Yes, those are the situations where there’s all kind of potential landmines. You can talk about ownership of the home that the parties are going to occupy, you can talk about payment of mortgage, and what about necessary repairs in the future? Who’s going to pay the real estate taxes? Who’s going to benefit from the appreciation in the value of the house? Who’s going to benefit from the reduction in principle on the existing mortgage?
Those are all things that can be resolved in advance of the marriage at a time that we have a good working relationship between these parties. You can essentially set up an estate plan in the prenup. If each side has children from a prior relationship, will the husband’s children with somebody else going to inherit the wife’s share of the estate? Are they going to inherit from the wife’s nonmarital estate? Are they going to only inherit from property that’s accumulated during the marriage? There are all kinds of issues that arise when there’s children from prior relationships on each side, and it makes a lot of sense to do that in advance of entering into the marriage.
Chuck Roberts is family lawyer at Momkus McCluskey Roberts, LLC, one of the largest law firms in DuPage County, Illinois.