For Illinois residents with substantial assets, getting married for a first or subsequent time may include addressing financial concerns before saying, “I do.” This is particularly true if you or your fiancé own a business, have a significant portfolio or children from a previous relationship.
According to the Illinois General Assembly, a couple signs a premarital agreement before the marriage, and it becomes effective on the wedding day. Although it is “enforceable without consideration,” several factors may invalidate the contract.
What you can include in a prenup
Everyone hopes that a marriage lasts, but the reality is that many couples divorce. A prenup can address how you wish to handle specific issues and provide you and your partner with financial protections if the union ends. You and your partner can make decisions before the wedding that can make a divorce go more smoothly, such as the following:
- Property rights and division
- Spousal support (Alimony)
- Life insurance benefits
- Trusts and wills
- Choice of law
While you can address many financial concerns with this agreement, child support, allocation of parenting responsibilities and parenting time are not among them. You must handle these matters at the time of the separation or divorce.
What makes a prenup unenforceable
When executed correctly, the courts recognize the agreement and expect both parties to abide by its contents. However, some situations may make the contract unenforceable. You should sign a prenup several weeks, if not months before the wedding. If you signed it shortly before the ceremony, the court might see it as a sign of duress. Agreements that are unfair or grossly one-sided and do not include a reasonable financial disclosure are often deemed invalid.
Complying with state statutes and ensuring the agreement is enforceable can help reduce divorce litigation costs if you and your partner decide parting ways is best for everyone.