Before your wedding day in Illinois, you may have thought the idea of signing a contract with your fiancée was unromantic and unnecessary. Now, years later, as you are considering moving on in life without your spouse, you might be glad that you signed an agreement before your marriage. You may have signed a prenuptial contract to retain separate ownership of certain assets or to avoid liability for debt your spouse had upon entering marriage.
Other issues that you may have incorporated into a prenup include property, such as real estate, a vehicle, jewelry or artwork, as well as debts from a credit card, student loan or even a mortgage, especially if either you or your partner had a prior marriage. Any issue that has to do with property or financial liability may be relevant to a prenuptial agreement.
Here’s what a prenup cannot do in a divorce
If you are heading to court in Illinois to finalize a divorce, there are certain things to know about prenuptial agreements. For instance, your prenup has no bearing over child support. If you and your spouse have children together, the court may order child support, which no existing terms of agreement in your prenuptial contract can limit.
It’s another story where alimony is concerned
While a prenuptial agreement is irrelevant to child support proceedings in a divorce, the terms of a prenup can, in fact, prevent alimony or spousal support. However, if the judge overseeing your case would determine that the terms of your prenuptial agreement would create undue hardship following your divorce, he or she may order financial support to mitigate the circumstances.
Making sure that your prenup is unambiguous
A prenuptial agreement is legally enforceable provided the parties sign it in accordance with Illinois laws that govern such documents. Various issues may call a contract’s validity into question, such as terminology that is vague or ambiguous. It is difficult for the court to enforce a contract if there are multiple possible interpretations of a specific clause or phrase in the agreement.
Such issues could cause delays or complications in a divorce. This is why it’s always best to ask someone who is well-versed in family law issues to review a prenuptial contract before signing. It’s wise to seek this type of review before filing for a divorce, as well. If necessary, you would be able to amend your prenuptial agreement, if you and your spouse agree to the modification. Doing so could be helpful in cases where legal enforcement of the document would be difficult due to ambiguity.