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Prenuptial Agreements

 Posted on June 21, 2012 in Divorce

A prenuptial agreement is a written contract between two people, who are about to marry, where both parties agree to the ownership and division of assets, property and future earnings in the event the marriage ends.  The Illinois Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (750 ILCS 10/) is a very concise law that governs prenuptial agreements for the state's residents.

There are certain guidelines that the law requires in order to ensure that the prenup is valid. The agreement must be a written one; the courts do not recognize oral agreements. It must also be notarized. The agreement must also be entered into voluntarily by both parties. If it is later proven that either party was forced to enter into the agreement, or did so under duress or pressure, the courts can ignore the agreement when deciding the division of the marital estate. The agreement must also be fair to both parties and not leave either one destitute.

Not having a prenuptial agreement can prove to be quite costly, especially if one the assets and earnings of one of the spouses is considerably higher than the other. A family law or divorce lawyer can help you create a prenuptial agreement that fits your family. Celebrity couples are prime examples of this scenario. And when the marriage ends with no prenup in place, the settlement amounts can go into hundreds of millions of dollars.

The Chive reports the ten most expensive celebrity divorces ever as follows:

  • James Cameron and Linda Hamilton - Four years of marriage and one daughter cost Cameron $50 million.
  • Kevin Costner and Cindy Silva - The price of sixteen years of marriage and three children for Costner was $80 million.
  • Harrison Ford and Melissa Mathison - After 21 years together, Ford paid his wife an $85 million settlement.
  • Madonna and Guy Ritchie - Seven years and two children earned Madonna a $92 million settlement.
  • Steven Spielberg and Amy Irving - Four years and one son cost the director $100 million settlement to dissolve his marriage.
  • Tiger Woods and Elin Nordergren - Nordergren received $100 million divorce settlement from Woods for their six year marriage, which produced two children.
  • Greg Norman and Laura Norman - Twenty-seven years and two children cost golfer Norman $105 million.
  • Neil Diamond and Marcia Murphey - Murphey received $150 million for her 25 years as Mrs. Diamond.
  • Michael Jordan and Juanita Jordan -Jordanpaid his wife $168 million to dissolve their seventeen marriage. The couple has three children together.
  • Mel Gibson and Robyn Gibson - The Gibsons began dating in 1970, married in 1980 and separated in 2006. Three years later, after thirty-one years and seven children, Gibson was ordered to pay Robyn Gibson $425 million.

If you are making plans to marry, you may want to consider a pre-nuptial agreement. Consult with an experienced Wheaton, Illinois attorney to ensure that your assets will be protected in the event that marriage doesn't work out.

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