Don’t let a prenup be invalidated

On behalf of The Walters Law Group, Ltd. posted in Divorce on Wednesday, November 13, 2013.

Illinois residents with significant wealth or real estate that they wish to protect may ask their betrothed to sign a prenuptial agreement before marriage. A prenuptial agreement can ensure that in the case of a divorce, assets enumerated in the agreement remain in the hands of the person who owned them prior to the marriage. In addition, a premarital agreement can predetermine issues related to spousal support. As such, a premarital agreement can reduce the likelihood of litigation in the event of marriage dissolution — but only if the prenuptial agreement is set up correctly.

Premarital agreements are very often invalidated due to the parties’ lack of independent legal representation or because the document was signed by a party under duress. When a prenuptial agreement is set up, each individual should retain his or her own legal representation to ensure that both parties understand their respective benefits and obligations under the agreement. Thoroughly understanding the document prior to marriage may also prevent a party from later arguing that he or she was taken advantage of. Relatedly, if a court determines that a prenuptial agreement was signed due to coercion, the document can be invalidated.

Some prenuptial agreements also require one party to meet certain obligations. In one case, a man promised to tear up the prenuptial agreement upon the birth of the couple’s first child. When he did not do so, the court ended up throwing out the agreement, calling it “fraudulently induced.”

An attorney could assist a person with significant assets in properly drafting and executing a prenuptial agreement. By ensuring the agreement is set up correctly and adequately understood by the individual who signs it, an attorney could protect wealth and real estate in the event of marriage dissolution, clarify any obligations contained in a prenuptial agreement and defend its terms when necessary.

Source: Huffington Post, “10 Common Prenup Pitfalls“, David Centeno, November 04, 2013