Prenuptial FAQ: What is a Prenup?

Prenuptial FAQ: What is a Prenup?

To put it simply, a prenuptial agreement is a contract between two people who plan to marry. The couple doesn’t need to be legally married to enter into a prenuptial agreement. The contract can resolve common issues in divorce cases, such as spousal maintenance and property division, in advance. This may help to remove the need for divorce litigation. Read on to learn more about prenuptial agreements, how they work, and when you may want one.

How Does a Prenup Work?

Prenuptial agreements in Illinois must adhere to the requirements described in the Illinois Uniform Premarital Agreement Act. Although prenuptial agreements don’t require a witness or court involvement, they must also be in writing and signed by the couple. Prenuptial agreements don’t become effective until the couple is married.

Since unmarried couples (excluding those who’ve entered into a civil union or common law marriage ) have no legal right to one another’s property after they separate, there’s no risk involved for either party if the marriage never occurs. Additionally, a prenuptial agreement isn’t set in stone; it can be amended or voided after the marriage, although both spouses will need to provide written consent.

Should I Get a Prenup?

There are a number of situations in which a prenuptial agreement can be beneficial:

  • If you’ve experienced a stressful divorce in the past, you know how emotionally and mentally trying it can be. Although a prenup can’t address issues like child custody, it’s a smart way to possibly avoid painful divorce litigation. Not to mention, it can reduce the costs of divorce significantly, since pressing issues like asset division and alimony won’t need to be litigated.
  • Do you have more assets than your intended spouse, such as a small business you’ve put many years of time and money into? If so, you would likely want to hold onto those assets if your marriage ends in divorce. A prenuptial agreement can prevent your assets from being regarded as marital property.
  • Prenuptial agreements can ensure your children from a prior marriage have access to the assets you’ve set aside for them.
  • Prenuptial agreements can be used to ensure that, upon divorce, property that was acquired before your marriage is regarded as a non-marital asset and remain your property after a divorce, or after your death.

Does a Prenup Protect Future Assets?

Yes, a well-written prenup can protect future assets. However, it’s not as simple as listing “all future income” or “all future property acquisitions” to ensure your future assets are protected. The prenup needs to list those future assets in detail, or the court will be unable to discount them as marital property, especially if there’s no clear owner. Because verbiage is critical when drafting a prenuptial agreement, it’s important to rely on the expertise of a lawyer with prenup experience.

Rely on a Skilled Lawyer to Create a Prenuptial Agreement

Do you have additional questions about prenuptial agreements or how they differ from postnuptial agreements? Does a prenuptial agreement seem advantageous for you and your intended spouse? If so, contact Conniff & Keleher, LLC. We’ll gladly schedule a consultation with you at our Chicago or Oak Park office.

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