What Is a Postnuptial Agreement?
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.
Speak with a Kane County Postnuptial Agreement Lawyer
If you are interested in a postnuptial agreement and want to learn more about how one could benefit you, schedule a free initial consultation with a St. Charles family law attorney at Shaw Family Law, P.C.. We have experience drafting customized prenuptial and postnuptial agreements that meet the unique needs of our clients and we strive to make the process easy and straightforward. Contact our office today at 630-584-5550 to make your appointment.