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St. Charles IL prenuptial agreement lawyerMany people are familiar with prenuptial agreements—or prenups—and the pros and cons associated with them. However, what most do not know is that they can actually be quite complex and address much more than standard asset division. They are also not as ironclad as popular culture paints them to be. It is imperative that before you enter into a prenuptial agreement, you have a good understanding of exactly how they work.

What to Include and Leave Out

Among the primary reasons that couples choose to enter into a prenup are to protect one spouse from the consequences of the other’s debt, or to ensure that provisions are made for the children of a previous marriage. Inheritance laws in most states do not differentiate between the children of a current marriage or a previous relationship, so if there was a promise to, for example, save a personal item for a child of one’s first marriage, it can be advantageous to note that in a prenup. Prenuptial agreements are legally binding, unless it can be proved that the agreement is unenforceable.

With this rationale for entering into a prenup, it is perhaps not surprising that prenuptial agreements, at their most basic, are about money. The provisions you include should almost exclusively deal with financial matters. A prenup is not the place to discuss future child custody or who should take the trash out every day. While asset division is usually thought to fall under the area of divorce law, earmarking certain items in a prenup is perfectly legal and will help to control the situation if there is a question of inheritance. It is also important to note that Illinois and the other states that have ratified the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (UPAA) explicitly ban any provisions being made for child support in the event of divorce, but they do permit most provisions regarding spousal support to stand. 

Initiating Conversations About Prenuptial AgreementsDespite the practicality of getting a prenuptial agreement, there is no avoiding that it is an awkward conversation to have with the person you plan to marry. Talking about a prenup means you are admitting the possibility that your marriage will end in divorce. It is particularly uncomfortable if you are the one who broaches the subject. Anger, distress and avoidance are all possible reactions. How you introduce the topic can determine whether you will be able to continue the conversation and create an agreement.

Framing the Conversation

Before you have your first prenup conversation, you should consider ways to present the subject that make it seem more benign. You can plan exactly what you will say to start the conversation, but everything beyond that should follow a broader outline. Sounding scripted can be off putting, and you must be flexible enough to respond to unexpected questions. You can expect that your significant other will ask why you want a prenuptial agreement. Prepare several answers that frame the idea as reasonable:

Posted on in Premarital Agreement

Kane County family law attorneyWhen you were growing up, did you have fantasies about what your wedding day would look like? If you are like most people, the answer is probably yes. Once a couple gets engaged, they often spend months choosing dresses, flowers, and all of the accessories that will make their wedding perfect. With so much focus on the marriage ceremony and reception, far fewer couples spend adequate time preparing for the marital relationship itself. They tend to assume that loving one another is enough and everything else can be addressed when the time comes. Many marriages, however, are too complicated to leave to chance, and a prenuptial agreement could provide a measure of security for both spouses.

The Basics of Prenuptial Agreement

A prenuptial agreement is a type of contract between two people who are planning to marry one another. Your agreement may contain as few or as many provisions needed to address whatever concerns may be applicable to your situation. Most people think of prenuptial agreements as a form of insurance in case of divorce, and in some ways, that thought is rather accurate, but they can be used for other purposes. A prenuptial agreement can also contain terms that address each spouse’s responsibilities during the marriage as well as contingencies for the untimely death of one spouse.

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family law attorneyIf you are considering getting married in the near future, you should also be considering signing a prenuptial agreement. This is especially important if you have children or any considerable assets such as a small business, real estate, or a savings. A prenuptial agreement is a document that states the terms that you will follow in the event of a divorce. It can also state how your assets are to be divided in the event of your death.

This second reason is the reason why many individuals who have children from previous relationships opt to sign prenuptial agreements – having one in place can help to ensure that your children receive the portion of your assets that you want them to receive. Talk to your fiance about drafting and signing a prenuptial agreement as you move forward with other pre-marriage decisions like whether you will have a religious wedding or a civil one, whether you plan to have children, and where you plan to live. It is important that any engaged couple come to a full understanding about where each partner stands on these “big” decisions before getting married.

Your Estate Plan

Illinois family law attorney, Illinois divorce lawyer, prenup, Weddings typically involve a lot of planning, even when you forgo a traditional ceremony for a trip to the courthouse. However, before you make too many plans, make sure that you are eligible to marry under Illinois law, and consider a premarital agreement as well.

Here are the requirements for couples looking to marry in Illinois:

  • Both parties must be at least 18 years old;
  • If the parties are 16 or 17 years old they may obtain a marriage license with parental consent;
  • Generally, the parties cannot be blood relatives, but first cousins who are older than 50 may legally marry;
  • The parties cannot already be married to someone else (this includes being in the process of divorce); and
  • If a prior marriage or civil union has ended within the last six months, the party must provide a certified copy of the dissolution, annulment or death record.

Once it is determined that you and your fiancé can get married, you can then apply for a marriage license. Where the application should be filed depends on which county you are getting married in.

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