prenuptial agreements in illinois, Kane County divorce lawyerDiscussing a prenuptial agreement with your soon-to-be spouse is never easy. However, as thousands of divorcees will attest, this contract can protect your personal and financial interests. Although a prenup can protect certain assets, the contract does have limits. Some aspects in a divorce or family law case cannot be part of a prenuptial agreement.

Illegal Terms

According to Illinois law, you may not include any illegal obligations in your prenuptial agreement. These can range from requiring your spouse to commit an unlawful act to listing the division of prohibited possessions, such as drugs. These terms may render the entire document invalid.

real estate, prenuptial agreement, Illinois family law attorneyAs the average age of those entering marriage for the first time continues to rise, along with the record rate of remarriage around the country, more and more couples are faced with increasingly complicated property ownership situation. In previous generations, an average couple would pursue marriage shortly after high school or college, rent a home for a short time, then move onto home ownership as they build their marital estate together. Of course, that was not the case for every couple, but for many, such a progression was somewhat expected.

Today, however, individuals are approaching marriage altogether differently. Many have already had years to build wealth, start and sell businesses, and accumulate assets. In fact, it is not uncommon for both halves of a married couple to each own their own homes prior to getting married. However, such a scenario presents a number of options—and a number of challenges—for couple pursuing marriage and may a prenuptial agreement may be necessary to prevent future problems.

Real Estate Possibilities

prenuptial agreement, marriage, Illinois family lawyerA prenuptial agreement is a legal document that defines a private agreement made by two people who intend to legally marry. These types of agreements are commonly used to predetermine how the new couple’s estate will be distributed if a divorce or death occurs. In the event that divorce does occur and no prenuptial agreement exists, the couple’s estate will be distributed according to the the Illinois state laws governing the dissolution of marriage.

What Can a Prenuptial Agreement Cover?

As a private agreement, a prenuptial agreement can be highly customized to fit the unique needs of the couple in question. The prenuptial can address any number of topics, including issues such as pre-existing debt of one or both partners, asset allocation, and spousal maintenance. There are no minimum or uniform requirements that must be included.

prenuptial agreement, marriage, Kane County Divorce LawyerMany people hear the term “prenuptial agreement” and immediately think of celebrities or other famous wealthy individuals. The perception is often that such high net-worth people create prenuptial agreements in order to protect their assets and prepare themselves for an inevitable future divorce. While it is certainly true that these types of agreements can be very useful in the event of a divorce, their true strength lies in the ability to help any couple – not just the super-rich – establish security in their marriage that may even reduce the likelihood of divorce.

Marriage is a Legal Contract

While the current cultural view of marital relationships is that they are an expression of romantic love and familial commitment, the legal view is quite different. The law, of course, recognizes the familial commitment, but in the seven parts and hundreds of pages that comprise the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, there is not a single reference to or use of the word “love.” As far as the law is concerned, marriage represents a type of contract between two parties, entered willingly and without coercion. Obviously, romantic love is the basis for a vast majority of marriages in this country, and addressing the contractual aspect from the beginning can allow couples to focus on the personal side of a healthy relationship.

Geneva family law attorney, happy marriage, healthy marriage, marriage, marriage counseling, marriage education classes, premarital counselingCome this November, voters in Colorado could be voting on a ballot initiative that would require mandatory pre-marriage education classes for couples wanting to get married. Those getting married for the first time would be required to complete 10 hours of marriage education classes. For people who are planning their second marriage, 20 hours of marriage education is required. And for those making their third trip to the altar, 30 hours of class time would be required.

The pull to initiate premarital counseling was started by Kids Against Divorce, with Colorado being the first targeted. However, the group has plans to present similar bills throughout several states. And although there are currently no states that require pre-marriage education, some couples do choose to attend premarital counseling sessions before they wed.

Therapists tout the benefits of premarital counseling as a way for couples to learn how to build better and stronger relationships before  marrying, and to help avoid the issues that frequently bring about divorce. But there can be pros and cons to going through the process. The Huffington Post recently interviewed therapists, as well as family law professionals, to help identify the pluses and minuses of premarital counseling.

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