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IL ivorce lawyerPrenuptial and postnuptial agreements have become much more common in today’s society. Many attribute this to the median age at which most couples get married. Since 1990, the average age for marriage has risen from 26 to 29 for men and 23 to 27 for women. Rather than getting married right out of high school or college, as most people did in the 20th century, many couples opt to get married later in life. Not only does this add a level of age maturity to each spouse, but it also allows for more capital to be built up by each individual before getting married. As a result, many couples have decided to sign prenuptial or postnuptial agreements to better protect themselves in their marriage.

What Makes Up the Agreement?

A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement is a legally binding contract that states the division of assets between each spouse. This includes their finances coming into the marriage, what property each spouse has, and how they would split their home in case of a divorce. One of the main aspects missing from a prenup and postnup is child custody. While it is clearly impossible to plan this ahead of marriage if a couple does not have children yet, it is also illegal to do so. Child custody cannot be determined by the parents. This decision is entirely up to the court.

Common Reasons for the Contract

While getting married at an older age does have a correlation with signing a pre- or post-nuptial agreement, there are various other reasons why couples decide to choose the legally safe route.:

  • A Previous Marriage - For couples who have been married before and will be bringing previous “baggage” into the marriage, a legal agreement is often signed as a precautionary measure.
  • Wealth/Debt Division - Many spouses come from different economic statuses. This can mean one person has a substantial amount of wealth or debt. In cases such as these, many couples will decide that a prenup or postnup is the best decision.
  • Only One Spouse Is Working - In case of a future divorce, some couples decide to have a safety net in place for the non-working spouse. Making this decision before or right after getting married can eliminate hashing things out if divorce is in their future and emotions run high.

Contact an Illinois Attorney for Legal Assistance

Signing a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement is a good way to protect you and your spouse in the future. If you have decided to take these precautionary measures, a skilled marital agreement attorney is crucial to best divide and protect your assets. Contact our Kane County prenuptial and postnuptial attorneys for a free consultation at 630-584-5550 to help you and your spouse decide what is best for your future.

 

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Illinois divorce lawyerUnder some states’ laws, individuals may waive their right to seek spousal maintenance in their divorces. When an individual or couple chooses to waive this right, they typically include it in their prenuptial agreement. Illinois is not one of these states. In Illinois, spousal maintenance is a right just like child support is a right. However, there are limits to this right. Unless the couple agrees to it, a judge cannot order unallocated spousal maintenance after their divorce. In other words, a judge must include a specific dollar figure in a couple’s spousal maintenance order.

How Is Spousal Maintenance Determined in Illinois?

On January 1, 2015, Illinois’ current spousal maintenance law went into effect. This formula replaced the older way of determining spousal maintenance, which was a set of factors that courts could consider at their discretion to determine an appropriate maintenance amount and period of time over which it would be paid. Now, spousal maintenance is calculated according to a formula that takes both partners’ gross incomes and specific percentages of each to determine an appropriate maintenance amount, not unlike Illinois’ child support formula. The spousal maintenance formula is as follows:

Thirty percent of the higher earning spouse’s annual income minus 20 percent of the lower-earning spouse’s annual income equals the annual maintenance amount.

This formula is not applied to all cases. When a couple’s combined income is $250,000 per year or higher, the court may deviate from the formula to determine an appropriate maintenance amount. If the difference between the figures for the partners used in the formula plus the recipient’s gross income is more than 40 percent of the couple’s combined income, the maintenance amount is reduced to put it at 40 percent of their combined income.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_prenup.jpgAlthough the subject of prenuptial agreements spark ongoing controversy, the reality is such agreements can offer a range of benefits for both parties involved, should a divorce ever take place. When both parties are open and willing to discuss the potential advantages of arranging a prenup, the outcome can bring great peace of mind and provide a clear, organized game plan in the event the marriage comes to an end.

Key Areas to Address

The purpose of a prenup is to prepare for the management and protection of your assets, especially in the event that you and your spouse have difficulty agreeing on the division of those assets during a divorce. Due to the important nature of the agreement, it is crucial to identify which areas require attention as you begin the process of creating the contract. Some areas every couple needs to address include the following:

Debts - The reason for talking about debts with your future spouse is twofold; you both need to know about any existing financial obligations, and you both will also benefit from being transparent regarding any debts that are in your name before you tie the knot. Make a list of everything, including personal and bank-acquired loans, as well as any debts that may currently be in collections.

Assets - Assets are just as important to discuss as debts, as the subject of marital property can be a touchy one when a marriage doesn’t work out. You need to be clear on what you will do with any property or assets you acquire once you both are married. Should you divorce, will you split those belongings 50/50? If not, discuss any alternative options.

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