Basics of an Effective Chicago Prenuptial Agreement

A Chicago prenuptial agreement can establish an agreement between an engaged couple in contemplation of marriage. This agreement spells out how the couple will handle certain matters, such as how their assets, debts and incomes will be handled and what will happen if they get divorced or one of them dies. Knowing the basics of a Chicago prenuptial agreement, including how it is used, what provisions it covers and requirements to make it valid can help a person make an informed decision about whether to enter into a prenuptial agreement before marriage.

A prenuptial agreement is not only a mechanism for the wealthy. It can be used for a variety of reasons, including designating how certain property will be classified, maintaining certain property interests for children from a previous relationship or protecting a business interest. Prenuptial agreements can ensure that each spouse’s respective retirement account contributions are kept separate rather than treated as marital property that is subject to division. Creating an agreement before marriage ensures that a plan is already in place in case a couple later decides to end their relationship rather than having state laws to be imposed on them.

Prenuptial agreements can cover a wide variety of provisions and will be specific to each couple. They may include provisions related to whether spousal support will be paid after a divorce, what property will belong to what spouse that is owned at the time of marriage as well as what is acquired during the marriage, and the respective rights of the parties related to whether they can sell, give away, manage or otherwise dispose of property.

An enforceable prenuptial agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties. Additionally, the spouses should truthfully disclose their financial interests and debts before the marriage. The agreement should be entered into freely and not under duress. It is also a best practice for each spouse to be represented by independent legal counsel.