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Mistakes to Avoid When Creating a Prenuptial AgreementThe purpose of a prenuptial agreement is to save you time and stress in the event that you divorce. Mistakes in your agreement can make the divorce process more complicated instead. Imagine your frustration if you learn that the agreement is unenforceable because of the way you created it or a provision in it. You may end up renegotiating your division of property and spousal maintenance. A fully enforceable agreement could be just as frustrating to you if you realize that it leaves you at a disadvantage. You would need a legal reason to discard a valid contract. Despite the possible problems, there are many couples who benefit from having a prenuptial agreement when they divorce. There are four mistakes that you should avoid when creating an agreement:

  1. Do Not Rush: You should give yourself weeks to months to create your prenuptial agreement. You need time to consider what you want from the agreement and to examine it before you approve it. You may feel tempted to hurry through the process because the idea of getting divorced makes you uncomfortable. However, you will wish you had taken the time to understand the agreement if you end up using it.
  2. Do Not Withhold Information: A prenuptial agreement can be invalid if one of the parties lied about or withheld financial information that would have changed the agreement. This is usually a valuable premarital property that someone hid. If your future spouse knew about the property, he or she may have asked for a greater share of marital assets. Parties can also withhold information about debts that could become a marital obligation in a divorce.
  3. Do Not Use the Same Lawyer: At first glance, it may seem practical to share one family law attorney when creating a prenuptial agreement. You are on good terms with each other and share the same goals. However, you each need your own attorney to look at the agreement and make sure that it is fair to you. You should choose your own attorney to ensure that he or she is independent of your partner.
  4. Do Not Sign Anything You Are Uncomfortable With: You are not obligated to approve a prenuptial agreement before your marriage. If something in the agreement seems wrong or confusing, ask your attorney to explain it to you. Your future spouse is not allowed to pressure you into signing, such as presenting an agreement the day before your wedding. Creating an agreement under duress would make it invalid.

Contact a Naperville Family Law Attorney

A prenuptial agreement is a complicated document, much like a divorce agreement. You need an experienced DuPage County family law attorney at Calabrese Associates, P.C., to create a valid agreement that is fair to you. To schedule a consultation, call 630-393-3111.

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Remembering a Prenuptial Agreement for Your Next RelationshipGoing through a divorce is when you are most likely to realize how useful a prenuptial agreement can be. The agreement can save time on the negotiation of the division of properties and spousal maintenance. Unfortunately, it is too late to create a prenuptial agreement or even a postnuptial agreement if your divorce has already started. You should remember this lesson when you enter your next major relationship that involves sharing assets with your partner. Creating a prenuptial or co-tenancy agreement is a practical step towards protecting individual assets if you have previously divorced.

Second Marriage

There may be several reasons why you did not create a prenuptial agreement before your first marriage:

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Reasons Your Prenuptial Agreement May Need an UpdateCreating a prenuptial agreement is helpful in settling financial issues that will come up during a divorce. The agreement lays out a plan for how premarital properties will be treated and what level of spousal maintenance will be provided. However, spouses should consider it a living document that may need to be updated. Financial circumstances in the marriage can change in ways that make the agreement obsolete or unfair to one party. It will be easier for both parties to renegotiate the prenuptial agreement while still married than during the divorce.

Spousal Maintenance

Parties in a prenuptial agreement may choose to establish the value and duration of spousal support payments after divorce, especially when one party has a significantly greater income than the other. However, the balance of financial power can change in a marriage: 

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Seven Tips for Discussing a Prenuptial Agreement With Your Future SpouseCreating a prenuptial agreement can be a pragmatic step for a marrying couple. Marriages can end prematurely, either due to divorce or sudden death. A prenuptial agreement allows spouses to determine:

  • How property and debt will be divided;
  • Whether one spouse needs to pay alimony; and
  • Other matters that are not related to children.

You may see the logic in suggesting a prenuptial agreement, but discussing it can be emotionally awkward. How do you talk to your future spouse about being prepared in case your marriage fails? There are tactful and sensitive ways to start the conversation.

  1. Pick the Right Time: Plan to first mention getting a prenuptial agreement when you know you will both be calm and capable of having a long discussion. If your fiancé is tired or in a bad mood, the discussion is more likely to devolve into an argument.
  2. Broach the Topic Gently: Do not start with a demanding statement, such as “I want to get a prenup.” Frame the topic as a practical conversation about the benefits of having an agreement.
  3. Be Honest: Explain the reasons you want to have a prenuptial agreement. If you are concerned about the financial disparity between you and your future spouse, be upfront about it. Your future spouse is less likely to agree if he or she is wondering about your motives.
  4. Be Reassuring: Let your fiancé know that you are not suggesting a prenuptial agreement because you expect to get divorced. Tell him or her that the agreement is a practical document, similar to a will, that can protect both of you.
  5. Engage in a Conversation: Encourage your fiancé to participate in the discussion with his or her thoughts, questions and concerns. You may have a speech planned about why you want a prenuptial agreement, but be willing to stop talking and listen to your fiancé. If your fiancé is not talking, you may need to be the one asking questions to keep him or her engaged.
  6. Keep Calm: Try not to let your emotions lead the conversation. If you become angry, you cannot effectively discuss the topic, and your fiancé may feel poisoned to the idea of getting a prenuptial agreement.
  7. Know When to Stop: Be prepared to have multiple conversations about getting a prenuptial agreement. If you think the discussion is becoming an argument, it may be best to pause and start the discussion again at a future date.

Getting a Prenup

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