Arguments in Favor of Prenuptial Agreements
For those planning to tie the marital knot, there are a lot of things to consider, and making a prenuptial agreement should be right up there on your list.
A prenup – a legal document that determines how assets will be divided and protected in the event of a divorce – is not only a smart financial decision, it can improve your relationship and chances of staying together by addressing sensitive financial issues right from the start. And it provides protection for your assets if you eventually do decide to get divorced.
Illinois is an equitable distribution state, so courts will divide property according to what the judge feels is fair and equitable, and not necessarily equally. Since many couples do not want to leave the fate of their property in the hands of the court should they divorce, and since people are getting married later with assets they may not wish to comingle, it makes sense to have an agreement in place to simplify matters should the occasion arise.
The skilled and compassionate Illinois family-law attorneys at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. know that a prenuptial agreement is an important part of good planning and that it doesn’t have to be offensive or punitive. We offer a free consultation to provide professional guidance with prenuptial agreements or any other family-law issue.
What is Covered in Prenuptial Agreements
Under Illinois law, prenuptial agreements are governed by the Illinois Uniform Premarital Agreement Act.
Agreements may address issues that include:
- Who pays alimony after divorce, how much and for how long.
- Which spouse will own what property after divorce; how property will be sold, transferred, or managed; and what will happen to property acquired during the marriage.
- Creating a will or trust to carry out the terms of the agreement.
- Who has rights in the death benefit from a life insurance policy.
- What happens to the future inheritance for children from another marriage.
- Protecting a business, retirement accounts, or any pre-owned property from potential division if you divorce.
Why Make Prenups
Here are some of the benefits of making prenuptial agreements:
- Entering a prenup can help you prepare for the worst. Okay, no one getting married wants to think about divorce, but the reality is that divorce is a common occurrence in the United States. Couples who have already gone through the process or have seen their parents, relatives, or close friends divorce know how difficult and painful divorce can be. Prenuptial planning can make the process easier and lessen the consequences should you have to divorce in the future.
- A prenup can protect you if your spouse has debt. In situations where your spouse comes into the marriage with debt such as a hefty student loan or a previously failed business or marriage, you do not want to have to be responsible for it. The pre-nup lays out who is responsible for previous debt.
- A prenuptial contract can protect valuable assets. If you have a family business or premarital funds you do not wish to blend with marital assets, or you have inherited valuable family heirlooms, jewelry, or collections, a prenup can ensure that they stay in your family. If your parents have given you a down payment for a home, you want to make sure that gift stays with you if you have to sell or if your spouse winds up owning the house. And the asset doesn’t even have to have a monetary value – you may want to make sure you never have to part with your beloved pet.
- Prenups force you to be open and examine financial issues. Couples to be should be able to be open and discuss financial issues, such as attitudes about spending and saving, credit scores and debts. If you can’t do it before marriage, you may be heading for trouble should issues come up after you are wed.
Consider Getting Legal Representation
Since prenuptial agreements are legally binding, you cannot change your mind and try to back out of the agreement because you didn’t read or understand what you signed. An experienced family law attorney can help you make sure you don’t make mistakes, your rights are protected, and that you have come to a fair agreement as to how to separate property and handle finances and issues should it come to divorce.
Contact Us For Help and a Free Consultation
Prenuptial agreements can help you with planning your financial situation, and they save on litigation costs should you get divorced later, but they must be done correctly. The seasoned Illinois family-law attorneys at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd., have helped countless individuals with marital and family issues. We can advise and guide you through every step in the prenuptial process and answer any questions you might have.
At Wolfe & Stec, Ltd., we made our reputation one client at a time, and we put every ounce of our ability into every case. Take no chances with planning your agreement correctly. Contact us online or call us today for your free consultation.