Prenuptial Agreements Can Lead to Healthier Relationships
Many 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.
Drafting a Prenuptial Agreements
By choosing to create a prenuptial agreement, many couples are able to negotiate financial or property concerns while they are in very cooperative stage of their relationship. This not only offers benefits in a potential divorce, but can address some likely marital concerns prior to them becoming actual problems when stress levels are often higher.
There are no requirements as to exactly what a prenuptial agreement must address, but many cover similar issues, including:
- Designation of individual and marital assets, property, obligations, and debts during the marriage;
- Status of gifts or inheritances received or anticipated by either spouse;
- Considerations of an individual or jointly owned business;
- Details regarding death benefits, wills, or estate planning;
- Medical, disability, and life insurance provisions; and
- Spousal maintenance and property division in case of divorce.
Prenuptial agreements are prohibited from creating contractual obligations related to child support, custody, or visitation as such issues must be addressed only if and when necessary.
Lower Stress in the Marriage
Once a prenuptial agreement puts to rest many of the legal concerns a couple may have, stress caused by uncertainty of the future can be significantly decreased. Thus, a couple can begin building a life together, based on the foundation of effective cooperation. A cooperative approach to marriage is one of the many keys to a long-lasting, healthy relationship.
If you are considering marriage, especially a second or third marriage, you should consider the benefits offered by a prenuptial agreement. For more information or for help drafting your agreement, contact an experienced Kane County family law attorney today.