Kane County family lawyerPrenuptial agreements have become popular among marrying couples. One of the most-cited reasons for such an agreement—sometimes called a prenup—is that the couple wishes to prepare for the possibility of a divorce, in the event that it occurs.

Reasons for a Prenup

Divorces in Illinois are fairly common. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, there were about 69,500 marriages and nearly 29,500 divorces in 2013. Given these statistics, a prenuptial agreement between the spouses that details what will happen if a divorce occurs may be prudent.

Kane County family law attorneyMany people are familiar with prenuptial agreements,or “prenups," and some of their pros and cons. However, what most do not know is that they can actually be quite complex and may include much more than standard asset division terms. They are also not as ironclad as popular culture paints them to be. It is imperative that before you enter into a prenuptial agreement, you should have a good understanding of exactly how they work.

What to Include and Leave Out

The are two common reasons why a couple may choose to into a prenup: to protect one spouse from the consequences of the other’s debt or to ensure that provisions are made for the children of a previous marriage. Inheritance laws in most states immediately default to a person’s children from their current marriage, so if there was a promise, for example, to save a personal item for a child of one’s first marriage, it can be advantageous to note that in a prenup. Prenuptial agreements are legally binding unless it can be proven that the agreement is unenforceable.

Kane County family law attorneyFamily-owned businesses are the backbone of the American economy. Some 90 percent of all businesses are family-owned or, at the very least, controlled by the families who started them. Many owners of family businesses look forward to the day that they can turn over the day-to-day operations to the next generation, never even considering how a divorce might wreak havoc on their professional and business-related plans. If you are a business owner who is thinking about getting married, you may want to execute a prenuptial agreement to be sure that your company is not affected by a potential divorce.

Marital or Non-Marital Property

According to Illinois law, if you own a business prior to getting married, your existing interest in the company will, in most cases, be considered separate or non-marital property in the event of a divorce. Things can get very complicated, however, as you make improvements to your business and invest your personal efforts in increasing the company’s value during your marriage. Depending on the specific circumstances, the increase in value and retained earnings generated by your business during your marriage could be considered part of the marital estate and, therefore, subject to division in divorce.

Geneva family law attorneyWhen it comes to prenuptial agreements, the general opinion often seems to stem from the negative stigma that anyone who pursues such an agreement must not have much faith or trust in their future spouse. Although this may actually be the case for some individuals, in most cases, this stereotype could not be farther from the truth.

Prenuptial Agreements in Today’s World

Prenuptial agreements are extremely popular nowadays, for multiple reasons. Their popularity is not merely a reflection of the state of marriages in today’s society; prenups offer practical advantages that can benefit both partners equally. Broaching the topic with your future spouse can feel uncomfortable at first, but if you both share mutual interest in pursuing a prenuptial agreement, it can prove to be a valuable, effective tool as you enter your marriage.

prenuptial agreement, Geneva family law attorneyEvery year, thousands of couples throughout Illinois formally legalize their relationship through the institution of marriage. As the average age of first marriage continues to rise, along with the increasing rate of remarriage, prenuptial agreements are also becoming more common than ever. In many ways, this makes sense, as today’s single men and women have had more time to earn money and accumulate assets than in generations where younger marriage was prevalent. Remarriage, of course, presents its own challenges, including children from a previous relationship and increased focus on retirement and estate planning, and prenuptial agreements are advisable for these types of situations as well.

Agreements Regarding Maintenance

Spousal maintenance, or alimony, as it is sometimes called, is one of the most common issues addressed in a prenuptial agreement. A couple may agree, before ever getting married, that maintenance either should or should not be paid in the event of a divorce. They may also address criteria under which maintenance would be required—such as a so-called lifestyle clause or an infidelity penalty clause. Should the couple get divorced, the court presiding over the proceedings is required to take into account any valid agreement between the parties, including prenuptial agreements that address spousal maintenance.

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