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Do I Need a Postnuptial Agreement?

Posted on in Family Law

St. Charles family law attorneyMost couples do not enter into marriage thinking they are going to get a divorce. However, many married people do decide to split up for various reasons. Even if divorce seems unlikely, it is a good idea to make plans for how certain issues will be addressed if a marriage ever ends. A postnuptial agreement is a written agreement drafted between two married spouses or two people who have entered a civil union. This type of agreement functions as a legal contract, and it can outline what will happen to the couple's assets if they separate or get divorced. It may also decide whether either party will receive spousal maintenance (alimony), and it can address what will happen with marital property after the death of one spouse. A postnuptial agreement is similar to a prenuptial agreement (or “prenup”), except it is created after a couple gets married rather than before they tie the knot.

Pros and Cons of Postnuptial Agreements

One of the main reasons a couple creates a postnuptial agreement is to ensure that assets such as property, finances, and even debts are distributed equally after a divorce. Making decisions about ownership of property ahead of time can help avoid conflict during the divorce process. A postnuptial document can also be helpful if children are involved, as it may be used to ensure that they have financial security for their future. For example, if your children want to attend college or a trade school, a set amount of marital assets can be set aside to go toward their tuition, room, and board.   

While a postnuptial agreement can be beneficial, it can also present problems, especially if a spouse signs the agreement without fully understanding the terms. In some cases, a person may even sign an agreement against their will or after being coerced into doing so by their spouse. This can complicate the divorce process later if a spouse tries to contest the agreement.

Drafting a postnup agreement can also cause feelings of resentment between spouses, especially if either spouse thinks their partner is expecting to get a divorce down the road. In some cases, spouses may use a postnuptial agreement to provide reassurance to one spouse after the other has been unfaithful, but due to the strong emotions involved in these matters, the agreement may end up complicating what was already a difficult breakup. For these reasons, spouses should be sure they fully understand the terms of a postnup and their rights if they cannot repair their relationship and decide to divorce.

Contact a St. Charles Family Law Attorney

If you and your spouse are considering a postnuptial agreement, it is important to draft an agreement that meets all legal requirements and clearly outlines the decisions you wish to make. In addition, each spouse should consult with their own attorney to ensure that their rights are protected. Our experienced Algonquin postnup lawyer can help you draft an agreement that meets your needs. Call 847-428-7725 today for a free consultation.

 

<p">Sources:

https://www.marriage.com/advice/postnuptial-agreements/

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2087&ChapterID=59

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