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Family Law Prenuptial Agreements

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Prenuptial Agreements

Prenuptial Agreements

Some people believe that a prenuptial agreement, or a “prenup,” is only meant to protect wealthy people during a divorce. But the truth is a well-crafted prenuptial agreement can help couples determine how to address issues like alimony and division of property if a divorce occurs, giving both parties greater peace of mind going into the marriage. If you are considering a prenuptial agreement or have been asked to sign one, it is crucial to speak with an experienced prenuptial agreement attorney in the Chicagoland area first. The skilled family law attorneys at SAM LAW OFFICE, LLC have helped couples successfully create prenuptial agreements for many years. Contact our office to learn more about your rights regarding prenuptial agreements.

Requirements for Prenuptial Agreements in Illinois

Prenuptial agreements, also called premarital agreements, must meet several requirements in order to be valid. Both parties must sign it, and the marriage can not have already taken place. In Illinois, the courts consider property obtained, earned, or accumulated during the marriage to be marital assets. The courts generally consider property or assets acquired before the marriage to be non-marital property, but some exceptions exist. An example could be purchasing a home with non-marital income but listing both spouses on the real estate title.

Illinois courts require a prenuptial agreement to meet several requirements to be considered valid. These include:

  • The agreement has to be relatively equitable and fair to both spouses. (it cannot be “unconscionable”)
  • Both parties must enter into the prenuptial agreement voluntarily.
  • The agreement cannot be based on fraud and must adhere to all federal and state laws.
  • The agreement may not place one spouse in a financial position that makes them eligible for public assistance.
  • Both parties are required to disclose all their assets and properties fully.
  • It must be in writing and signed by both parties.
  • Both parties have to be mentally competent, and neither can force or coerce the other party into signing it.

Postnuptial Agreements

A prenuptial agreement is drafted before the marriage, while a postnuptial agreement is prepared after the couple is already married. Both types of agreements are valid in Illinois and can be enforced, provided they meet the approved criteria. Here are several reasons why some couples opt for a postnuptial agreement:

  • One spouse is gifted property or receives a sizable inheritance
  • You or your spouse amasses significant debts
  • You acquire significant assets after you and your spouse are married
  • You want to avoid potential tax ramifications
  • There are children from a prior marriage you want to protect
  •  One spouse is facing a serious illness or death

Retaining a Prenuptial Agreement Attorney

If you have questions about prenuptial or postnuptial agreements, it is best to speak with a knowledgeable Illinois family law attorney. An experienced lawyer will help you understand your assets’ true value and the steps you may need to take to protect yourself and your rights.

If you have been presented with a marital agreement to sign, you have the right to have it reviewed by a lawyer, as well. You should never sign an agreement without having your own independent counsel review the terms, as you may be agreeing to something that hurts you down the line. To learn more about prenuptial agreements and your rights before a marriage, contact SAM LAW OFFICE, LLC today to schedule a consultation.

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