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Important legal points about prenuptial agreements in Illinois

A couple who gets married in Illinois might have significant assets that they want to protect, or other concerns that necessitate considering prenuptial agreements, also known as premarital agreements. While some individuals may have a basic understanding of what these agreements are, those who are getting married need to have a full grasp of these agreements to make sure that they know what they are getting into before, during and after the marriage. Knowing the definitions of the terms, the formalities and the content of the agreement are all key factors.

The prenuptial agreement is simply an agreement that the spouses come to as they plan the marriage. It will go into effect once they are married. Property refers to an interest. This can be in the present or future, legal or equitable, vested or contingent in personal property or real property. It will include earnings and income. With a prenuptial agreement, it must be written and signed by the parties. It will be enforceable without consideration.

When it comes to content, the following can be part of the prenuptial contract: the rights and obligations in a property regardless of where it is located or when it was acquired; the right to control, sell, mortgage, dispose of, assign, consume and perform numerous other acts with the property; disposition of the property if the couple separates, dissolves the marriage, if one of the spouses dies or with any other event that might occur; modifying or eliminating support to the other spouse; the creation of a will, trust or other agreement; ownership rights of death benefits from an insurance policy; other matters that include the personal rights and obligations as long as they do not violate the law and cannot lead to a criminal punishment.

Divorce legal issues can be complicated especially if there were prenuptial agreements signed prior to the marriage. These agreements might not have been fully understood by the signer or there could have been coercion involved. The person who signed the agreement might seek to have the agreement nullified or the person who has the assets that are being protected might need help in enforcing the agreement. Regardless, those who have questions or concerns about a prenuptial agreement whether it has to do with assets, property division or any other issue should discuss the case with a family law attorney.

Source: ilga.gov, "Premarital Agreements, Sec. 2, 3, 4," accessed on May 10, 2016

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