When people in Illinois get married, they often naturally believe that the marriage will be long-term. Unfortunately, not all marriages last, and in these situations, a prenuptial agreement can be immensely helpful. Creating a prenuptial agreement before a marriage can help a person protect himself or herself in the event of divorce down the road.
Some people feel that asking a future spouse to sign a prenup is not exactly the type of romantic conversation they would like to have. However, a prenup offers many benefits. For example, it protects a person's individual property, particularly if two people's assets happen not to be evenly balanced when they enter a marriage.
A prenup is also helpful in that it defines the couple's marital property. Marital property must be divided between the two parties during a divorce, while separate property does not have to be split. Prenuptial agreements additionally arrange the legal aspect in the event of either a marital dissolution or a death. It is important to make plans to take care of a surviving spouse.
Prenuptial agreements in Illinois can only be created for those who have not gotten married yet. However, people who are already married can still create a postnuptial agreement that spells out how their assets will be split if they decide to divorce in the future. Two divorcing individuals who lack either of these types of agreement can also participate in divorce negotiation or mediation in an effort to protect their best interests while avoiding the hassle of divorce litigation.
Source: Forbes, "Prenups: I Do Or Don't At Any Age", Neale Godfrey, Aug. 30, 2015