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Elmhurst family law attorney for prenuptial agreements

Prenuptial agreements: Are any other legal documents subject to more controversy and misunderstanding? Prenuptial agreements, also called premarital agreements or “prenups,” are legal contracts that a couple signs before getting married. Many people grossly misunderstand the purpose of a prenuptial agreement. They assume that only couples who do not believe in the longevity of their marriage would sign a prenuptial agreement or that prenups are only used by wealthy husbands to prevent their wives from pocketing their wealth.

In reality, drafting a mutually beneficial prenuptial agreement is one of the most responsible and practical steps you can take before getting married. Prenups serve a wide range of purposes, including protecting both spouses’ property rights, avoiding stressful litigation in the event of divorce, and describing how property should be distributed if a spouse passes away.

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postnuptial agreement, Elmhurst Family Law AttorneyTypically, when spouses decide to enter into a prenuptial (before marriage) or postnuptial (after marriage) agreement, the question is not whether an agreement is necessary or useful, but whether the agreement is drafted with your best interests in mind. A prenup or postnup is only an efficient tool when it supports your needs and protects your rights— otherwise, you are at risk for wasting a lot of time, energy, and money.

Ensuring a Successful Marital Agreement

Regardless of the type of marital agreement you decide to pursue, ensuring it is a successful one is paramount. The draft you create will determine your lifestyle in the event your marriage takes a turn for the worst, so the boundaries you establish in your agreement hold a significant amount of power. Ask the following questions when determining whether or not your pre or postnup will serve your best interests:

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illinois-prenuptial-agreementThere is an assumption by many that premarital agreements, more commonly known as prenuptial agreements, are only necessary for the extremely wealthy, to preserve a inheritance, or for second marriages. This is not accurate. Especially with the new guideline maintenance laws coming into effect, premarital agreements are extremely important to protect against high maintenance (also known as alimony or spousal support) awards that could end up prejudicing the payor.

For example, starting in January 2015, if a court determines that an award of alimony is appropriate in your case, a husband or wife earning under $250,000 dollars per year could be liable for maintenance to their soon to be ex-spouse for 15 years or more. You could be liable for permanent maintenance. If your spouse does not work, you may end up paying them as much as 40% of your income. This is where a premarital agreement can protect you.

In a premarital agreement, you can create your own alimony guidelines. You can even bar the right of a spouse to receive maintenance under the right circumstances.

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