Wheaton IL prenuptial agreement lawyerWhile it has become more common to have them, the truth is that not every couple needs a prenuptial agreement—also referred to as a prenup—at least not in Illinois. Some couples or individual partners insist, but in many cases, there is not enough between the two people to warrant a careful, item-by-item disposition, which is often what a prenuptial agreement turns out to be. However, a prenup can be beneficial under some circumstances, and it is a good idea to consider whether it might be right for your marriage. 

Do You Have Extensive Assets?

As one might imagine, couples with significant assets individually or between them will benefit from a prenuptial agreement in multiple ways. Perhaps the most common is in dealing with property division issues during divorce proceedings. Illinois adheres to the theory of equitable distribution, meaning that all marital property is divided in the most equitable or fair way possible, rather than giving each spouse half, as might happen in a community property state. A prenuptial agreement is one of the easiest and most common ways to clarify whose assets are whose before the marriage, meaning that all the specified assets can be classed as non-marital property, and thus likely not subject to division.

Another way prenups can help those with extensive holdings is to provide a way to track assets that become commingled with marital property. If you had a certain sum of money before the marriage, listing it in a prenup may help you retain it in divorce, even if it would normally be considered marital property as a result of commingling or use to benefit the marriage. Some couples are agreeable to such assets becoming marital property, but if you would rather retain them, mentioning them in a prenup may be enough to accomplish that goal. The divorce court does have the discretion to deny that provision if it puts your partner at an undue disadvantage, however.

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prenuptial agreement, Wheaton family lawyers Prenuptial agreements, also called premarital agreements or “prenups,” are beneficial legal tools couples can use to manage and protect assets. Although they are often associated with celebrity marriages, prenups are not only for the rich and famous. Anyone can benefit from the protections offered through this valuable legal tool, but those who choose to create a prenup must be sure to do it correctly. It is not uncommon for a couple to think that they have a legally-binding prenuptial agreement only to discover it is unenforceable during a divorce. There are several circumstances which can invalidate a prenuptial agreement.

Prenups Must Meet Certain Criteria to Be Legally-Binding

You may remember the outrageous comedy movie Liar Liar. In the film, Jim Carrey’s character is a divorce attorney helping a less-than-ethical client divorce her husband. Although the movie is filled with exaggerations and inaccuracies, the clip in which the client’s prenuptial agreement is found to be invalid in court is fairly realistic. The client had entered into a prenuptial agreement with her husband upon getting married, but it was discovered that she was only seventeen-years-old when she signed it. Minors cannot enter into legally-enforceable contracts such as a prenuptial agreement. So, if one or both of the individuals were under age 18 upon signing the prenuptial agreement, it will not be valid.

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prenuptial agreement, DuPage County family law attorneyThere was a time when many thought prenuptial agreements were only for rich celebrities or those who did not have faith in the longevity of their marriage. Today, people realize that prenuptial agreements are not only vital assets in the unfortunate event that a couple splits up or a spouse passes away, but are also tools which can help married couples manage their financial responsibilities while they are still married as well. When creating a prenuptial agreement, one must be careful to draft it in such a way that it holds up in court. Making certain mistakes within a prenuptial agreement can cause it to be considered invalid. In this case, the mandates set forth in the document will not be followed and the document will have been created in vain.

Dishonesty Regarding Assets

One of the major requirements of a valid prenuptial agreement is total transparency with regard to all assets, properties and debts. If a person enters into a prenuptial agreement but does not disclose all of his or her financial information or attempts to hide assets, the document may become useless. If a couple is divorcing and one spouse proves that the other was fraudulent in his or her financial reporting, the prenuptial agreement cannot be used to make decisions regarding spousal maintenance, property division, or family-owned businesses.

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prenuptial agreement, DuPage County family law attorneyPrenuptial 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?

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prenuptial agreement, Wheaton family lawyerIn recent years, an increasing number of couples have chosen to execute prenuptial agreements, or prenups, before their marriages. There are many different reasons for you and your potential spouse to consider a prenup, but all such agreements have the potential to be declared invalid if they are not drafted properly. If you want to be certain that your prenuptial agreement will pass legal muster, there are some things you should know.

Only Certain Issues Can Be Discussed

The major issue that many couples encounter with prenups is trying to address concerns that, by law, cannot be settled until they become relevant, with child support and parenting time being the most common. Illinois prenups are governed by the Illinois Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (UPAA), and it contains a specific list of items about which the parties may contract, including the right to dispose of assets, the right to continue certain arrangements from the agreement in a will or trust, and “any other matter … not in violation of public policy.” Child support is perhaps the most paramount of these.

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