Prenuptial Agreements

Prenuptial Agreements are also called “ante nuptial agreements” they are also colloquially known as “prenups”. These agreements are entered into before the parties marry. The agreement details how to resolve issues of marital support and property division if the marriage ends in the divorce or death of a spouse. Illinois courts do not allow clauses in prenuptial agreements awarding child-custody to one party or stipulating to a specific amount of child-support.

Prenuptial agreements may be very simple (i.e., just clarifying that property owned before the marriage shall remain non-marital), or provide complex calculation detailing to how marital property shall be apportioned in case of a divorce.

Although prenuptial are often challenged in court, they tend to be enforced. Prenuptial agreements are enforced if the parties understood what they were agreeing to and the agreement is not horribly unfair, and the agreement does not leave one party financially sound while leaving the other party so poor that they become a charge of the state.

It is strongly recommended that each party to a Prenuptial Agreement retain an attorney to represent them in the drafting of the agreement. An attorney serves two purposes: (1) helping draft an agreement that is to your benefit, (2) closing off the “I didn’t know what I was signing” challenge to the prenuptial agreement.

At Fahnert LLC we have many years of experience drafting Prenuptial Agreements.We have represented a broad range of people, including entrepreneurs, doctors, and housewives. So far none of our Prenuptial Agreements have been successfully challenged in court.

It is generally considered unethical to represent a client in both the Prenuptial Agreement and the client’s later divorce because it creates a conflict of interest. The conflict is created because during a divorce it may be in the client’s best interests to challenge the prenuptial agreement. The most common challenges is that the Agreement was drafted improperly and does not represent the parties “real” Agreement. If the same attorney who drafted the Agreement is representing the client  in their divorce the attorney would have to argue that he did not do a good job in the drafting of the Prenuptial Agreement. This would create an obvious conflict of interest between you and your attorney.

Because of the unparalleled power that Prenuptial Agreements can have over a person’s future, we take prenups very seriously. We make sure that you understand every word and every phrase in your agreement. It is not uncommon for us to read the Premarital Agreement many many times. As a result of the extensive care that we take in negotiating and drafting what may be the most important document in your life, our representation in Prenuptial Agreements is often significantly more expensive than the average rate for this work.