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Wheaton family law attorneysTalking to your partner about creating a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement may feel uncomfortable or unnecessary. However, considering that arguments about finances are one of the strongest predictors of divorce, there is clear value in openly discussing finances with your spouse and creating a mutually beneficial, legally binding document that addresses each spouse’s financial and property interests. If you chose to forgo a prenuptial agreement before getting married, it is important to know that it is not too late to secure the same benefits through a postnuptial agreement.

Reasons to Pursue a Postnup in Illinois

For many couples, the time before their marriage may seem too early in their lives and relationship to be worried about what happens to their property in the event of a divorce, especially if neither spouse has significant assets to their name. However, much can change throughout the course of the marriage when it comes to the couple’s financial situation and their outlook on life. With these changes often comes a more clear need to work together on a postnuptial agreement.

Perhaps the most common reason to establish a postnup is a large increase in marital or non-marital assets. For example, if you have acquired a business during the marriage, or if a business that you previously owned has increased substantially in value, it is often a good idea to establish in writing the financial interest that each spouse has in the business. Alternatively, if you or your spouse has been the beneficiary of an inheritance, it may be important to definitively establish its status as non-marital property. If you choose, your postnuptial agreement can address all assets belonging to the marital estate and each spouse individually. Doing so can prevent confusion, uncertainty, and conflict if you ultimately have to divide your property in a divorce.

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DuPage County family law attorneysA prenuptial agreement can help both you and your spouse enter your marriage with peace of mind regarding your finances, and if your marriage later ends in divorce, a prenup can make the process much easier by laying out the terms for property division and spousal maintenance. However, in order for the agreement to take effect and be upheld by the court at the time of your divorce, it must be legally valid. There are a few things that you can do when creating your prenup to make sure that this is the case.

Establishing a Legally Valid Prenup in Illinois

As you prepare to draft your prenuptial agreement, consider these suggestions to ensure the agreement is enforceable:

  • Make sure the agreement is written and signed. A valid prenup must exist as a written document. Verbal prenups are not legally binding, nor are written prenups that have not been willingly signed by both partners.
  • Be open and honest with your partner. Concealing or lying about your assets and debts when creating a prenup results in an agreement in which your partner does not have the information necessary to make a decision. If evidence comes to light that you were dishonest with your partner about your property and financial situation, your prenuptial agreement will likely be considered invalid.
  • Aim for an agreement that is fair. Each individual or couple has different priorities when creating a prenup, and what is acceptable to you and your partner may be different from what is acceptable to another couple. However, it is important to ensure that the terms of your agreement would not cause undue hardship to either party in the event of a divorce. If the court determines that an agreement is not equitable, it may decide to award spousal support in a way that differs from what the agreement stipulates.
  • Avoid addressing child-related issues. Illinois law states that a prenuptial agreement cannot negatively impact a child’s right to support, so it is important to ensure that any of your minor children will have access to child support no matter the terms of your agreement. A prenuptial agreement also cannot address parenting time or parental responsibilities, so those matters will need to be addressed separately during the divorce process.
  • Consider updating your agreement over time. An agreement created before your marriage may lose relevance over time as your financial situation changes. If you or your spouse believes that the original agreement is no longer fair or suitable, you have the option to amend it to better reflect your current needs as long as both of you agree to the changes.

Contact a DuPage County Prenuptial Agreement Lawyer

Another way to ensure that your prenup is legally valid is to create it with the assistance of a qualified Wheaton family law attorney. At the Davi Law Group, we will work with you and your partner to help you reach an enforceable agreement that meets your unique needs. Contact us today for a free consultation at 630-504-0176.

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Wheaton prenuptial agreement lawyersAs societal trends evolve, each new generation has its own views and priorities regarding marriage. Millennials, who currently range in age from their mid-twenties to late-thirties, are at a point in their lives when marriage is common, but their approaches to marriage, and often, their approaches to prenuptial agreements, reveal different needs from the generations that came before them.

What Should Millennial Couples Include in a Prenuptial Agreement?

Not every marriage requires a prenuptial agreement, but if you are a Millennial preparing for marriage, you may want to consider an agreement that addresses the following issues:

  • Protection of assets: According to the Pew Research Center, Millennials on average marry for the first time three years later than Generation X and four years later than Baby Boomers. By the time you get married, you may already be established in your career and have significant assets in your name, and a prenuptial agreement can help you define and protect those assets in the event of a divorce in the future.
  • Student loan debt: Many Millennials have tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt, which may be a major factor in their financial situation when they prepare to enter a marriage. If one or both partners have significant debt, you may wish to account for it in your prenuptial agreement to ensure that you will not be responsible for your partner’s debt during your marriage or after a potential divorce.
  • Pet custody: Millennials currently comprise the largest share of pet owners in the United States, and many consider pets to be a member of the family. You may be entering your marriage with a pet of your own, or you may have adopted a pet with your partner before your marriage. In either case, your prenuptial agreement can address who has rights to your pet if you get a divorce.

Many Millennials also choose to cohabit with a romantic partner before getting married, which sometimes involves the sharing of assets and financial responsibilities. You may find it beneficial to establish a cohabitation agreement that addresses what happens if the relationship ends.

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Wheaton prenuptial agreement lawyerWhile a prenuptial agreement may not seem like the most romantic wedding gift, it is likely one of the most valuable. That is because it does not just protect you in the instance of divorce; it can also set the financial tone for your marriage and reduce the risk of arguments over money. With years of experience assisting engaged couples with their prenuptial agreements, our legal professionals have compiled a list of ten considerations to think about before signing your prenup.

Consider This

  1. More Than Just Money: Prenuptial agreements are not just for the rich and famous. Many couples, particularly millennials, use them to protect their intellectual rights to ideas, inventions, and artistic creations. Of course, not all ideas prove to be lucrative, but the point is that a prenuptial agreement protects your rights to these intangible assets (and any proceeds that may come from them).
  2. Timing is Everything: To effectively protect your assets in the event of a divorce, you will want to sign the prenuptial agreement sooner, rather than later. Sign too close to your wedding date and your spouse could have an argument for signing under duress, which would nullify the details of your prenup.
  3. You Need Your Own Counsel: Engaged couples often assume they can use the same attorney when drafting their prenup, but this is not the most beneficial for either you or your spouse. Just as you would have separate lawyers protecting your interests in a divorce, you should have your own attorney there to safeguard those same interests in your prenup.
  4. Premarital Assets Are Usually Off-Limits: When drafting a prenup, recognize that premarital assets are generally considered off-limits. In an Illinois divorce, premarital assets will be given back to the spouse who brought them into the marriage.
  5. Children Are Excluded: You cannot define parameters for children in a prenuptial agreement. The state requires all decisions regarding parenting plans and child support designations to be made in the best interests of the child at the time of the divorce, not at the time of the prenup.
  6. You Can Include Alimony Provisions: If alimony may be an issue in a potential divorce, you can address it in your prenuptial agreement. This can ensure that the receiving spouse is provided for, but that the amount awarded does not exceed what the payor can handle. You can also waive or exclude alimony in your prenuptial agreement, should that be the path you feel is most appropriate.
  7. ’Til Death Do You Part: Prenuptial agreements can even address sole-owned assets in the event of a death. Provisions may be set aside for other family members as well as the spouse.
  8. Honesty is the Best Policy: Be sure to provide full financial disclosure when drafting your prenuptial agreement. Failure to do so could cause it to be overturned in a divorce. Worse yet, you may be penalized for attempting to hide assets.
  9. Fairness is Important: In a divorce, marital assets are divided equitably—or fairly. Your prenuptial agreement should mirror this “fair” standpoint. Otherwise, it could be overthrown during your divorce.
  10. Fair Is Not the Same for Everyone: The term “fair” is subjective. What you deem fair may not seem fair to someone else, your spouse included. As such, it is important to base your prenuptial agreement on the circumstances of your marriage—not what everyone else says is fair.

Contact Our Wheaton Prenuptial Agreement Attorneys

If you are thinking of signing a prenuptial agreement before you marry, contact Davi Law Group, LLC. Our seasoned DuPage County divorce lawyers can protect your interests and help you navigate the process. Schedule your personalized consultation by calling 630-580-6373 today.

 

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Illinois prenuptial agreement attorneysPrenuptial agreements are designed to minimize the risk of complications in a divorce, but this is not their only potential benefit. Used correctly, this legal document can also benefit a couple during their marriage. Get the details on how a prenup can benefit (and possibly even strengthen) your marriage, and discover how a seasoned family law attorney can help to smooth the conversation, should you decide to get one before you wed.

1. Prenups Can Bolster Your Marriage Against Money Issues 

Money is the second leading cause of divorce—and not just because one party has it and is trying to control it. Couples may earn close to the same amount but have wildly different views on how money should be spent or saved. As a result, they may argue incessantly over money, which can erode the foundation of their marriage. Alternatively, their financial goals may not align with one another, so the parties may work against one another instead of together toward a common goal. 

When creating a prenuptial agreement, couples typically discuss their financial habits and goals. This allows the parties to predict and potentially strategize against some of the financial issues that may arise over the course of their marriage. It also requires them to compromise and agree on some common financial goals. All this work, painful and stressful as it might seem, can bolster the marriage against money issues later on down the road. 

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