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How Can a Prenuptial Agreement Affect Your Divorce?

Posted on in Family Law

How Can a Prenuptial Agreement Affect Your Divorce?Coming to a settlement that both parties agree to can be challenging even in the most amicable divorce. There are many important factors to consider, including division of assets and debts, spousal support, child support, parenting time, and parental responsibilities. Couples who are considering a prenuptial agreement or who already have one in place may expect that it will prevent any major disagreements in the event of a divorce, but it is important to keep a few things in mind about how a prenup may actually impact the divorce proceedings.

A Prenup Can Ease Financial Negotiations in a Divorce Settlement

Under Illinois law, a prenuptial agreement can address a variety of important financial considerations that are likely to come up in a future divorce. Couples can determine which of their properties will be considered marital and non-marital assets, which may be beneficial if one or both spouses have family heirlooms or businesses that they want to retain. Couples can also agree as to how assets and debts will be distributed in the event of a divorce, as well as whether any spousal support will be paid.

If both spouses entered the prenuptial agreement in good faith, divorce settlement negotiations regarding finances often proceed smoothly, especially if the divorce is amicable. Because there are few, if any, additional property decisions to be made, divorcing couples have more time and energy to focus on other aspects of the separation.

A Prenup Cannot Address Decisions Related to Children

A prenuptial agreement is meant to be an understanding between two consenting adults as to how the marriage and potential divorce will affect their finances. The couple’s current and future children are not a party to the agreement, and couples may not infringe upon their children’s right to support or include any other decisions regarding child custody and visitation in a prenup.

This means that all agreements regarding child support, parenting time, and allocation of parental responsibilities must be made at the time of the divorce. This ensures that parents and the court are able to consider the children’s best interests based on their current situation, rather than an agreement that was likely made before they were born.

A Prenup is Not Set in Stone

After a couple signs a prenuptial agreement, they should continue having important conversations about finances as their marriage and life situation evolves. It is a good idea to periodically review and revise a prenuptial agreement so that it accounts for any major changes, especially those that were unforeseen at the time of the initial agreement. Couples who divorce long after creating a prenup may find themselves unhappy with its terms but with few options to do anything about it if they have not kept the agreement up to date.

It is also possible to contest a prenup during a divorce. For example, a spouse may argue that the agreement is invalid because they were coerced into signing it, or because their partner failed to disclose important information about assets that would have impacted the terms of the agreement. An Illinois court can also decide to award spousal support contrary to the prenuptial agreement if not doing so would create an undue hardship for one of the parties.

Contact a McHenry County Family Law Attorney Today

If you are getting a divorce and are wondering how your prenuptial agreement may affect you, or if you have questions about getting a prenup or postnuptial agreement in the first place, Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, can help. Call a Crystal Lake divorce lawyer at 815-338-3838 to request a free consultation.

Sources:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/heatherlocus/2018/09/23/why-prenuptial-and-postnuptial-agreements-lead-to-stronger-marriages-and-prevent-disastrous-divorces/#3d64d9bc6488

https://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/family-finance/articles/2018-08-03/the-pros-and-cons-of-prenups

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2087&ChapterID=59

Illinois State Bar Association State Bar of Wisconsin Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce Illinois Trial Lawyers Association McHenry County Bar Association
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