For many couples considering marriage, a prenuptial agreement can be a valuable tool. Such an agreement can address a wide range of concerns in advance, often creating a more stable, secure basis for the marriage. A prenuptial agreement, of course, is also helpful in the event that the marriage does not survive. The process of divorce is often made much easier by the existence of a valid agreement created before the relationship deteriorated. There are many issues that may be addressed in a prenuptial agreement, but it is important to realize that the agreement may not be used to waive any rights belonging to your current or future children, especially rights related to child support.
Legitimate Child Support Considerations
Prenuptial agreements most commonly address a couple’s finances and property. They can be used to identify certain assets as marital or non-marital property, as well as to determine which spouse would receive what assets in a potential divorce. A prenuptial agreement, however, can also be used to simplify situations involving children and responsibilities from a previous relationship.
For example, assume you have been ordered to pay child support for three children from your first marriage, but no spousal maintenance. You are preparing to get married again, and drafting a prenuptial agreement with your new partner. You and your partner are well within your rights to discuss and reach an agreement regarding which assets will be used throughout your marriage to remain compliant with your child support obligations. Such an agreement does not attempt to limit the children’s rights to the support they need.
Limits of a Prenuptial Agreement
While a prenuptial agreement may address child support to some extent, such an agreement can only go so far. According to Illinois law, “the right of a child to support may not be adversely affected by a premarital agreement.” This means that you and your partner cannot agree in advance that neither party will be required to pay child support for your existing or possible future children. The right to child support is seen under the law as a right that belongs to the child, not to either parent. Therefore, the parents have no authority to arbitrarily waive that right on behalf of the child.
In addition, orders for child support are expected to be developed based upon the circumstances affecting the family situation at the time that support is actually needed. Thus, any arrangements related to parental responsibilities and child support must be reserved until such a time that they are required.
If you are thinking about getting married—whether it is your first marriage or a remarriage—a prenuptial agreement may be able to provide you and your future spouse with added security and peace of mind. To learn more, contact an experienced Kane County family law attorney. We can help you draft an agreement that meets your needs and fully protects your rights. Call 630-377-7770 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today.