Prenuptial agreements provide guidance and protection in Illinois

Often you may hear of a prenuptial agreement and assume that it only applies to celebrities and people with millions at stake. However, a prenuptial agreement can be a wise idea for anyone who owns valuable property and assets in Illinois. With so many marriages ending in divorce, a prenuptial agreement can be a valuable tool in protecting property that was acquired prior to the marriage as well as providing many other advantages.

The Illinois Uniform Premarital Agreement Act

The IUPA defines what a premarital agreement is in the state of Illinois. According to the statute, in order for a prenuptial agreement to be considered valid, it must be drawn up in a written format. Furthermore, the agreement pertains to the spouses only; the care and support of children are essentially a separate matter. The final step in making a prenuptial agreement legal is for both people to sign the document .

While a premarital agreement can override state laws when it comes to the division of property during a divorce, Illinois law also makes it possible for someone to object to the prenuptial agreement under certain conditions. One example would be if a person was coerced or threatened into signing the agreement. Another example that would make a premarital agreement unenforceable would be a failure of the person to fully disclose all of their property before the agreement was signed.

A premarital agreement's purpose

As most people are aware, the primary purpose of a prenuptial agreement is to protect the property or money of a person before they enter into a marriage. This means that if someone already owns a home, has a business, or may have assets in terms of stocks, retirement plans, investments or from an inheritance, then they should consider drawing up a contract that addresses what should happen to those assets if the marriage should be dissolved.

It is important to note that while many people think of a prenuptial agreement as a tool in a divorce, it can also be used in the event that the spouse dies. Therefore, there are several things that should be included in a prenup agreement according to the Equality in Marriage Institute:

  • The payment of premarital debts
  • Inventory of properties, monies, income, expected inheritances
  • Division of listed assets and properties
  • Death benefits to be put into a will
  • Insurance coverage in the event of divorce or death
  • Financial payment in lieu of a claim on a business

Addressing financial issues now instead of later

The topic of money can be a sensitive one - especially for the person who is marrying someone with significant assets. However, marriage is a relationship that relies on communication and it is important for couples to discuss this aspect prior to the wedding. By putting a written document together that lays out what that spouse will receive and how property will be handled, the couple can actually avoid having a judge make those decisions in the event of divorce or death. An attorney experienced with drafting prenuptial agreements can be a good source when planning for the future.