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DuPage County family lawyersA discussion with your fiancé about the settlement of financial matters in the event of a divorce or death, through a premarital agreement, may not be romantic, but it can be a great idea. Some people choose to enter into premarital agreements in order to protect a wide range of property and assets. In other cases, if there are children from a previous relationship involved, the natural parent can request a premarital agreement to protect these children in case of the parent's death.

What is a Premarital Agreement?

Illinois law defines a premarital agreement as an agreement that is entered into by two people who expect to get married and is effective only if the couple marries. Many people refer to premarital agreements as prenuptial agreements, or prenups.

In a prenup, the couple can agree on how to deal with the following matters in case of divorce, or death:

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DuPage County family law attorneysAlthough they have long been the subject of misunderstandings, more and more people are choosing to sign a prenuptial agreement before getting married. Prenuptial agreements, or “prenups” for short, are contracts that specify each spouse’s property rights and responsibilities in the event of divorce. If you and your partner are considering drafting a prenuptial agreement, you should know that these documents must meet certain criteria in order to be legally-enforceable. Prenuptial agreements that do not meet these specifications or that contain certain mistakes may be considered invalid. This is why it is so important to work with an experienced family law attorney during the creation of any prenuptial agreement.

Incomplete or Falsified Financial Disclosure

When a couple designs a prenuptial agreement, each spouse must be fully forthcoming about his or her assets, income, and debts. A complete inventory of the spouses’ finances is needed so that each spouse can make informed decisions about the provisions contained in the agreement. Without a full accounting of each spouse’s property and debt, it will be impossible for the couple to form an equitable plan regarding how property and debt should be divided in the event divorce. Furthermore, if the agreement contains incomplete or falsified financial information, it is possible that the document will be considered invalid.

Each Spouse Must Consent to the Agreement

Legal contracts such as prenuptial agreements are only valid if they were entered into voluntarily. If a spouse was coerced or forced to sign a prenuptial agreement, the document is not valid. Each spouse must be of sound mind when he or she agrees to the provisions. Furthermore, spouses must have time to read and consider the agreements contained in the prenup before signing. For example, if a spouse asks the other to sign a prenup mere hours before their marriage ceremony, it is likely that the court would not uphold the provisions contained in the agreement.

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Wheaton divorce lawyersAs more and more couples wait longer to enter into marriage for the first time, along with the rising prevalence of remarriage, individuals have more time than ever to accumulate wealth and property on their own. Extensive personal assets, of course, can make a subsequent divorce much more complicated, as it becomes difficult to differentiate between marital and non-marital property. For just reason, those who have started a business or obtained ownership of a company prior to marriage are encouraged to consider a prenuptial agreement to protect their interests.

Marital vs. Non-Marital Property

While the law in Illinois already provides that property or assets acquired prior to a marriage are not considered marital property, complications can still arise. For example, if your spouse owned a company before you got married, the company itself may not be part of the marital estate, but income generated by your spouse’s efforts after the marriage are usually considered to be marital. Similarly, any marital property invested into the company during your marriage may need to be reimbursed to the marital estate in the event of divorce, even as the company ownership remains non-marital.

How Can a Prenuptial Agreement Help?

Many of the financial concerns related to your company can be addressed long before they ever become a big problem, through the use of a prenuptial agreement. You and your soon-to-be spouse can negotiate an agreement to keep the business ownership and operation completely separate from the marital estate. You can also plan in advance on how invested marital property is to be handled.

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DuPage County family law attorneyFor most couples, a wedding is a culmination of months—if not years—of planning for a day that will mark the beginning of the rest of their life together. With a ceremony, reception, and honeymoon to put together, relatively few give much thought to a prenuptial agreement. However, as thousands of American divorcees would attest, developing such a contract with your soon-to-be spouse can safeguard your personal and financial well-being.

What is a Prenuptial Agreement?

A prenuptial agreement is a contract that a couple who are going to get married may create and sign prior to their wedding. The agreement typically specifies details how the couple will split their finances in the event of divorce. This includes the division of marital property, such as the house, bank accounts, and marital debt. If you or your spouse own a business, your agreement could also outline your plan for your interests should divorce become a reality. Prenuptial agreements can also be used for other considerations, such as the payment of spousal support and the payment of attorney's fees in the event of divorce.

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From our law office in Wheaton, IL the family law and civil litigation law attorneys of Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick and Mirabella, represent businesses and individual clients throughout the western suburbs of Chicago, Illinois including Wheaton, Naperville, Oak Brook, Glen Ellyn, Carol Stream, Lombard, Downers Grove, Burr Ridge, Lisle, Elmhurst, Oakbrook Terrace, Winfield, Woodridge, Warrenville and throughout DuPage, Kane and Kendall Counties.

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In honor of the passing of our founder, Joseph F. Mirabella, Jr., our offices are closed Friday, January 31, 2020.I Agree