Pre-nuptial and Post-nuptial Agreements

Also called “Premarital Agreements”

Prenuptial agreements are contracts between two people who are going to get married. Through such a contract, the spouses can determine their own property rights in case the marriage ends in divorce, and control the costs of divorce. Premarital agreements are drafted and signed in advance, but aren’t legally binding until the marriage takes place.

While some people view prenuptial agreements as rather “unromantic,” there are several good reasons to consider one. Perhaps you already have children for whom you wish to provide in the event that your marriage doesn’t work out. For this reason, prenuptial agreements are often prepared in conjunction with estate planning documents, such as wills, trusts, and powers of attorney. For business owners, it may also be the ideal time to address the issue of succession planning.

Perhaps you have been divorced previously, and want to minimize the scope of the issues (such as maintenance, determination of marital an non-marital assets, etc.) and minimize the cost of attorney’s fees. A well-drafted prenuptial agreement can offer several important benefits: they prompt people to discuss financial issues prior to getting married (thus possibly preventing unpleasant discoveries and conflicts afterwards), and, when effective, they can prevent lengthy, expensive, and acrimonious divorce litigation.

Daniel J. Kollias has experience in family, estate planning, and business law. This expertise underlies our focus on drafting effective prenuptial agreements that will fully protect your rights. If you are considering preparing a prenuptial agreement in Cook, DuPage, or Kane County, or if you have been presented with a proposed premarital agreement and would like a comprehensive evaluation of it by an experienced attorney before signing, we are ready to help.

When spouses don’t have a prenuptial agreement, state law determines the division of their property in the event of a divorce. For example, in the absence of a valid premarital agreement, in Illinois the property acquired by spouses during a marriage would be presumptively marital property. Illinois divorce law mandates that such property be divided “equitably.” However, people may come into a marriage with vastly different amounts of property and/or debt, and may want to clarify who has control or ownership of those assets and liabilities, both during the marriage and in any post-divorce division. By signing a premarital agreement, spouses can replace the general provisions of the law with their own personal instructions, which may reflect their wishes in as much detail as they would like.

A prenuptial agreement must be signed voluntarily by both spouses, generally after full financial disclosure by both. The agreement may specify how each asset and debt of each spouse should be handled in case of divorce; it may also discuss the issue of spousal support—either providing for the amount and duration of any such support, or waiving it entirely.

However, some issues, such as the custody of children or child support, may not be decided through premarital agreements. An experienced attorney can help clients understand all the benefits and limitations of such contracts, and draft an agreement that will be both enforceable and thorough.

If you are considering a prenuptial agreement or face any issues related to such agreements in Wheaton, Wheaton, West Chicago, or nearby communities, please contact the discrete, experienced attorney Daniel J. Kollias.

We offer a free 30-minute initial consultation: to schedule one, please call (630) 407-1200, or complete our online intake form.