Many Illinois couples sign a prenuptial agreement before the wedding, but far fewer people have heard of a postnuptial agreement. Postnuptial agreements are essentially the same thing as prenuptial agreements, but they are signed after a couple is already married.
Every couple’s situation is unique and an experienced Illinois postnuptial attorney is the best person to answer questions and draft a postnuptial agreement. Here are some of the most common reasons spouses in Illinois sign a postnuptial agreement, as well as the kind of issues postnuptial agreements can address.
Why Get a Postnuptial Agreement if We Are Already Married?
Couples may seek a prenuptial agreement for many reasons, but some of the most common include:
- Wealth inequality - If one spouse owns substantially more wealth than the other, they may want to protect their assets in the event of a divorce. Postnuptial agreements can ensure that spouses retain individual ownership of their personal assets that may otherwise be included in the property division process.
- Children from previous marriages - Spouses who were previously married and who still need to financially provide for their children often want to ensure their current marriage does not inadvertently jeopardize their children’s short- and long-term financial wellbeing. For example, because spouses typically inherit each other’s assets if one spouse dies, a postnuptial agreement can stipulate that a deceased spouse will leave their inheritance in part or in whole to their children. Likewise, a postnuptial agreement can stipulate that a portion of the parent spouse’s income will always be available for their children’s needs.
- Business ownership - A spouse who owns a business can protect their exclusive ownership of the business with a postnuptial agreement. Assessing and dividing the value of a business is a complex and difficult part of many divorces, and a sound postnuptial agreement can prevent unnecessary conflict and hostility in the future.
- Potential inheritance - Spouses who anticipate receiving a sizable inheritance may want to ensure that it remains their sole property in the event of a divorce. Although an inheritance is generally presumed to be the property of the inheriting spouse, certain behaviors like commingling can complicate ownership. A postnuptial agreement can simplify matters.
What Can a Postnuptial Agreement Include?
Many of the things couples choose to include in their postnuptial agreement are related to the above situations. Other possible provisions include:
- Parameters for spousal support if the couple divorces
- Division of debts, including student loans accumulated during the course of the marriage
- What happens to shared assets if one spouse passes away
- Which spouse will pay for certain expenses during the marriage
- How much each spouse will contribute to joint savings or retirement accounts
- Which spouse will be responsible for managing the couple’s finances
A postnuptial agreement cannot address issues related to child support and child custody. These can only be addressed during a divorce or separation with the approval of an Illinois court....