Posted on in Postnuptial Agreements

DuPage County family law attorneyPrenuptial agreements are becoming more common in Illinois marriages. However, many people have never heard of a postnuptial agreement. Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are actually quite similar; the main difference is that a prenuptial agreement takes place before a wedding, and a postnuptial agreement happens after the wedding has already happened.

If a couple is already married, it may seem odd to write a postnuptial agreement. But often, engaged couples are so busy planning the wedding that the less exciting financial elements of their relationship take a backseat. A postnuptial agreement is a way to address those issues that may have been overlooked during the honeymoon stage.

What is the Purpose of a Postnuptial Agreement?

Just like a prenup, a postnuptial agreement is a legal contract wherein spouses agree ahead of time on the way certain things will be addressed during the marriage and in the event of a divorce. One way postnuptial agreements do this is by determining what was “premarital property” – assets owned by only one spouse before the marriage – and what is “marital property” – assets acquired by both spouses during the course of the marriage.


Wheaton postnuptial agreement lawyerA prenuptial agreement can be a great option for marrying couples who want to ensure that their financial assets are protected. However, some couples are reluctant to pursue a premarital agreement, possibly because of the awkwardness of thinking about divorce before the marriage even begins, or possibly because they feel they do not have sufficient assets for a prenuptial agreement to be necessary. For some of these couples, it may become apparent after the wedding that an agreement would be beneficial. Fortunately, married spouses have the option of establishing a postnuptial agreement.

What Can an Illinois Postnuptial Agreement Address?

A postnuptial agreement is often beneficial when a couple experiences a significant change in their financial situation during their marriage, perhaps due to an inheritance, a career opportunity, or the establishment of a new business. A postnuptial agreement can address many of the same issues as a prenuptial agreement, including:

  • Each spouse’s property rights during the marriage, including ownership, use, management, and the ability to buy or sell.


Wheaton postnup agreement lawyerMarriage is more than love and romance. The union is comprised of many facets, not the least of which is the financial component. One must remember that above all, marriage is a legal contract, and unless an agreement exists stating otherwise, “What is mine is yours" is the general rule that will be followed. Under Illinois law, any property or debt acquired during a marriage is considered marital property, meaning both parties have an equal claim to these assets in the case of divorce. Although this may seem trivial when everything is sunshine and rainbows during a marriage, it can be extremely detrimental should the union fail. To address these issues, a postnuptial agreement can protect your interests if your relationship encounters difficulty.

A Logical Look to the Future

A prenuptial agreement can document what should happen to assets and debts should the marriage result in divorce. Although the thought of the marriage failing before it even begins can be unromantic, logically, this is an ideal time for the discussion, especially given that approximately 50% of marriages result in divorce. When preparing to get married, you can civilly discuss the intimate details without the hostility associated with separation.

After “I Do,” It Is Not Too Late

For many Americans, a prenuptial agreement is either out of the question or regarded as unnecessary. However, as a marriage progresses, circumstances change that alter the family dynamic. In these cases, it is not too late to create a legal agreement to protect yourself. A postnuptial agreement is fundamentally identical to a prenup, except that it is created after the marriage vows. The contract can include any provisions the couple deems necessary, such as how assets will be divided or whether one spouse will pay spousal maintenance. Some spouses even choose to incorporate a clause regarding what should happen in the event of adultery, something the state does not include in divorce decisions.


Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois marriage laws,Unfortunately, few things in life last forever, marriages included. Because a sizeable number of Illinois marriages end in divorce each year, savvy spouses have attempted to protect themselves and others through the use of prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. Spouses with significant assets going into a marriage may opt for a prenuptial agreement, which is an agreement regarding property division and alimony entered into before the marriage. By contrast, where one spouse obtains a significant amount of assets after the marriage has been solemnized, or where spouses wish to reduce areas of disagreement and contention in the event they do divorce, a postnuptial agreement may be in order.

But simply agreeing with your spouse as to what the two of you would like to happen if a divorce occurs does not mean a valid postnuptial agreement has been entered into. What are the steps then that Illinois couples must take in order to enter into a valid postnuptial agreement?

Requirement One: Full Disclosure - Generally the spouses must provide a full and fair disclosure to one another of their current assets and liabilities. This is to prevent one spouse from taking advantage of the other spouse by making the other spouse believe the deceitful spouse has few assets or little net worth. A postnuptial agreement that does not include full and fair disclosure may be set aside as unconscionable.


Recent Blog Posts



Wheaton Office

400 S. County Farm Road
Suite 200
Wheaton, IL 60187


Oswego Office

123 W. Washington Street
Suite 334
Oswego, IL 60543


Chicago Office

Appointments Available

Contact Us