Tag Archives: prenuptial agreement

The Importance of Prenuptial Agreements

prenuptial agreement, Wheaton family law attorneyBy now, you may have heard that actress Amber Heard is filing for divorce from actor Johnny Depp after just 18 months of marriage. Divorce filings are so common in Hollywood that, often, these cases barely warrant a mention, but one twist in this case is worth pointing out: the couple apparently did not have a prenuptial agreement.

That might not be a big deal if the couple had similar net worths, but in this case, Depp is estimated to be worth $400 million, while Heard’s net worth is thought to be around $9 million. Under California law, Heard is unlikely to wind up with hundreds of millions of dollars from the divorce settlement, but she could be entitled to a good amount of money that Depp made during the period they were married. Conceivably, she could receive tens of millions of dollars just for being married to Depp for less than two years. If nothing else, it shows the importance for high-net worth individuals of getting a prenuptial agreement before walking down the aisle.

Prenuptial Agreements in Illinois

Realistically, very few people make as much money as Johnny Depp, but even if you have a relatively low net worth, you should consider a prenuptial agreement in case of a divorce. No one wants to think about a divorce when they are getting married, but the fact is that it is always a possibility someday, no matter how much you care about each other. Additionally, the prenuptial agreement is really a way to protect the rights of both parties to the marriage.

In Illinois, prenuptial agreements can be used to state which spouse owns which assets and how they will be distributed in the event that either party seeks a dissolution of the marriage. This agreement can protect inheritances and interests in a business, and provide how much, if at all, one spouse is expected to contribute toward alimony.

While some people can be hesitant to sign a prenuptial agreement, or even bring it up with their future spouse, one thing to remember is that Illinois law requires that these agreements be “fair and reasonable,” meaning that neither spouse will really be disadvantaged by signing the agreement. A court simply will not enforce it if it is too one-sided.

Finally, keep in mind that one thing a prenuptial agreement can never decide is child custody (parental responsibilities) or child support. If you and your spouse have children while married, these issues will have to be decided by a court in the course of divorce proceedings.

Speak With an Experienced Illinois Family Law Attorney

You do not need to be a famous millionaire to get a prenuptial agreement. These agreements can be extremely valuable even if you and your future spouse just have a few assets. Having a prenuptial agreement does not mean that you automatically are planning to get a divorce someday; it is more like an insurance policy in case something goes wrong. For a free consultation, contact a DuPage County family law attorney online today and let us assist you with your case.





The Legal Aspects of Marriage in Illinois

marriage, Illinois divorce, Wheaton divorce attorneyMarriage represents that wonderful time when you make a commitment to another person to hopefully spend the rest of your lives together. There is a lot to plan with a wedding, like the venue, the food, and the guest list. In the middle of all this planning, it is easy to forget that marriage is actually a legal agreement that changes the rights and obligations that you and your spouse have to each other.

Getting a Marriage License in Illinois

A religious ceremony alone does not give a marriage legal recognition in the state of Illinois. The couple also must go to their local county clerk’s office to apply for a marriage license. To obtain a marriage license, you must show a valid ID, identify your parents, state whether you have previously been married and, if so, how that marriage ended, and state whether you are related to each other and, if so, how.

After paying a fee, you will then be issued marriage certificate form and a marriage license and that becomes effective the next day (meaning you cannot get married that day). You then have 60 days to have the marriage solemnized. Once the marriage is solemnized, you must return the certificate to the court within 10 days for it to be legally recognized by the state of Illinois.

The Legal Effects of Marriage

Marriage has several legal benefits. Once you are legally married, you can file your income taxes jointly, which may greatly reduce your annual tax bill. If one spouse is not a U.S. citizen, marriage grants them residency and speeds up the process of citizenship. Being legally married also simplifies estate planning, as by law your spouse is now entitled to many of your assets. Specifically leaving other assets to them can help avoid estate taxes.

Do You Need a Prenuptial Agreement?

While many couples are hesitant to broach the topic, planning for the wedding is actually the ideal time to talk about a prenuptial agreement. No one gets married thinking that they will get divorced, but in a worst-case scenario, these agreements can clearly identify the rights of the parties and how any assets will be distributed. Prenuptial agreements can be ideal vehicles for protecting business interests, inheritances, or large assets obtained before the marriage. They can also clearly identify whether spousal maintenance will be paid following a divorce. It is important to realize that, contrary to popular belief, courts will not enforce a prenuptial agreement if it is exceedingly unfair to either spouse.

Contact an Experienced Illinois Family Law Attorney

Getting married is a wonderful milestone in your life, but in the excitement of planning the ceremony and reception, it can be easy to forget about how your legal relationship also changes after marriage. Depending on your circumstances, you may want to consider a prenuptial agreement, or have questions about how marriage could affect your estate planning. Contact our office today to speak with one of our compassionate DuPage County family law attorneys about your legal needs.




The Importance of Financial Disclosures to Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois child custody lawyer,As unromantic as it may sound, a marriage can be compared to a contract, with two people coming together and agreeing to form a partnership under certain terms. In some cases, when couples are contemplating marriage and even after they are married, they may enter into additional agreements to ensure their financial interests are secure in the event of a divorce. There are many reasons why couples may choose to enter into these prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, and there are numerous other concerns that they have to keep in mind when executing them. One important aspect of both kinds of agreements is the legal need for all parties to be aware of the assets at stake.

Financial disclosures are a key requirement in determining the enforceability of a prenuptial agreement. One of the elements a court looks at in determining that the contract is enforceable is if the party challenging the agreement was provided with a fair and reasonable disclosure of the other party’s assets or financial obligations. While there may later be a disagreement as to what constitutes a fair and reasonable disclosure, it is safe to say a complete disclosure of all assets owned, even partial interests, and all debt owed would satisfy this requirement. Often, the financial disclosure submitted by each party is attached to the prenuptial agreement as an exhibit or addendum to avoid questions of what was and what was not disclosed later on.

With postnuptial agreements, financial disclosure can be just as important. A couple that agrees to sign away rights to property or other assets after they are already married should not assume that they know what they own individually or jointly. If one person suggests a postnuptial agreement, each party should seek a complete financial disclosure of all assets, even those that may be considered premarital property. Having an accurate picture of all the assets and debts at play can affect the negotiations that take place. In agreeing to distribute property a certain way after the marriage, parties should also remember that a court would still look to see if the agreement was unconscionable. If either party fraudulently misrepresents their financial assets, shields marital assets, or misrepresents their intentions in order to get the other to agree to an unequal financial distribution, a court is likely to find the agreement unconscionable.

In signing either agreement, both parties need to consult with an attorney and any financial advisors necessary to make a knowledgeable and voluntary decision.

Contact an Experienced Family Law Attorney

If you are considering entering into a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement and would like to find out how either agreement may affect your rights, contact our dedicated DuPage County family law attorneys to learn how we can be of assistance in your case.