The Importance of a Well Drafted Prenuptial Agreement

It is very common for wealthy individuals and celebrities to have their future spouse execute a prenuptial agreement prior to entering into marriage. However, news reports and tabloids are often laden with stories broadcasting issues that occur when these wealthy individuals and celebrities divorce. The purpose of a prenuptial agreement is to protect each person’s property and assets in the event a divorce occurs. Thus, why is there still so much controversy surrounding a divorce when a couple signs a prenuptial agreement before marriage?

Common Prenuptial Agreement Mistakes

The biggest reason why a divorce can become muddy despite having an executed prenuptial agreement is because the prenuptial agreement was poorly written. Although couples often seek legal counsel prior to entering into a prenuptial agreement, the reality is that the advice they receive is not always good. The following are common pitfalls that occur in prenuptial agreements:

  • Ambiguous Terms: Like any legal document, a prenuptial agreement should clearly spell out important terms. If the terms are confusing or poorly written, then either party can later challenge them in court.
  • Same Legal Representation: In order for a prenuptial agreement to be enforceable, each party must have his or her own separate attorneys.
  • Last Minute: It is not uncommon for people to wait until right before they get married to sign a prenuptial agreement. The problem with this, however, is if the couple gets divorced, one party may be able to argue that he or she was coerced into signing the agreement. It is advisable that the prenuptial agreement be executed at least three months before the wedding date so that each party has enough time to go over the provisions.
  • Failure to Disclose All Assets: The prenuptial agreement may be invalidated if one of the parties fails to fully disclose all property and assets.
  • Provisions Regarding Child Support or Child Custody: Any provision in the prenuptial agreement regarding child support or child custody will be found invalid. This is because the court generally looks at the best interests of the child when determining who should receive custody and how much child support payments should be paid. In some cases, a judge may find that the entire prenuptial agreement is invalid if such provisions are present.

Although a prenuptial agreement is the best way to protect one’s assets and property before entering into a marriage, it is crucial that the agreement is well written and does not contain any invalid provisions. If you plan on getting married and are contemplating a prenuptial agreement in the DuPage County area, contact one of the Illinois prenuptial agreement attorneys at Sullivan Taylor, Gumina & Palmer, P.C. P.C. today. We are knowledgeable in Illinois laws related to marriage and divorce and can help you draft an effective prenuptial agreement.