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IL divorce lawyerThere are many reasons why a couple may want to create a prenuptial agreement before they get married. If either party owns significant assets, or if one party earns a higher income, they may want to take steps to protect themselves financially in the case of a divorce. A prenup may also be used to ensure that children from a previous relationship will have the financial resources they need. This type of agreement can help a couple avoid uncertainty in the future, and by making decisions about how matters will be handled if they choose to get a divorce, they may be able to minimize potential conflict. For those who are considering a prenup, it is important to understand what types of decisions an agreement can and cannot include.

Issues That Can Be Addressed in a Prenup

A prenuptial agreement will generally be limited to addressing issues related to a couple’s property and finances. The terms of a prenup may include:

  • Each party’s rights and obligations regarding the property they own together or separately. This may include details about a person’s rights to buy, sell, use, manage, control, or dispose of different types of assets, such as financial accounts, real estate property, vehicles, or other valuable items.
  • Whether different assets are considered marital or separate property. Separate property generally includes any assets owned by either party before getting married, and a spouse will be able to retain ownership of these assets if their marriage ends in divorce. Marital property must be divided between spouses in the case of divorce.
  • Decisions about how property will be divided in a divorce. A couple may agree on how property division will be handled, removing uncertainty about ownership of different types of assets and avoiding conflict about these issues.
  • Modification or elimination of spousal support. During a divorce, one spouse may ask for financial support from the other spouse. To avoid conflict about this issue, spouses may use a prenup to decide the circumstances when spousal maintenance will or will not be paid or to specify the amount and duration of spousal support payments.

A prenuptial agreement may also address any other issues that a couple believes are relevant, as long as these terms do not violate the law or go against public policy. However, a prenup generally cannot make decisions about the custody of a couple’s children, since these issues will be decided based on what is in the best interests of the children rather than the wishes of the parents. A prenup also cannot include any terms that would affect a child’s right to receive child support that will provide for their ongoing needs.

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IL divorce lawyerPrenuptial agreements have always had some sort of societal taboo on them, but in recent years, society’s opinion of prenuptial agreements, or prenups for short, has evolved and more people have accepted their role. A prenuptial agreement is a document that both people sign before they get married that spells out the terms of their divorce if they were to ever get one. As a legal agreement, your prenuptial agreement is subject to certain standards and rules in order to be enforceable. If the agreement violates any of those standards or rules, those sections may be invalidated, if not the entire agreement. If you are thinking about getting a prenuptial agreement, it is important to make sure your agreement follows the rules, so it will be enforceable if you ever need to use it.

Not Having Full Financial Disclosure From Both Spouses

Before you sign a prenuptial agreement, both you and your spouse are supposed to disclose all of your financial information. This includes any property that you own, inheritances you expect to receive, and any liabilities you may have, such as student loans or credit card debt. Without full disclosure, the argument could be made that you did not fully understand what you were agreeing to when you signed the agreement.

Making the Agreement Extremely One-Sided

Another issue that stems from the previous issue is having an “unconscionable” agreement. While there is no legal definition of “unconscionable” in Illinois, it typically means extremely unfair or heavily favoring one spouse over the other.

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When people get married, the traditional vows state that the union is ‘til death do us part. Unfortunately, not all couples live happily ever after. Whether the relationship fails due to outside influences or addictions, or the partners simply grow apart, a divorce may be the best option for everyone involved. During the divorce process in Illinois, a couple must decide how to divide their property and assets. This may be especially important if there is a family-owned business or other high-net-worth assets at stake. If the couple had a prenuptial agreement (prenup) in place, these determinations may already be made, making the marriage dissolution process much easier and faster. However, there are certain factors that can make a prenuptial agreement invalid in Illinois, so it is important to avoid making a mistake when creating this legal document.

Illinois Uniform Premarital Agreement Act

The Illinois Uniform Premarital Agreement Act governs all prenuptial agreements. In order to be legally binding, a prenup must be put in writing and signed by both spouses. If a couple decides not to get married, any premarital agreement they made is voided. Prior to signing a prenup, both parties should disclose all of their financial information to each other, including their income, any property they own, and outstanding debts.

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It may be awkward to bring up the possibility of a prenuptial agreement with your partner, as it can be uncomfortable to think about divorce before the marriage even begins. However, a prenuptial agreement can be more than just a safeguard for your assets in the event of a divorce. It can also be an opportunity for you and your spouse to have an open discussion about your finances and help you remain aware of each other’s needs and priorities throughout your marriage.

Items to Address in a Prenuptial Agreement

Couples can choose to address a variety of issues in their discussions and prenuptial agreements, primarily related to their financial and property interests. Some important topics include:

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DuPage County family law attorneysMany people move on to have happy and healthy relationships after a divorce. Some even remarry, perhaps for the last time. However, the divorce rate for second and third marriages is substantially higher than the rate of divorce for first marriages. Furthermore, there are some challenges, both in terms of money and relationships, that couples may face in a subsequent marriage. Some can be mitigated with frank and honest discussions, but others may require legal documentation. Learn more about how a prenuptial agreement can mitigate against issues in your second marriage, and how an experienced attorney can help.

Examining the Challenges of Subsequent Marriages

When a divorced individual remarries, they may lose out on certain benefits from their first marriage, such as alimony or social security benefits. Such losses are damaging enough, in and of themselves, but when children from a previous marriage are added into the mix, things can become extremely complicated. For example, if each party has their own assets from before the marriage and the items then are co-mingled during the union, children may stand to lose an inheritance, educational fund, or another asset if their parent and step-parent divorce.

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