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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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Posted on in Divorce

DuPage County property division attorneys, family heirloomsDividing property can be a very stressful part of a divorce. There may be some items of sentimental value to you that you want to keep, and there are certain steps you can take to make sure that you hold on to property that is important to you in case of a divorce. If you are considering divorce and want to protect certain property, you should contact a skilled property division attorney to find out the best way to make sure your assets are protected in a divorce.

Prenuptial Agreement

One of the best ways to make sure that property with sentimental value is protected in the event of a divorce is to include it in a prenuptial agreement. If you are already married, you can draw up a postnuptial agreement that addresses the property for which you are concerned. However, even if you do not have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, there are other ways to protect the property.

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effectiveness of a prenuptial agreementThese days, many people contemplating marriage consider entering into a prenuptial agreement. This legal document was traditionally used almost exclusively by the very wealthy in order to protect their assets in the event of divorce. However, it is increasing in popularity among people with average income today in order to set expectations and come to an agreement on certain terms in the event of divorce long before a marriage ever breaks down.

While such a conversation may be uncomfortable for a couple to have as they are planning to spend their lives together, the taboo that used to be associated with entering into a prenuptial agreement may have faded somewhat in recent years. This is good news for those who may be interested in entering into such an agreement, but one question remains: how effective is the document in successfully determining each spouse’s rights in the event of divorce and being held valid in the face of challenges?

Safety of a Prenup

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cheating, infidelity, divorce, lawyer, attorney, DuPage CountyIt seems cheating is a relatively prevalent topic among couples, especially for those who are experiencing marital trouble. Different circumstances within a relationship can lead to infidelity, and cheating does not necessarily equate to the end of a relationship. Once cheating occurs, the partner that was cheated on may wonder how, or if, the situation could have been prevented entirely. While not every relationship pitfall can always be avoided, a recent article discusses a new trend that many couples are employing in an attempt to curb poor behavior, and to plan for the outcome of such an incident if it does occur.

 Lifestyle Clauses A new trend in the legal world involves adding what is known as a lifestyle clause to pre- or postnuptial agreements. These clauses typically contain guidelines for spouses to follow within their marriage. Beyond the general purpose pre- and postnuptial agreements serve regarding finances, lifestyle clauses address non-financial aspects of marriage and can cover any variety of topics. While the clauses themselves focus on behavior requirements within a marriage and do not deal directly with finances, there are often financial penalties for violating them. One of the most popular topics covered by lifestyle clauses is infidelity. Beyond emotional reasons, there are practicals reasons for including such a clause into an agreement as well. Some states have changed their divorce laws to no longer include fault, such as adultery, as a factor in calculating alimony payments and in dividing assets. Even though adultery can be grounds for a fault-based divorce in these states, the unfaithful spouse will not typically suffer financial consequences for cheating. It is important to note that any lifestyle clauses contained within an agreement must be consistent with state law regarding pre- and postnuptial agreements.  Issues Brought up by Lifestyle Clauses Some issues to consider in enforcing a lifestyle clause include how to define cheating and to what degree such behavior has to be proven. Different people may consider different behavior as infidelity. Sexual intercourse is the most obvious, but what what about sexual behavior that falls short of intercourse? What about suggestive e-mails or texts? These are issues that could potentially be addressed within a lifestyle clause, but not every situation can be anticipated.  Court Rulings on Infidelity Clauses Challenges to infidelity clauses in court have produced mixed results. Some state laws that support no-fault divorce find such clauses contrary to public policy. Other states where infidelity laws are enforceable will uphold the clause as long as the cheating can be proven and the clause does not otherwise violate state law. The problem lies with being able to prove infidelity. In most instances, hard proof of such conduct simply does not exist, or is exceedingly difficult to produce. On the other hand, the effectiveness of infidelity clauses is apparent when a cheating spouse does not want details of an affair discussed in court.  Can the Clause Prevent Cheating? Whether employing the use of such a clause in an agreement actually deters cheating is difficult to say with certainty. However, it is possible. It is more likely that the existence of such a clause will start a discussion about the issue between the parties regarding their feelings, needs, and expectations about the relationship. In short, the clause can be beneficial to the couple even if it would ultimately be unenforceable in court. It is imperative that any agreement contain a severability clause in order to uphold the remainder of an agreement in the event the court rules one provision is invalid.  Divorce Attorney If you are contemplating marriage and are curious how a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement may benefit you, an experienced family law attorney in Illinois may be able to assist you. The experienced lawyers at Davi Law Group, LLC are prepared to discuss your case with you. Feel free to contact us today to schedule a consultation.
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