Prenup Agreements in Illinois—Everything You Need to Know

If you’re in the process of getting married and your future spouse has substantial assets to protect, you may be considering a prenuptial agreement.  But what are these agreements? What makes them so helpful, and how can they protect your marriage?

Here’s everything you need to know about prenups in Illinois before signing one or if your partner brings up the idea with you.

What Is a Prenuptial Agreement?

A prenuptial agreement is a contract entered into by an unmarried couple before marriage. These agreements are utilized when one of the parties has assets they want to protect or is concerned about property division in the event of a divorce.

In Illinois, prenuptial agreements are legal and enforceable if entered voluntarily and with full disclosure of financial information by both parties.

What Can Be Included or Excluded

A prenuptial agreement should outline what will happen with assets if the marriage doesn’t last. For example, the terms could include who gets custody of children and who has control over family finances.

It also should specify who’s responsible for debt incurred during the marriage, the division of assets, and whether you will provide spousal support.

What to exclude:

  • Property acquired by either spouse before the marriage;
  • Each spouse’s right of inheritance;
  • The right to designate beneficiaries for certain items such as life insurance and pension
  •  Property or money earned during the marriage, but not things like future income potential.

Prenup Roles?

  • Most prenups contain some sort of financial arrangement.
  • Generally, a prenup is used if one party has significantly more wealth than another or in cases where a couple has children from previous relationships.
  • Used if a couple owns property together and may want to protect their property if they decide to get divorced.
  •  A prenuptial agreement establishes which assets are owned separately and jointly.

Considerations before Signing the Prenuptial Agreement

There are many considerations for each side before signing the prenuptial agreement.

For example;

  • Does one spouse have more assets or debts than the other?
  •  Is one spouse willing to promise child support and alimony?
  •  What about custody of children from previous relationships?

Many other questions might arise before signing the prenuptial agreement.

 Things to Keep in Mind When Drafting a Prenup

When drafting the prenuptial agreement, there are three primary things to remember:

  1. It must be balanced and not lopsided.
  2.  Both spouses should be allowed to fully comprehend what they agreed to.
  3.  Neither of the parties should be pressured into making any decisions. Instead, they need time to fully understand what’s going on.

 Do They Cost a Lot in Illinois?

In Illinois, the cost of a prenuptial agreement can depend on how much it covers and whether attorneys represent both parties.

A traditional prenup can range from $2,500 to $10,000, with an average of around $3,000. The average cost for an attorney-represented couple ranges from $250 to $350 per hour.

Some spouses may choose not to have one prepared because they think it will be too expensive or don’t want their spouse’s lawyer looking over their shoulder. However, the cost of having a prenup could be less than divorce proceedings.

Pros to Getting a Prenup

  • It may also set out how the couple’s children are cared for and supported and what will happen to their property before marriage.
  • A prenup can help spouses protect their individual wealth while married.
  • It may also provide security to both parties by ensuring there will not be disagreements about who gets what property during or after their marriage.
  • The biggest advantage of having a prenuptial agreement is that it provides certainty, which may make all the difference in helping couples focus on building their future together.
  • In addition, it may allow one spouse to use their separate property to buy a business interest that premarital agreements would otherwise prohibit.
  • Also, a prenup can define how and under what conditions each spouse can remarry.

The Cons of a Prenup

  • A prenuptial agreement can make it more difficult for family members to plan and provide appropriate care and services.
  • If only one of the spouses has health insurance coverage, the prenup will not help them if illness renders them unable to work.
  • If you have children from a previous marriage, they may not be able to get certain property from their mother’s or father’s estate without the other parent’s consent.

Final Thoughts

A prenuptial agreement ensures both parties are on the same page before marriage. At the Libertyville law firm of Johnston Tomei Lenczycki & Goldberg, LLC, we understand that every case is different, and each couple may have different needs regarding their specific situation.

If you have any questions regarding what you would like your prenup agreement to include, please don’t hesitate to call us! We are ready to offer any assistance.


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