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Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements

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Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements

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Pre and Postnuptial Agreements in Divorce Cases

More and more couples are choosing to enter into a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. These agreements are contracts between spouses used to govern how they will divide assets and address other financial concerns should they divorce. Such a contract is called a “prenuptial agreement” if it is made before marriage, or a “postnuptial agreement” if it is made after marriage. There are, however, limits as to what can be controlled by prenuptial or postnuptial agreements. There are also some circumstances where a judge will not enforce a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.

When your divorce involves a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, you may be worried about how the agreement will affect your interests. At Reifman Law Offices, we have close to 20 years of experience in navigating the complexities of the divorce process. We will review your case closely and offer you guidance throughout the process of resolving your divorce.

How is a Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreement Created?

Illinois has adopted the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act, which sets out a few requirements. The agreement must be signed by both parties, but the signing does not have to be witnessed by anyone else, nor does it need to be filed with the court. It is not required that each spouse has their own independent attorney review the agreement, although it is advisable. Both prenuptial and postnuptial agreements can be altered or revoked at any time during the marriage.

If you are considering making a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, we are equipped to help you. Having a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement in place does not mean that your marriage will end in divorce. In fact, being able to communicate with your spouse and reach an agreement can be a sign of a strong marriage. Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements do not just come into play during a divorce – they often include terms regarding what will happen to property or finances if you are still married when one spouse passes away. An attorney can facilitate this communication and aid you and your spouse in reaching an agreement that works for both of you.

What Can Be Addressed in a Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreement?

These agreements typically cover how property will be distributed and finances will be handled should the couple divorce. A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement may govern things like:

  • Whether spousal maintenance will be paid
  • Who owns certain pieces of property
  • Who is responsible for certain debts
  • Who will receive financial benefits or other property upon the death of one spouse
  • A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement cannot be used to govern:
  • Child support
  • Child custody issues, also known as the allocation of parental responsibilities

Issues of child support and child custody are always decided based on the best interests of the child. A parent cannot sign away a child’s right to receive financial support from another parent, nor can a couple decide who will be primarily responsible for parenting a child after a divorce in advance. The judge must examine each unique case and make decisions on the basis of what is best for the child. At Reifman Law Offices, we can assist you in the creation of prenuptial and postnuptial agreements that will stand up to scrutiny from the court and give you the long-term security and peace of mind you deserve.

Enforceability Concerns

There are certain situations where a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement is not enforceable. Reasons a court might not enforce a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement include:

Coercion

One spouse signed the agreement involuntarily because the other spouse coerced them. Coercion could involve blackmail or other unfair threats. Simply refusing to marry without a prenuptial agreement is not enough to prove coercion, but the court will consider how much time passed between when the agreement was signed and when the marriage took place.

Unconscionability

This means that the agreement is drastically unfair. If spousal maintenance is waived in the agreement, but enforcing this term would leave one spouse unable to provide for themselves without public assistance, the court may not enforce this part of the agreement.

Dishonesty

If one spouse concealed financial assets or debts from the other before the agreement was signed, a court may not enforce the agreement. Both spouses have a right to know the other’s true financial situation before entering into an agreement.

A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement with unenforceable elements can create serious issues in a divorce. With this in mind, it is important to work closely with a qualified attorney, both in creating your agreement and during your divorce.

Contact a Schaumburg Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreement Lawyer

If your divorce involves a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, it is important to have a lawyer protecting your interests. To learn how Reifman Law Offices can help, call 847-299-8433 and begin with a free consultation. We have locations throughout the Chicago area in Arlington Heights, Palatine, Elk Grove Village, Schaumburg, Hoffman Estates, West Dundee, Barrington, Streamwood, and Rolling Meadows.

At Reifman Law Offices,

we will take the weight of dealing with family legal issues off of your shoulders.
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Arkady Reifman

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