How A Prenuptial Or Postnuptial Agreement Can Provide For You
A prenuptial agreement, also referred to as a premarital agreement, is not ideal for all soon-to-be-wed couples. However, a prenuptial agreement should be a consideration for many, especially those with substantial property or obligations from prior marriages. Financial disputes are a leading source of tension in most marriages, and so a premarital agreement eliminates a potential source of future conflict. A postmarital agreement works in a similar way. Whether you are looking to build your marriage on the best possible foundation or strengthen your relationship, a postmarital agreement may be an option. These pacts may also improve your legal position should your marriage later deteriorate.
At Reich, Jumbeck, Stole & Reeb, we can give you the tools you need to build a successful marriage and, if the need arises, an equitable divorce. Our family law attorneys take the time to listen to both your hopes and your fears, then take the legal steps necessary to help you achieve your goals.
What A Prenuptial Agreement Does
A prenuptial agreement is just one factor that a judge may consider when dividing a marital estate. Pragmatically, most judges give these covenants considerable weight, as long as they are not manifestly unfair.
An agreement is not unfair simply because it favors one spouse over the other. Similarly, an agreement is not unfair if one spouse had a lawyer and the other did not. That being said, a 60/40 split is much more palatable to a judge than an 80/20 division, and if only one spouse is represented by counsel, the agreement should include clear language that the other spouse has the right to an attorney.
It is uncommon for an Illinois court to rule that a spouse was coerced into signing an agreement. Over 50 years ago, the Illinois Supreme Court defined coercion as a condition where one is induced by a wrongful act or threat of another to make a contract under circumstances which deprive him of the exercise of his free will. No matter how extreme the pressure, there is always nearly some element of free will remaining.
Why Have A Prenuptial Agreement?
Most people make a prenuptial agreement (also known as a premarital agreement) to ensure that the children from a first marriage inherit property, as opposed to children from a subsequent marriage. Others want to protect non-marital property, such as a family business, because although Illinois law defines marital and non-marital property, the judge does have discretion, in some cases, to reallocate assets.
If you have a legacy to protect, it is important to do everything legally possible to protect that legacy and thus help avoid future regret. Nearly everyone has a will, or at least acknowledges the need for a will. Think of a prenuptial agreement as a will that takes effect if the marriage breaks up.
Dial 815-770-2669 And Get Started
A premarital or postmarital agreement can make your relationship stronger and give you additional peace of mind. If you have property you want the next generation to enjoy, call the family law attorneys at Reich, Jumbeck, Stole & Reeb for a consultation at 815-770-2669, or send us an email to get in touch.