Prenuptial Agreements

Prenuptial Agreement Lawyer for Joliet, Frankfort, Tinley Park & Will County

As an Illinois prenuptial agreement lawyer, I advise clients on the benefits of prenuptial agreements and help prepare agreements that are in their best interests.  I serve clients throughout Will, DuPage, Kankakee, and Cook Counties, including clients in Joliet, Tinley Park, Frankfort, Crete, Chicago Heights, Sauk Village, University Park, Park Forest, Richton Park, Matteson and the surrounding communities.

If you are getting married and are interested in finding out about whether a prenuptial agreement may be beneficial, I would invite you to call me at (708) 279-4050 for a free consultation.

I can explain how prenuptial agreements work under the law, what types of assets and other protections may be available, and whether it might be beneficial for you to have a prenuptial agreement.

The Facts Behind Prenuptial Agreements

Nobody wants to think about a prenuptial agreement because nobody believes their marriage is going end in divorce. However, today, about 50% of all marriages end in divorce.

When a divorce occurs, emotions are often heated.  Deciding the distribution of assets upon divorce can be a costly and complicated endeavor. Securing a prenuptial agreement can help to avoid the costs of litigation and give spouses the peace of mind that comes with knowing how their property will be handled if a divorce becomes reality.

Won’t My Future Spouse Worry About My Commitment if I Ask for a Prenuptial Agreement?

Getting married is an exciting and stressful time for all parties. It may be difficult to address this with your future spouse. However, it is important to have the peace of mind that comes with a prenuptial agreement.

The best way to think of it is like an insurance policy. The agreement isn’t something that you plan on using. But it’s something you’re glad to have if your marriage does run into trouble and end in divorce.

Your future spouse also needs to understand that the agreement is there for both of you. It provides security knowing that you’ve already agreed upon the distribution of property if the marriage ends.

What Exactly is a Prenuptial Agreement?

A prenuptial agreement is a contract between two people that details how their assets are to be divided in case of a separation, divorce, or death. This type of agreement is made prior to the marriage.

When is it a Good Idea to Have a Prenuptial Agreement?

Most every couple can benefit from such an agreement. The peace of mind that comes with knowing how your property will be divided, should a divorce happen, is a benefit.

There are also certain situations where an agreement will be beneficial:

  • When the people getting married are entering the marriage with significant assets, such as stocks, real estate, or trusts.
  • When one of the people has significantly more wealth than the other.
  • When one of the people is a business owner or part of a family business.
  • When there are children from a previous marriage.
  • When one of the people is pursuing a degree in a lucrative profession.
  • These are just a few of the situations where a prenuptial agreement is a good idea.

Will a Prenuptial Agreement be Upheld if it is Challenged in Court?

While there cannot be 100% certainty that any agreement will be upheld by a court, there are a number of factors that can significantly increase the probability that an agreement will be upheld.  These include the following:

  • Does the agreement clearly define the types of assets and the nature in which the couple intends to divide assets? There are some significant assets – like a house – to which both spouses may contribute (i.e. paying the mortgage, improvements, etc.).  How clearly does the prenuptial agreement address these matters?
  • Did both spouses have legal representation? Courts are more likely to give deference to an agreement when both spouses have legal representation than one in which the party initiating the agreement had representation.
  • What were the circumstances surrounding the negotiation and execution of the agreement? Asking a spouse to sign the agreement right before walking down the aisle is likely going to be met with suspicion by the court.  Alternatively, an agreement that was considered over a period of time before the wedding (and especially when both spouses had legal representation), is going to be much more likely to be upheld.

My Clients

I help clients identify the factors that may need to be considered in prenuptial agreements. Please call me to schedule a free consultation to learn about how I can help you.

Do I Really Need an Attorney for a Prenuptial Agreement?  Can’t I Prepare an Agreement Myself for My Future Spouse to Sign?

The biggest concern with prenuptial agreements is making sure that all assets now owned, or which may be owned, are properly contemplated and addressed in the agreement itself.

In many situations, couples who are marrying think only of the current assets that may be owned, which in many cases may be fairly limited. For example, couples may think about the cars, furniture, or other household assets that they currently own, or the money that is in their bank account.

What happens, however, if a house is purchased, or if one spouse contributes significantly to the upkeep and mortgage payments of the house currently owned by the other spouse? What about if cars and other assets are sold, and new vehicles or assets are purchased? What about financial assets, such as stock options that may be acquired at a later point, or retirement benefits?

Retirement benefits are often overlooked by young couples, since retirement may be decades into the future.  However, after a decade or so of marriage, in some cases the retirement benefits may be the largest asset in the marriage.

The issues addressed in a prenuptial agreement can be extremely complex. A person considering this type of agreement should speak to and retain an experienced prenuptial agreement lawyer. If all issues are not addressed, the prenuptial agreement may have limited or no practical value.  For instance, a prenuptial agreement that addresses specific cars, specified bank accounts, and a particular house will have no value if these assets no longer exist at the time of the divorce.

No attorney can predict with certainty what the future may bring. As a veteran prenuptial agreement lawyer, my role is to help clients foresee many of the life events that may occur and plan for them accordingly. This creates a potential division of assets that is as clear as possible and future litigation may be curtailed.

If you are getting married and are thinking about a prenuptial agreement, I would invite you to contact me today for a free consultation.

How Can I Help?

Please call me at (708) 279-4050 or fill out this form for a FREE Consultation.

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