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Post-Marital Agreements: An Alternative to Premarital Agreements

Posted on in Divorce
Illinois divorce rate, Illinois family law attorneys, Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, Illinois marriage rate, Illinois Uniform Premarital Agreement Act, Kane County divorce attorney, post-marital agreements, potential spouseMarriage is an integral part of American culture. This is evidenced not only by the romanticized image of marriage, but also by the extent to which individuals’ access to and exclusion from this institution has become a pivotal and polarizing issue in our country’s sociopolitical landscape.

Nevertheless, marriage is neither perfect nor foolproof. According to a national study performed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, of the 6.8 marriages per 1,000 U.S. residents in 2011, 3.6 of those marriages per 1,000 U.S. residents concluded in divorce.

Statistics in the State of Illinois did not bode much better for the same period: with a marriage rate of 5.6 per 1,000 residents, this state boasts a divorce rate of 2.6 for said population. Knowing the risk of separation, how does one legally protect his or herself in the event of divorce?

The primary tool used to minimize the adverse impact of divorce is the premarital agreement, a contract between prospective spouses made in contemplation of marriage and to be effective upon marriage. In Illinois, such agreements are governed by the Illinois Uniform Premarital Agreement Act.

Although entering into a premarital agreement with your potential spouse may seem to be an exercise in good judgment, this course of action is often viewed as taboo, indicative of a lack of faith in the success of the marriage or viewed as a safety net that discourages stick-to-itiveness. Alternatively, couples may not see the necessity of a premarital agreement at the onset of their marriage, blinded in the anticipatory contentment of sweet marital bliss.

The Alternative

What happens when the fruit begins to sour during the marriage? After the vows have been said, is there no recourse for the optimists who chose not to go the way of the premarital agreement? Enter the post-marital agreement, a contract executed by the parties after the marriage for the purpose of articulating their intentions in the event of dissolution of the marriage.

Post-marital agreements, contemplated by the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, are designed to promote the amicable settlement of disputes between parties to a marriage attendant upon the dissolution of their marriage, and typically contain provisions for: (a) the disposition of any property owned by either of them; (b) maintenance of either of them and support; and (c) custody and visitation of their children. Notwithstanding a finding that the agreement is unconscionable (i.e., unreasonable) by the court, the terms of the post-marital agreement are binding and enforceable by the court.

It is not necessarily the case that post-marital agreements be pursued in the event of marital discord. Parties often choose to enter such agreements for innocuous reasons that may not have been foreseen at the onset of the marriage (e.g., changes in financial circumstances due to inheritance or career).

Get Legal Help

It is safe to say that no one goes into marriage expecting failure. However, wisdom dictates that it is better for you and your spouse to be prepared for all possibilities.

Allow our knowledgeable divorce attorneys help you to draft a sound post-marital agreement that will not only protect the interests of your marriage, but will also help to ensure your viability in case of divorce. Contact one of our experienced Illinois family law attorneys today. We can help those in the St. Charles area and other nearby communities.

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