Premarital and Postnuptial Agreements

Our prenuptial and postnuptial agreement attorneys in Illinois have extensive experience in negotiating a favorable financial settlement while preserving the parties’ relationship. 

Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements outline detailed financial stipulations in the event that the marriage dissolves. Couples can use these agreements to protect financial interests if one spouse has substantial wealth or disproportionate wealth relative to the other spouse. 

What’s the Difference Between a Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreement? 

Prenuptial agreements occur prior to marriage, while postnuptial agreements occur during the marriage. Apart from this key distinction, both agreements accomplish the same goal. In either case, it’s a legally binding contract that dictates asset division and financial obligations once the marriage ends, whether through a divorce or the death of one party. An agreement gives each person clear expectations of their rights and obligations. 

How Do Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements Address Illinois Marital Property Laws? 

While Illinois law allows for the creation and maintenance of the separate property, known in Illinois as non-marital property, events during a marriage may change the character of the property. What is recognized as non-marital property at the time of marriage may become marital property by the time of a divorce or death. Further, a party’s residence may change many times during the course of a marriage and what is deemed non-marital property in Illinois may be very different from what another state recognizes as non-marital property. One way to ensure that non-marital property remains the sole property of the owner is with a properly drafted pre-marital or post-marital agreement. 

A pre- or post-nuptial agreement in Illinois can also address family business ownership or future inheritances. These agreements can also protect one party from debt liability should the other party accumulate substantial debt during the marriage. Couples can also determine spousal support, or maintenance, at this stage. 

In 1990, Illinois adopted the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act, which makes it very difficult to invalidate a properly drafted pre-marital agreement. With very limited exceptions, the courts will uphold and enforce pre-marital agreements, including spousal waivers of support. Perhaps the greatest benefit of a well-drafted pre- or post-marital agreement is the reduction of the financial and emotional cost that can accompany a contested divorce. 

Those who wish to sign prenuptial or postnuptial agreements should consult an Illinois Family Law attorney. At Schiller DuCanto & Fleck, we know how to approach these agreements without causing excess strain on the parties’ personal relationships. If you wish to request a meeting, contact us now. 

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