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When Should You Consider a Postnuptial Agreement?

 Posted on February 12, 2024 in Family Law

Naperville Family Law Attorney
A postnuptial agreement, also known as a postmarital agreement, is a written contract entered into by a married couple that outlines what happens in the event of divorce or death of a spouse. While not necessarily a romantic topic, postnups can provide important legal and financial protections for both parties if done thoughtfully. An Illinois family law lawyer can provide guidance on when you might want to discuss a postnuptial agreement with your spouse.

Changes in Financial Circumstances

One of the most common reasons couples pursue postnuptial agreements is a significant change in their incomes or assets. For example, perhaps one spouse will inherit substantial money or property during the marriage. Or maybe one spouse decides to start a business, putting them at higher risk of lawsuits. Dramatic increases in earnings can also prompt couples to spell out in writing what happens if the higher wage earner dies or the couple splits up. A postnup allows you to thoughtfully decide on a fair distribution of assets instead of leaving it solely up to divorce laws in your state.

Second or Blended Marriages

Those entering second marriages often consider postnups due to having children from previous relationships. The agreement provides a way to ensure assets are divided equitably and children from prior marriages are financially protected. Postnups are also commonly used when one spouse paid child support or alimony to an ex, in order to keep those existing obligations separate from the new marriage. Blended families have complex financial considerations, so reviewing options with an attorney makes sense.

Protecting Significant Assets and Property

Maybe you or your spouse owned valuable real estate, a family business, artwork, jewelry, or other assets before getting married or inheriting them during the marriage. Postnups allow you to protect premarital assets and property brought into a marriage. You can specify in writing what happens to these assets if you eventually split, rather than leaving it to standard divorce law in your state. Even gifted and inherited assets acquired during marriage can usually be protected with clear agreements.

Preparing for Major Career Moves

Has your spouse ever considered going back to school, launching a business, becoming a stay-at-home parent or taking another career risk? Dramatic career changes often involve financial risks and benefits worth addressing upfront through contracts. Postnups allow for flexibility to explore new educational and professional directions while providing some security around worst-case outcomes. Maybe one spouse agrees to help cover baseline living expenses during a career transition or entrepreneurial venture. Or you agree how student debt or startup business debt will be handled.

When Trust or Commitment Wavers

While less romantic, some couples consider postnups after broken trust or when commitment wavers, even temporarily. Infidelity or addiction issues, for example, may lead the betrayed partner to request protections around assets and potential alimony or support. If you reconciled after a separation, a postnup can provide confidence to restart the relationship. Postnups negotiated fairly, with advice of a lawyer, can actually strengthen marriages by addressing real issues.

Contact a Naperville, IL Family Law Attorney

Major financial life changes often prompt questions around protecting assets and incomes in the event relationships unfortunately dissolve. Inheritances, blended families, career transitions, and trust issues similarly lead couples to explore postnups. Working with a DuPage County, IL family law lawyer can help you navigate this process. Call Pesce Law Group, P.C. at 630-352-2240 for a free consultation.

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