The Benefits of Prenuptial Agreements
Before entering marriage, some couples choose to establish prenuptial agreements. These agreements are written contracts that set out the terms of possession of assets, treatment of future earnings, control of the property of each, and potential division if the marriage later fails. Prenuptial agreements are generally common amongst couples in which both parties have substantial assets, children from a prior marriage, potential inheritances, or high incomes. While not for everybody, prenuptial agreements do offer some potential benefits that are worth taking a look at.
Some of the most basic advantages of prenuptial agreements can include the following:
- Protecting your separate property;
- Supporting your estate plan;
- Defining what property is considered marital or community;
- Reducing conflicts and save money if you divorce;
- Clarifying special agreements;
- Establishing procedure and ground rules for future matters.
In many cases, prenuptial agreements can strengthen relationships. Clear communication about money matters can improve the quality of your marriage and support good communication in general in your relationship. Even just sitting down and discussing money and property, without signing a written agreement, can help to eliminate future disagreements between you and your spouse. At one point or another, you and your future spouse will eventually need to sit down and discuss money; the sooner the better.
Prenuptial agreements can protect financial stability, which is the biggest reason for their creation. Some states mandate that if you and your spouse do not have a prenuptial agreement, the two of you automatically share assets, property, and debts…regardless of whose name is on titles, registrations, or deeds. In other states, the law says that you own most of the non-joint assets and debts in your name. A prenuptial agreement can create a much more even division of property and ensure your spouse does not get family heirlooms in the event of a divorce.
If you and your future spouse are considering establishing a prenuptial agreement, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced Illinois family law attorney to assist you with the process.