Couples who are in love and about to get married do not generally enjoy talking about the possibility of divorce. However, if one or both of the individuals about to be married are wealthy, or the couple is entering into a blended family situation, the discussion of what happens when the couple divorces can come up in the form of discussing a prenuptial agreement. Prenuptial agreements are recommended more often today, and can make good financial and legal sense.
A prenuptial agreement, also known as a premarital agreement, is a contract between two people that is signed before marriage, and is enforceable after the marriage takes place. Unlike other contracts, a prenuptial agreement does not need consideration, or a payment from one party to the other, in order to be valid. All it needs to be legally valid is for the terms to be legally enforceable, and for the agreement to be signed by the future spouses.
Prenuptial agreements can work for all involved if there is transparency from the start. This usually means that both sides have to make full financial disclosures in order for the premarital agreement to be legally binding. In addition, if one of the spouses signs the agreement under duress, that is, involuntarily, then a court is likely to find that the prenuptial agreement is invalid.
This is part of the reason why a premarital agreement should be signed long in advance of the actual wedding, in order to give each person time to go over the terms of the agreement and the financial disclosures. If one spouse is rushed to sign the agreement days or hours before the ceremony, he or she can use the rushed signing as grounds for challenging the validity of the agreement later on.
While a prenuptial agreement can be used to limit the amount of spousal support a person may receive in case of a divorce, it cannot do so in a way that would cause that person undue hardship. A court may have to make the ultimate determination of whether the terms limiting spousal support cause undue hardship to a spouse. Generally, prenuptial agreements cannot waive or set the terms of child support to be awarded in a divorce, as this is a matter set by law.
Contact a Prenuptial Agreement Attorney
If you are planning a wedding, and are considering asking your future spouse to sign a prenuptial agreement, or you have been asked to sign a prenuptial agreement, you need to ensure that the agreement addresses all your concerns and protects your needs. Before you commit to a prenuptial agreement, discuss the terms of the agreement with an attorney with experience dealing with prenuptial agreements. For more information, contact the dedicated Naperville family law attorneys at the Roscich & Martel Law Firm, LLC, for a consultation.