Do I need a prenup in Illinois?
The Illinois Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (750 ILCS 10/1, et seq.) governs prenuptial agreements in the state of Illinois. Premarital agreements do not need to be witnessed or filed with any governmental agencies or courts, but they must be in writing and signed by both parties. Prenuptial agreements are in effect only if the parties get married. If the marriage never happens, any prenup is void. Prenuptial agreements can be amended or revoked after marriage, in writing, agreed to by both parties.
Whether or not to create a premarital agreement can be an awkward or difficult conversation to have, but it’s an important part of making sound financial decisions as you combine your homes, incomes, savings, debts, and other assets of your separate lives.
What does a prenup do?
A premarital agreement can serve a number of purposes depending on your future goals or family situation.
Your agreement can specify that assets or debts from before the marriage remain separate, or declare them to be joint marital property if that’s the agreement. Deciding how your assets are preserved, combined, or divided is often very important to those who have children from a previous relationship. Your premarital agreement can keep assets separate in order to provide for your children. Business owners should also consider a prenuptial agreement in order to protect their businesses from the potential of involvement in a future divorce.
While nobody gets married with the intention to divorce someday, a premarital agreement can reduce the expense and stress of potential divorce, so many couples choose to create an agreement to provide peace of mind.
Your agreement can address maintenance (alimony) in many ways – whether or not it will be paid, the amount, and the duration of time it will be paid. Death benefits or life insurance policies, agreements to execute wills and trusts, and other agreements in the case of the death of a spouse can also be addressed in a prenuptial agreement.
Should I have my own lawyer for this or can we share?
Each party should be represented by their own attorney. An attorney can only represent one side of a couple drafting a premarital agreement, which means that if your future spouse is represented, the attorney will be required to advocate for your spouse’s protection in the agreement, not yours. Do not sign a prenup without reviewing it with your own attorney.
Can our prenup limit child support or guarantee custody?
Prenups are powerful instruments, but they cannot be used to determine custody of children you may have, allocate parenting time or responsibility, or set or limit child support in the event of a divorce. Family courts will ignore any language in a premarital agreement related to children of the marriage.
What if one party is hiding something?
There are instances in which a prenup may not be upheld in an eventual divorce, and an attorney can help you navigate this.
- Duress: If a spouse signing was deprived of their free will to choose to sign the agreement, or was not aware they could consult their own attorney before signing it, courts may determine that the agreement is not valid.
- Fraud: If one spouse concealed assets or otherwise committed fraud at the time that the prenuptial agreement was signed, it may be ruled invalid.
- Unconscionability: An unreasonably one-sided prenuptial agreement may not be upheld by future court rulings.
What if we’re already married?
If you’d like the protection offered by a premarital agreement but you’re already married, consult an attorney for your options to draft a post-nuptial agreement. With the agreement of both spouses, an agreement governing all of the points above can be created after you’re already married.
How much does it cost to get a prenup?
Your consultation with a Pro Legal Care LLC attorney is free of charge, so you can begin the process of researching your options without a fee. The attorney will go over your options and learn more about your family’s situation and provide you with the best path forward. You can schedule your free initial consultation by calling us today at (815) 200-8802 or requesting an appointment online.