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naperville prenuptial agreement lawyerThe majority of couples who decide to get married envision a  life together forever. They often imagine having a family, making memories, and growing old together. They may also feel that any discussion about a prenuptial agreement deflates all the romance out of planning their wedding, or they may think that having a prenup means that you do not believe your marriage will last.

The reality is, however, that almost 50 percent of all first marriages end in divorce. That rate is even higher – 60 percent – for second marriages. And if it is your third marriage, national statistics say you have a 73 percent chance the marriage will fail. Prenuptial agreements can make a significant difference if a couple does end up getting a divorce, saving time and money, and avoiding contentious divorce negotiations.

But We Are Not Rich

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Wheaton prenup attorneyPrenuptial agreements are valuable legal tools that can serve a variety of purposes. Unfortunately, many people misunderstand what a prenuptial agreement is and why a spouse would ever want to sign a “prenup.” Some even believe that signing a prenuptial agreement means that a person thinks their marriage is doomed to fail. Fortunately, the misinformation and myths about prenuptial agreements are slowly being replaced by more educated opinions. Research shows that prenuptial agreements are becoming increasingly popular – especially among younger couples. If you are interested in drafting a prenuptial agreement before tying the knot, consider the following tips for bringing up the idea to your partner.

Start Slowly and Do Not Pressure Your Spouse Into an Immediate Answer

If you want to get a prenuptial agreement, but you do not know whether your partner agrees, you may be unsure of how to broach the subject. One tip is to make the conversation as low-pressure and friendly as possible. Pressuring your partner into signing a prenuptial agreement is not only a great way to start an argument, but it may also lead to accusations of coercion, which may cause the document to be invalid.

You may want to start by casually mentioning that you read about how prenups are becoming more popular in recent years. This may be a good way to get your spouse’s opinion on the subject without outright asking for a prenup. You may be surprised to learn that he or she is more open to the idea than you assumed.

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Naperville family law attorneysFor many years, prenuptial agreements were largely considered to be necessary only for the super-rich. Today, however, more and more couples are considering using agreements like these. In fact, according to a survey conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, more than half of family lawyers who responded said that they had seen an increase in requests for prenuptial agreements from the generation known as “millennials” (roughly aged 18-34).

There are a number of reasons why millennials might see fit to use prenuptial agreements, including the fact that they are getting married for the first time at a higher average age compared to previous generations. This means that they generally have more time to accumulate assets, debts, and other obligations before getting married.

If you are soon to be married and you are considering a prenuptial agreement, there are five good reasons why such an agreement might be a good option:

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Naperville prenuptial agreement lawyersMore and more people are beginning to understand the vast benefits a prenuptial or premarital agreement can offer an engaged couple. Prenuptial agreements, or prenups, are not just for celebrity couples or the rich. Just as a person who buys car insurance does not intend to get into an accident, signing a prenup does not mean that either party intends for the marriage to end. Prenuptial agreements protect both parties’ property rights in the event that the marriage does end in divorce, but can also provide other benefits aside from those gained during divorce. It is very important, however, that individuals creating a prenuptial agreement abide by the criteria set forth by Illinois law. A prenup that does not meet these criteria can become invalidated and essentially worthless at the time of divorce.

Soon-to-Be-Spouses Must Be Honest About Finances

One of the most essential elements of a valid prenuptial agreement is a full disclosure of property and assets from both parties. Couples must list all of their property and debt as part of the prenup before decisions can be made about how that property and debt should be divided if the marriage ends. If one or both spouses were dishonest in their financial reporting during the creation of the agreement, it is possible that the prenup could be thrown out during divorce.

There Must Not Be Duress, Coercion, or Mental Incapacitation

As with any legal contract, a prenuptial agreement must be entered into voluntarily. If one spouse is forced into signing a prenup or only agrees to the prenup because of an ultimatum, the document may be considered invalid. Couples also cannot be mentally incapacitated at the time of signing. For example, if one spouse had been drinking at the time of agreeing to the prenup, it could be invalidated. Of course, it can sometimes be challenging to prove that an individual was not of sound mind when he or she signed a prenuptial agreement. Illinois does not require parties entering into a prenuptial agreement to retain individual legal counsel, but doing so is highly recommended.

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Naperville prenuptial agreement lawyerThose getting married who want to protect their financial rights often choose to sign a prenuptial agreement.  Prenuptial agreements, also called “prenups” or premarital agreements can be to protect assets including real estate or a family-owned business in the event of divorce. Signing a prenup does not mean that a couple plans to divorce just as someone who buys car insurance does not intend to get into a wreck. Prenuptial agreements are a type of contract which will help determine how assets and debt is divided and whether or not spousal maintenance is awarded during divorce. There are several things which can invalidate a premarital agreement, however. If you are considering using a prenuptial agreement, make sure it meets the criteria set by Illinois law. Prenuptial agreements which do not meet the requirements or contain invalidating provisions may be thrown out entirely during a divorce.

Parties Must Willingly Sign Prenup

One of the most important requirements of a valid premarital agreement is the willfulness of each party.  If one of the parties was pressured or coerced into the agreement, it may be considered invalid. For example, if one member of the couple threatens harm to the other unless he or she agrees to the prenup, the document will not be legally enforceable. Furthermore, a prenup can be invalidated if a party was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or otherwise not in the proper frame of mind when agreeing to the document. 

Documents Must Be Properly Executed

Prenuptial agreements must be physically written down and signed by both parties to the marriage. Couples will generally need four signed copies of their prenup to be kept by each spouse and their legal representation. A valid prenuptial agreement must contain an itemized list of all of the couple’s assets, property, and debt. Failure to be transparent about finances can completely nullify a prenup. If one or both parties does not disclose all of these items, undervalues assets, or is otherwise dishonest about finances, the prenup may be worthless.

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