Do’s and Don’ts of Drafting a Prenuptial Agreement in Chicago

A prenuptial agreement in Chicago is a legal agreement negotiated before marriage that establishes property rights between two people after they get married.  This type of agreement can help avoid state default rules that might apply in the event of divorce.  They can protect separate property, redefine marital property and protect children from a previous relationship.  Some rules to follow when drafting a prenuptial agreement in Chicago include:

Do Put it in Writing

A prenuptial agreement must be in writing in order to be valid in Illinois.  Both parties must sign it.

Do Provide Consideration

Illinois law requires that a prenuptial agreement be supported by consideration.  Both parties must gain something of value by signing the prenuptial agreement. If the prenuptial agreement is made too close to the wedding, the court may decide that there was no consideration.

Do Consider What You Want Included in the Prenuptial Agreement

A prenuptial agreement can discuss the rights and obligations of the parties regarding certain property, the extent of the parties’ right to buy, sell, transfer or otherwise make transactions related to property, how property will be divided in the event of divorce, separation or divorce or the need for additional estate planning documents.

Do Treat Spousal Support Provisions Carefully

The spouses may include a discussion regarding the modification or elimination of spousal support.  However, a court can still order spousal support if the provision would cause undue hardship to the anticipated supported spouse and this hardship was not reasonably foreseeable at the time the parties signed the agreement.

Donot Forget to Disclose

Illinois prenuptial agreements must begin with a full disclosure of the parties’ property and financial obligations.  A party may decide that he or she does not desire to have this disclosure, but he or she must voluntarily and expressly waive this right in writing.

Donot Include Provisions on Child Support

Illinois law does not permit a prenuptial agreement to adversely affect a child’s right to support.  Parents are not permitted to waive child support for a child.