personal issues in your prenup. For example, you may want to assign chores, domestic responsibilities, hobbies, family issues, or even vacation plans. Any of these can be included, however, the court is unlikely to uphold non-financial, personal matters if you and your partner do end up divorcing. They will usually not be legally enforceable, and so should only be entered into your prenup with the understanding that they are up to personal preference.
If you want help drafting or going over the finer points of your prenup, or you want experienced legal advice while writing the agreement, you should contact a Chicago prenuptial agreement attorney at Nottage and Ward, LLP by calling (312) 332-2915. With our dedicated team of family law attorneys, we will be able to provide you with the best prenuptial help in Illinois.
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