Prenuptial agreements (also called premarital agreements or "prenups") are legal contracts that are signed by individuals before they get married. The purpose of a prenuptial agreement is to establish the property and financial rights of each spouse in the event of a divorce. Prenuptial agreements can help protect a person’s assets and property and may also help determine how spousal support or alimony is awarded. Prenups can define what property is considered marital and what is separate.
It can be uncomfortable to bring up the subject of prenups with a person’s soon-to-be-spouse. No one wants to believe that their marriage will end, but sadly, many do. It is important to plan for the worst case scenario even if the couple currently has a strong relationship. As the saying goes, it is better to be safe rather than sorry.
Who Needs a Prenuptial Agreement?
Prenuptial agreements can protect one spouse from assuming the debts of the other, protect an individual’s personal business, stipulate how property is distributed to heirs after a death, streamline property division, and clarify the financial responsibilities of each spouse. Prenuptial agreements cannot, however, address issues of child custody or child support. In the event of a divorce, prenuptial agreements can save both spouses from excessive negotiations and tension. Those people in certain circumstances are strongly encouraged to sign a prenuptial agreement. A prenup may be right for you if you:
- Own your own business;
- Have substantially more or substantially less income than your future spouse;
- Have been married before;
- Have children from a previous marriage;
- Want to protect your financial interests in the event of divorce;
- Do not work outside the home or your spouse does not work outside the home;
- Want to protect a gift or inheritance;
- Want to create a firm foundation for an estate plan;
- Are older and therefore more well-established financially; or
- Are bringing significant financial assets to the marriage.
If any of these circumstances apply to you or your future spouse, a prenuptial agreement may be beneficial.
If you are planning to marry and want to learn more about prenuptial agreements, the next step is to consult a knowledgeable attorney. Our passionate DuPage County family lawyers are ready and willing to work with you and help you and your partner explore your options. Contact our offices today to set up an initial consultation.