No one gets married to get divorced. But sometimes unforeseeable things happen, and divorce winds up being the best option for a family. As divorce law has developed over the years, so have surrounding areas of the law. One such area is the law related to premarital agreements, which are also sometimes called prenuptial agreements or “prenups.”
Every couple's situation is different, and even within a relationship the individuals in a couple have different needs and interests. If you are considering a premarital agreement or your significant other is requesting that you sign one, you should seek out legal advice from an attorney of your own who has your interests at heart. The basics of such agreements are explained in Illinois law.
The Illinois Uniform Premarital Agreement Act
Premarital agreements in Illinois are governed by state statute. The statute defines a premarital agreement as “an agreement between prospective spouses made in contemplation of marriage and to be effective upon marriage.” These agreements must be in writing and must be signed by both prospective spouses. One interesting fact about these agreements is that, unlike normal contracts, they are enforceable without consideration. Consideration is a term from contract law, and in very basic terms it means that for a contract to be valid either both sides have to get something out of it or both sides have to give something up. Since that is not required in premarital agreements, they can be fairly one-sided. That is why its important for both prospective spouses to have their own attorneys.
What Can a Premarital Agreement Cover in Illinois?
The statute limits what can be included in these agreements. The prospective spouses are allowed to contract with regards to:
- The rights and obligations of each of the parties in any of the property of either or both of them;
- The right to buy, sell or otherwise manage and control property;
- Who gets property upon separation, death, or other events;
- Whether or not spousal support will be awarded, and, if so, how much;
- The creation of estate planning tools to carry out the provisions of the agreement;
- How death benefits from a life insurance policy will be disbursed;
- Which law will govern the agreement; and
- Any other matters that don’t violate public policy or other laws.
Premarital Agreements are Not Just an Issue for the Wealthy
USA Today recently reported on premarital agreements and how, despite common perceptions, they are not just an issue for wealthy people. While obviously people who are going into a marriage with substantial wealth may be more inclined to want such an agreement, they are not the only ones who can benefit.
Couples who plan to keep some of their financial assets separate, regardless of their net worth, may also benefit from such an agreement. Those who already have premarital obligations to children from outside the relationship can also benefit. Additionally, any engaged couple can benefit from the hard and necessary premarital discussion about money that has to be had in order to intelligently enter into one of these agreements.
Call Sullivan Taylor & Gumina, P.C.
If you are planning a wedding and are just now considering whether a premarital agreement is right for you, or if you are considering divorce and have questions about what effect your already signed premarital agreement will have on you, call Sullivan Taylor & Gumina, P.C.. Our experienced Illinois family law attorneys can answer your questions and help you take the right next steps for your situation. Call today for an appointment. Our number is (630)665-7676.