Couples who marry today are more than three times more likely to have a prenuptial agreement than a decade ago. People understand that a prenuptial agreement is not just for people with high incomes and extensive property holdings. Couples in every income bracket use prenups to help with property division in divorce. If you have questions about a prenuptial agreement, talk to our Chicago prenuptial agreement attorney Michael C. Craven.
Prenuptial Agreement Overview
A prenup in Illinois is a legal agreement between a couple before marriage. A prenuptial agreement usually details how the couple will deal with assets, debts, and other financial issues during the union. It also spells out how assets and debts will be divided if a divorce occurs. Additional benefits of prenuptial agreements are divorces that are: less contentious, quicker, and less expensive, A prenuptial agreement in Illinois may address some or all of these issues:
- Whether one person pays the other spousal maintenance after a divorce, including how much alimony will be and for how long.
- Who will own which properties after a divorce?
- How each person can use, sell, transfer, or dispose of marital property.
- Which state’s law will apply if the couple divorces.
- How property will be distributed upon a spouse’s death.
You can amend your prenuptial agreement after you are married. However, amendments to the prenup must be in writing and signed by each party. The laws on prenuptial agreements are covered in the Illinois Uniform Premarital Agreement Act.
How A Prenup Can Affect Your Illinois Divorce
Divorce laws in Illinois are supposed to be fair; however, the allows a court much discretion when deciding a divorce case. Many people want a prenuptial agreement to limit or eliminate a court’s discretion so that they can assure a result that both spouses agree is fair. The prenuptial agreement can establish who will receive what if there is a split and if and how much alimony will be paid, among other things. While having a prenup can address many issues in a divorce, there are some things to remember:
Child Custody and Related Terms May Still Be Undetermined
A prenuptial agreement cannot predetermine child custody, child support, and other child-related issues in an Illinois divorce. The idea behind this rule is that the child’s best interests always determine who gets child custody. However, if these crucial decisions were made years ahead, they might not be in the child’s best interest. Thus, a judge’s obligation to safeguard a minor child’s best interests cannot be contracted away.
Not All Issues Are Always Covered
Prenups can address many scenarios and terms that are covered in a divorce. When addressed in the agreement, the outcome of the divorce cases includes results different than what the law would have provided without a prenup. However, a prenup need not include all possible terms. Where a term is not part of the prenup, those terms will be decided by the court based on state law.
Some Prenups Are Unenforceable
Sometimes a prenuptial agreement is unenforceable. This can happen if one spouse does not voluntarily sign the agreement. In addition, a court will not enforce an agreement that is unconscionable when it is signed if (i) there was not a proper disclosure of financial information, (ii) there was not a voluntary and express writing waiver of receiving information and documentation beyond what was provided, and (iii) one did not have, or couldn’t have, reasonable knowledge of the other’s finances. Also, a court may ignore the alimony terms of a prenup if those terms cause an undue hardship resulting from circumstances unforeseen at the time the agreement was signed.
Speak To Our Chicago Prenuptial Agreement Attorney Today
If you are thinking about divorce and have questions about a prenuptial agreement, you should immediately speak to a qualified attorney. Contact our Chicago prenuptial agreement attorney Michael C. Craven today for a complimentary consultation.
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