Pesce Law Group, P.C.

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DuPage County Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreement Attorneys

Lawyers for Marital Agreements in Naperville, IL

Responsible people obtain homeowners and auto insurance policies, even though they do not anticipate or desire a house fire or a car accident. In the same way, responsible spouses should obtain a premarital or postnuptial agreement, even though they do not anticipate or desire a divorce. Marital agreements remove a potential source of conflict--finances--before a dispute arises. These documents also give peace of mind in inheritance matters, especially when a subsequent marriage is involved. Because of their many benefits, Illinois law actively encourages marital agreements.

At Pesce Law Group, P.C., we understand that there is nothing romantic about a marital agreement, just like there is nothing romantic about a life insurance policy. But both these instruments are necessary cornerstones in a successful marriage. Our family law attorneys will prepare a concise, written document that is comprehensive, easy to understand, and legally enforceable.

The Law

Section 502 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act governs marital agreements. In a nutshell, a court will enforce both written and oral agreements if they are not "unconscionable." For example, a proposed property division can be unequal but not grossly one-sided, and inheritance provisions can be unusual, or even unique, but not illegal. If the judge finds the agreement unconscionable, the parties may have the opportunity to amend it.

A marital agreement can cover almost anything except for custody and visitation of minor children. However, it may address certain issues regarding child-rearing, such as religious preference. While informal, non-written agreements are enforceable in some circumstances, a concise, written document is always best. It is even better if both parties are either represented by counsel or expressly waive their right to an attorney.

Important Considerations

Beyond the legal concerns, there are several practical matters to consider when preparing a marital agreement:

  • Process: Sometimes, one spouse may draw up a marital agreement and ask the other spouse to sign it, while other times, the spouses may reach a general understanding and then approach an attorney to prepare a written document. Both these methods are perfectly normal.
  • Foundation: Both parties should provide a full financial disclosure, so they are both aware of all the agreement's ramifications.
  • Timing: Give the non-signing spouse plenty of time to consider the agreement. A rushed signature may be viewed as evidence of coercion.
  • Consistency: Wills, trusts, and other estate planning documents may need to be updated to reflect the terms in a marital agreement.

If the judge approves the agreement, it is enforceable both by court order and as a contract in a separate action.

A premarital or postmarital agreement strengthens your marriage. For assistance in this area, contact Pesce Law Group, P.C. at 630-352-2240 for a free consultation. Our attorneys have many years of experience.

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