Prenuptial agreements are legal documents which couples can create and sign before getting married. Provisions in the document include directives regarding how property and assets will be divided in the event that the marriage ends in divorce as well as plans for how finances will be handled during the marriage. Prenuptial agreements are often misunderstood and there is quite a bit of misinformation circulating the internet regarding these helpful legal tools.
Myth 1: Getting a Prenup is Planning for Divorce
The most commonly held false belief when it comes to any premarital agreement is that only couples who plan to divorce create these arrangements. This is simply not true. Although short-lived celebrity weddings have given prenuptial agreements a bad reputation, many couples benefit from prenups and never end up divorced.
Myth 2: Asking your Fiancé for an Agreement Will Only Lead to a Fight
Because of the misconceptions regarding prenups, it can be difficult to bring up the subject to a soon-to-be-spouse. However, with the right perspective and approach, a discussion about the possibility of using a prenuptial agreement does not have to be stressful. Research the benefits of prenuptial agreements together or meet with a family law attorney who can explain the purposes of the document. The key is to keep your significant other “in the loop” so that it is a joint decision instead of trying to figure everything out on your own.
Myth 3: Prenuptial Agreements Can Include Child Custody or Support Provisions
Prenuptial agreements do have some limitations. One of these is that prenups cannot include provisions about child support or the allocation of parental responsibilities (previously called custody). A prenuptial agreement which includes provisions that dictate where a child will live or how much a parent must pay in child support will not be enforced by the courts. It should be noted that a prenuptial agreement can address pre-existing child support obligations and other considerations regarding a spouse’s child from a previous relationship. Such provisions may be included for budgeting, insurance, or inheritance purposes.
Myth 4: Prenuptial Agreements Are Rarely Enforceable
In order to be enforceable by the courts, prenuptial agreements must meet certain requirements. The document must be written and voluntarily signed by both parties, and its provisions must be reasonable. A family law attorney can help couples create a valid prenuptial agreement which will be upheld by Illinois courts. Most prenups include severability clauses that allow a court to set aside only the parts that are found to be invalid while enforcing the remainder of the agreement.
Myth 5: Prenuptial Agreements Are Only Helpful If the Couple Gets Divorced
Admittedly, there are many ways a prenuptial agreement can help in the unfortunate case that a couple divorces, but this is far from the agreement’s only benefit. Many couples avoid discussions about finances or plans for the future because they are uncomfortable topics. This type of avoidance will only cause arguments or misunderstandings in the future. By taking the times to create a prenuptial agreement, the couple is ensuring that they are on the same page regarding their financial goals and responsibilities before a problem arises.
If you have further questions about how a prenuptial agreement can benefit you and your family, contact an experienced Kane County family law attorney. For a free, confidential consultation at Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C. call 630-377-7770 today.