What a Prenuptial Agreement Can and Cannot Do

While there may still be some stigma attached to prenuptial agreements, the truth is that many people use them, and with good reason. Entering into a marriage involves many complex financial decisions and presents a range of possibilities for the future use of funds and assets. Particularly if one or both spouses have been married previously, the new family situation may be quite complicated and involve former spouses, children from earlier marriages and other considerations. A prenup may be a good way to navigate these issues and plan for the future.

Because a prenuptial agreement is a complex document, it’s important to understand what it can and cannot do. Prenups are generally used to make advance decisions about money and property. For example, a couple may choose to keep finances and other assets separate for protection in the event of divorce or the death of one spouse. A prenup may also be used to shield one spouse from the other’s debt, to keep certain property in one spouse’s family after that person’s death, to provide for children from earlier marriages and to identify who gets what if the parties divorce. A prenuptial agreement may also encompass secondary financial matters, such as bills, credit cards, bank accounts, savings and even how to handle financial disputes and related disagreements in the future.

In other words, a prenup can do a lot. What it cannot do - or at least should not do - is delve into nonfinancial matters. Agreements related to future children and the division of household duties, for example, have no place in a prenup. There are also certain financial matters that you cannot address in a prenuptial agreement, such as those related to child support in the event of divorce.

If you are considering drafting a prenuptial agreement with your soon-to-be spouse, an experienced family law attorney can help you create the document and ensure that it is enforceable, fair and in your best interest. Work with a Chicago family law attorney today.

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