GUEST POST BY KELLIE ROSE BYLICA, ASSOCIATE ATTORNEY WITH ANDERSON & BOBACK
Although some people may still view pre-nuptial agreements as unromantic, the reality of it is that they are practical. In a society that has a divorce rate of almost 50% and nearly one in ten marriages end in the first five years, a pre-nuptial agreement can be a wise financial decision to make.
Also, as times have changed and many couples are getting married in their thirties and forties, people have generally established some kind of wealth for themselves and they want to protect it.
While there are many reasons to obtain a pre-nuptial agreement, these tend to be the most common:
Protect children from previous relationships.
As there are many divorces, there are also a lot of second marriages and many of those first marriages have children. Having a pre-nuptial agreement can assist with safeguarding certain assets for the children of the previous marriage or of the contemplated children of the second marriage.
Spark pivotal conversations between a couple about managing finances.
Although discussing finances can be a sensitive subject for some couples, it is an important aspect to all marriages. Each person should know where the other stands on how they want to manage their individual and joint finances before they walk down the aisle. Sometimes just having the conversation can be eye opening and can be a catalyst for one of the parties or the couple to manage their finances differently.
Protect your separate property.
Although in Illinois, the Court will view a person’s pre-marital property as their own, this distinction can become ambiguous if that separate or pre-marital property is co-mingled marital property. It is best to clarify these types of issues prior to a marriage.
Support your estate plan.
Many people work very hard to become financially successful with the hope that they will not need to work their whole lives and even have the possibility of helping family members or friends. A pre-nuptial agreement can be a good idea in laying the ground work for doing this, especially if it is a second marriage.
Clarify special agreements between the parties.
Many people don’t know how maintenance (formerly known as alimony) is calculated, or that upon divorce, a couple could have to divide any retirement plans/401K’s/Roth IRA’s, etc. that they have accumulated, even individually, throughout the marriage. Many couples take this into consideration and enter into special agreements to continue to support their current estate plan.
Reduce conflicts and save money if a divorce does occur.
Although a Judge will still have to review the pre-nuptial agreement and determine its validity, and whether or not it is conscionable, it can set a base for a divorce and resolve many issues now so they do not have to be litigated during a divorce.
For those contemplating a pre-nuptial agreement, it can be helpful to become familiar with the laws in your state. Knowing how assets and debts could be divided upon a divorce may be enough to necessitate a change in your lifestyle, or help you to make certain decisions throughout the marriage that will protect your assets.
For more information regarding pre-nuptial agreements in Illinois and whether or not a it’s right for your family, contact any of the attorneys at Anderson & Boback by calling 312-715-0870.