Archive for the ‘prenuptial agreement’ tag

Prenuptial Agreements for Second and Third Marriages

April 24th, 2015 at 6:04 pm

prenuptial agreement, prenup, Illinois family law attorneyWhether you are entering your first marriage or your fifth, it is important to protect your assets by signing a prenuptial agreement. A prenuptial agreement is a legal document that details your plans for your assets and support in the event of a death or a divorce. In Illinois, they are governed by the Illinois Uniform Premarital Agreement Act.

Prenuptial agreements are especially important for individuals entering second and subsequent marriages because they are entering into a new agreement after being previously married and divorce. In essence, a marriage is a contract and when signing a new marriage contract, one must consider the terms he or she is bound to by his or her previous divorce contract.

Without a prenuptial agreement, your new spouse may be automatically entitled to your assets. Likewise, you may be entitled to his or hers. Prenuptial agreements are recommended for any individual who is planning to enter a marriage, but especially for business owners and individuals who have significant assets. Although it can seem unromantic to ask your partner to sign a prenuptial agreement, it is a realistic, responsible way to ensure that you retain your assets in a divorce or your children from a prior relationship still receive an inheritance after you pass away. It also allows you to have a full and frank discussion with your fiancée about your priorities and finances prior to entering into the marriage

What May Be Included in a Prenuptial Agreement?

  • Designations about who may receive funds from your assets, such as your stocks, bonds, and financial accounts;
  • Money and property allocations to your children from a previous marriage or former spouse;
  • The beneficiaries of your retirement plan. If your current spouse opts to waive this right, you may instead name a former spouse or your child the beneficiary of your retirement plan after your death;
  • The amount of spousal support, if any, a spouse will receive in the event of a divorce;and
  • Each spouse’s responsibility to your jointly-accumulated or individually-held debts.

For a prenuptial agreement to be valid, both parties must fully disclose all of their assets and debts. If either party is later found to have withheld information or lied about his or her financial circumstances at the time the prenuptial agreement was signed, the agreement may be invalidated.

Terms that can not be legally enforced may not be included in a prenuptial agreement. These include lifestyle choices like the number of children a couple has, where they live, and how they spend their time. Only tangible issues, such as those regarding a couple’s finances and assets, may be written into a prenuptial agreement.

Divorce Attorneys in the Chicago Area

If you are considering getting married for the second, third, or subsequent time, contact Anderson & Associates, P.C. to discuss the importance of signing a prenuptial agreement. The skilled Chicago divorce attorneys at our firm understand the unique financial considerations that individuals entering second and subsequent marriages face. Do not get married again without a prenuptial agreement. Contact us today to set up your initial legal consultation in one of our firm’s five convenient locations: Schaumburg, Orland Park, Northbrook, Wheaton, and downtown Chicago.

Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements: How You Can Protect Yourself and Your Assets

January 31st, 2015 at 2:58 pm

postnuptial agreement in Chicago, Illinois divorce attorneysWhen a couple marries, they do not assume that their marriage will end in divorce. The reality of modern American marriage, however, is that approximately 40 to 50 percent of marriages in the United States end in divorce, with higher rates for second and subsequent marriages and certain age groups.

With a divorce usually comes the division of the couple’s property. For many individuals, this can pose a number of problems. An individual might have entered his or her marriage with significant assets such as a home or a successful business. One might also have children from a previous marriage who must be supported financially. In cases like these, opting to sign a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement is a way for a couple to make a plan for their assets and finances in the event of a divorce or a death.

Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements can contain virtually identical language. The difference between the two agreements is when the agreement is signed: prenuptial agreements are signed before a couple marries and postnuptial agreements are signed after the wedding.

What is in a Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreement?

Generally, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements address  each partner’s finances and property. The following are examples of topics that may be covered:

  • Each partner’s debts and other financial obligations and if the other is responsible for these in the event of his or her death;
  • Issues related to spousal maintenance, such as the length of time one may receive it and the amount that he or she may receive;
  • The couple’s jointly-owned property and is distribution in a divorce;
  • Each partner’s individual property; and
  • Each partner’s estate planning.

It is important to remember that prenuptial and postnuptial agreements aren’t just for the wealthy.  This type of agreement is also attractive to individuals entering their second or later marriages. This is because older parties may have children from prior relationships and an individual who has been divorced previously may have obligations to his or her former spouse that must be considered. However, any couple who is getting married should consider signing such an agreement.

A Valid Agreement

The terms in a prenuptial agreement are only valid under certain conditions. These are contained in the Illinois Uniform Premarital Agreement Act. Your attorney can work with you to draft an agreement that will protect you and your assets in court or, if you have already signed an agreement, help you determine if it is susceptible to being found invalid in by a court. Any premarital agreement made under the following circumstances is not valid and cannot be enforced:

  • Either spouse did not voluntarily enter into the agreement, including if the spouse was threatened or coerced; or
  • A spouse did not fully disclose all of his or her assets or debts and the other spouse could not have had knowledge of the other spouse’s assets or debts (unless if the spouse voluntarily waived the disclosure).

Postnuptial agreements, on the other hand, are governed by the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act.  The standards that apply to a postnuptial agreement depend on when the agreement is being signed and the agreement’s purpose.  If you are considering entering into a postnuptial agreement, it is important to consult with an experienced attorney who understands the intricacies of drafting valid postnuptial agreements.

Experienced Divorce Lawyers in Illinois

Anderson & Associates, P.C. proudly serves clients in Chicago and will give your case the care and dedication it deserves. If you are considering signing a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, contact our office to discuss your options with one of our firm’s experienced Chicago, IL divorce attorneys. We have five offices in Northbrook, Schaumburg, Wheaton, Orland Park, and downtown Chicago.

A Premarital Option for Gay Couples Contemplating Marriage

January 29th, 2015 at 2:36 pm

premarital option for gay couples, Chicago family law attorneysThe United States Supreme Court recently granted certiorari in four same-sex marriage cases. The Court will decide whether it is unconstitutional for states to ban same-sex marriage, and whether the Constitution requires states to recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere.

Currently, a majority of states permit same-sex marriage, including Illinois. (Illinois’ marriage equality law took effect on June 1, 2014.)

Gay couples have the right to marry in Illinois–and the right to divorce. For that reason, gay couples, like straight couples, may want to consider their options for mitigating the consequences of marriage dissolution. One of these options is a premarital agreement, which is a written contract outlining how marital assets will be divided if the marriage ends in divorce (or legal separation).

Executing a Premarital Agreement

The agreement must be written and signed by both spouses. The contract is not valid if either party was coerced, or if evidence exists of duress or fraud. If the couple wishes to revoke or amend the agreement, which is enacted upon marriage, they must voluntarily sign a separate agreement expressing those changes.

A basic prenuptial agreement includes information pertaining to:

  • Marital assets, which is generally property that the couple acquires during marriage;
  • Non-marital assets, which is includes property only one spouse possessed before the marriage;
  • How marital and non-marital property will be divided in the event of a divorce;
  • Whether or not each party should write a will reflecting the terms of the premarital agreement;
  • A party’s responsibility to make maintenance payments (alimony); and
  • The party’s choice of law to govern how the agreement will be interpreted (e.g., does Illinois law or another state’s law apply).

While the agreement may address maintenance, the court does not have to accept the parties’ terms on this issue under certain conditions. For example, if the parties agreed to eliminate alimony, but one party would suffer undue hardship due to unforeseen circumstances, the court may require the other party to make payments.

Executing a Postmarital Agreement

If you opted against a premarital agreement, it is not too late to define each spouse’s financial rights and responsibilities. A couple can achieve similar results by entering into a postmarital agreement after they marry. A postmarital agreement must also be in writing and voluntarily signed by both parties.

Marriage is stressful enough without having to contemplate what might happen in the event of divorce. If you are considering a premarital (or postmarital) agreement, contact one of our Illinois family law attorneys today at (312) 345-9999. The law firm of Anderson & Associates, P.C. will help you execute a valid contract with beneficial terms. We can assist clients from our Illinois offices located in Schaumburg, Wheaton, Northbrook, Orland Park, and downtown Chicago.

The Purpose of Prenuptial Agreements

May 19th, 2013 at 1:25 pm

Many people think that prenuptial agreements are reserved for those who are extremely wealthy. However, this is not necessarily true. A prenuptial agreement sets forth in writing the rights that each spouse has to non-marital assets in the event of a separation, divorce, or demise of a spouse.

Prenuptial agreement Theresa  5-1If you have things that you have owned since before the marriage such as family heirlooms, you can ensure that those items are passed to other family members or your children by protecting them in the prenuptial agreement. If you are married later in life, after you have built financial wealth, you may want to define who will be left with those monies if you were to pass away.

A premarital agreement may also be a consideration if you own a business. If you have built and owned this business before your marriage, it can be covered in the premarital agreement. This will guarantee that in the case of a divorce, your former spouse will not receive any control over or access to the business. A premarital agreement can also protect your spouse from your debt that was accrued before the marriage.

While a prenuptial agreement cannot limit the amount of money that can be ordered in matters such as child support, it can put some limitations on spousal support. Many states are now allowing prenuptial agreements to determine the amount of alimony that will be paid, although these clauses were considered unenforceable in the past.

If you have questions regarding what can be covered in a prenuptial agreement, or if you should have one at all, a qualified Illinois family law attorney can assist you with those questions and advise you on the terms that you should set forth for your future spouse.