Naperville family law attorneysYou have probably heard of a prenuptial agreement before. Although they are often misunderstood, prenuptial agreements can be a valuable tool for spouses who take their property and financial rights seriously. Prenuptial agreements protect both spouses’ property rights in the event of a divorce and also provide an effective way for engaged couples to ensure that they are on the same page regarding property and finances before getting married. When a couple decides to address property and debt after they have already gotten married, they may choose to draft a postnuptial agreement.

Issues That Can Be Addressed by a Postnuptial Agreement

Postnuptial agreements are generally used to establish arrangements for how a married couple’s assets and debts should be handled if the marriage ends in divorce. In a postnuptial agreement, a spouse may specify that a certain asset is exempt from asset division during divorce so that they will not risk losing the property.

Spouses may choose to address issues of spousal maintenance in their postnuptial agreement as well. Sometimes called alimony or spousal support, spousal maintenance refers to the payments that a lesser earning spouse makes to the higher-earning spouse in order to mitigate the negative financial effects of divorce on the recipient spouse. Some spouses include a spousal maintenance payment arrangement that would go into effect if the marriage ends in divorce. Other spouses use their postnuptial agreement to waive their right to spousal maintenance entirely. Information about how retirement accounts and the marital home will be managed in the event of divorce are also commonly included in postnuptial agreements.

It is important to note that a postnuptial agreement or prenuptial agreement cannot address anything that has to do with child custody, officially called the “allocation of parental responsibilities,” or visitation, called “parenting time.” By law, parenting matters can only be addressed at the time of a divorce.

Postnuptial Agreements Must Meet Certain Criteria

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act requires marital agreements to meet certain criteria. The agreement must contain a full and accurate disclosure of both spouse’s assets and debts. If a spouse is dishonest about his or her finances and the postnuptial agreement is based on incomplete information, the contact may be invalid. Postnuptial agreements must also not contain "unconscionable" or extremely unfair provisions. Lastly, both spouses must fully understand and agree to the postnuptial agreement. If a court learns that a spouse was coerced or forced into signing a postnuptial agreement, it is likely that the document will not be legally enforceable.

Contact a Naperville Marital Agreement Lawyer

For help with drafting a premarital or postnuptial agreement, or for other family law needs, contact Pesce Law Group, P.C. Call our office at 630-352-2240 today for a free consultation. We will provide the guidance you need to protect your rights and your best interests.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2087&ChapterID=59

https://www.thespruce.com/postnuptial-agreements-2302012