Do You Need a Prenuptial Agreement?
A prenuptial agreement, known colloquially as a “prenup”, is a legal contract between a couple before they marry. In Illinois, prenuptial agreements are governed by The Illinois Uniform Premarital Agreement Act.
A prenuptial agreement will typically set up how current and future assets will be divided in the case of a divorce. Sometimes prenuptial agreements will set up penalties and bonuses to encourage or discourage certain behavior. For example, some prenuptial agreements will include language where one person will have to pay more to the other spouse if he or she performs or fails to perform a certain action.
Conversely, some prenuptial agreements will allocate more assets to a spouse after certain milestones, like having a child or after a certain number of years of marriage. If you are thinking about a prenuptial agreement it is crucial that you talk to an experienced family law attorney who can help you examine your specific situation. However, there are some factors that you may want to consider when you are considering a prenup.
Many individuals typically hear about prenuptial agreements between two high-net worth spouses, and it is true that a prenuptial agreement may be especially appropriate if you and your spouse are going into the marriage with a significant amount of assets. Conversely, the cost of a prenuptial agreement, which Fox Business estimates to be about $2,000 for a couple with relatively straightforward finances, may make it prohibitive for some couples who cannot afford the fees. However, paying legal fees now can save legal fees later if there is a divorce. A divorce can be notoriously expensive and having a prenuptial agreement can make things much simpler.
Further, prenuptial agreements can also help to protect a lower-earning spouse who is going into a marriage with someone who has more assets, especially if the lower earning spouse will be making sacrifices that lower his or her earning power. For example, if the plan is for one spouse to quit his or her job and stay home to raise children, a prenup can give that person assurance that if there is a divorce, then he or she will walk away with enough assets to make up for that economic sacrifice.
Agreements Before Marriage
If you and your future spouse have made any verbal agreements before the marriage, you will want to incorporate them into a prenuptial agreement to make sure that they are binding. Keep in mind that there are some things that you cannot include, such as illegal agreements, agreements against public policy, or child custody.
Along with the legal considerations, it is also important to consider the interpersonal consequences of a prenuptial agreement. The couple may not be interested in signing one, but sometimes outside pressure from family members can push couples into considering one. As prenuptial agreements have become more common, there is less offense taken to the suggestion of one, but everyone is different and you will want to take that into account.
Let Us Assist You Today
If you have any questions or are considering a prenuptial agreement, it is important that you talk with a skilled attorney to discuss your personal situation and the legal and interpersonal consequences. Our experienced DuPage County matrimonial lawyers at Davi Law Group, LLC can help answer your questions and help you prepare your agreement.