Money issues and communication troubles are two of the top three reasons most couples get divorced. As such, planning for the future and for any complications down the road may be the best way to provide both parties with peace of mind and prevent disastrous and painful divorces. There are multiple ways a couple can protect their futures, while still advocating for a strong and lasting marriage.
Prenuptial agreements and post-nuptial agreements both offer couples varying levels of protection and security throughout their relationship, drafted to address the specific needs of the couple. Understanding the differences between them can help couples choose the agreement that is best for them and their futures.
Benefits of a Prenuptial Agreement
While few couples enter into a marriage with divorce already in mind, the reality is that 39% of all marriages end in divorce. A prenuptial agreement can help couples protect their assets and define specific financial arrangements before their finances become entangled through marriage.
By definition, a prenuptial agreement is a contract that is entered into before marriage. Prenuptial agreements can be tailored to fit virtually any couple’s needs.
However, this contract often contains provisions for spousal support and the division of assets, should the couple divorce in the future. It also allows each party the ability to protect assets they held prior to entering into marriage. This could include property, debt, inheritances, and even savings. Some of the issues a prenuptial agreement could address include:
- Ownership of property after divorce
- Use of property upon divorce
- Division of assets after divorce
- Allocation of debt after a divorce
- Amount and duration of spousal support payments
- Obligations to create a will or trust
It is important to know, however, that while a prenuptial agreement may address spousal support, it cannot address child support or the allocation of parental responsibilities. In addition, a couple can amend or revoke their prenuptial agreement at any time after they’re married.
If you are considering a prenuptial agreement, it is important to have an experienced Barrington divorce attorney draft your agreement, to avoid any mistakes or pitfalls. Prenuptial agreements may not be enforced by the courts if they’re signed under duress, lack a full disclosure of assets and debt, or if they don’t meet specific legal requirements.
As such, hiring an attorney is a critical step to safeguarding your future.
Benefits of a Postnuptial Agreement
A postnuptial agreement in Illinois is similar to a prenuptial agreement, however, it is entered into after a couple has been married. When drafting a postnuptial agreement, both parties try to come to an agreement upon how property and other assets will be divided, should their marriage end in divorce.
The benefit to a postnuptial agreement is that the couple can arrive at this agreement when they’re both still in an amicable place and still want the best for the other person. There is often less turmoil and anger when discussing how to divide property and assets, and tensions are not as high as they are during a divorce.
Couples may choose to enter into a postnuptial agreement for many reasons, including:
- Creation of a business
- Separate property purchases
- Sudden inheritance
- Disproportionate debt
- Children from a previous marriage
- To obtain clarity on expectations during a separation
- Tool for reconciliation while the marriage is being repaired
- Prenuptial agreement revision
These agreements must be fair and equitable both when they’re made and when parties are seeking enforcement. In addition, both parties must have entered into this agreement in good faith and not under duress.
It is important to know, however, that a postnuptial agreement is not an equivalent to a divorce agreement. Even if you have a postnuptial agreement in place, things may have changed between when the postnuptial agreement was drafted and when the divorce agreement is being finalized.
However, having a postnuptial agreement can streamline the divorce process and keep divorce fees from piling up.
To improve the chances of your postnuptial agreement being approved and enforced by the courts, it is important to have an experienced Barrington divorce attorney on your side from the start. Your attorney can advise and guide you through the postnuptial draft process and help you determine if a postnuptial agreement is right for you.
Contact Our Barrington Divorce Attorneys
Your divorce may be the most difficult time in your life. However, with a little planning and an experienced Barrington Divorce Attorney on your side, you may navigate through these difficult waters more effectively.
To learn more about prenuptial agreements and postnuptial agreements, give our law office a call immediately at 866-420-5925 or fill out our confidential contact form for a free consultation with one of our experienced and compassionate Barrington prenuptial agreement lawyers. We are proud to serve clients at both our Crystal Lake and Barrington offices.