As a newly engaged person, you may have a million thoughts running through your head. Some of these thoughts may be related to a prenuptial agreement. Prenuptial agreements or “prenups” are legal documents that protect spouses’ financial interests in the event of death or divorce. However, there are many myths and misunderstandings associated with these essential legal documents. Read on to learn about the basics of signing a prenup in Illinois.
What Is the Purpose of a Prenup?
If your soon-to-be spouse has asked you to consider signing a prenup, your first though is probably, “Why?” Prenuptial agreements have been increasing in popularity recently for a variety of reasons. One reason is that people are simply more realistic about marriage and divorce. Even the most loving couple may eventually break up. The purpose of a prenuptial agreement is to prepare for this possibility.
How Does a Prenup Benefit Spouses?
Prenuptial agreements can accomplish many different goals. During divorce, any property or debt acquired by either spouse during the marriage is marital property subject to division. In a prenup, spouses can identify what property or debt is marital and what is non-marital. For example, you can characterize a small business as non-marital property belonging to only one spouse to shield it from division during divorce. Prenups can also address spousal maintenance concerns. For example, a stay-at-home mother may use a prenup to ensure she will still have access to financial support should the marriage end.
Prenups are also useful estate planning tools. For example, you can specify spouses’ rights to life insurance benefits or identify a family heirloom as separate property to ensure it stays in the family.
Even if the couple stays together forever, the act of drafting a prenuptial agreement itself is beneficial. Writing a prenuptial agreement forces the couple to have a candid discussion about finances. This can help them avoid disagreements or misunderstandings about financial concerns during their marriage.
What Are the Requirements for Prenuptial Agreements in Illinois?
Prenuptial agreements are useless unless they are legally enforceable. In Illinois, prenuptial agreements must meet certain criteria. Prenups must be:
- In writing – Verbal agreements are not legally binding.
- Agreed to by both spouses – Spouses must read, understand, and fully consent to the prenup. A spouse may not be forced or coerced into signing a prenup.
- Reasonably fair – Illinois law prohibits provisions that are “unconscionable” or extremely biased to one party.
Contact a Joliet Prenuptial Agreement Lawyer
If you are getting married, consider signing a prenuptial agreement to ensure your rights are protected. For help drafting a strong prenup that meets Illinois requirements, contact the Will County family law attorneys at The Foray Firm. Call 312-702-1293 for a confidential consultation.