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What are Illinois married couples doing to prepare for a divorce?

When two people get married, the last thing on their minds is likely the possibility of getting divorced. They are ready to spend the rest of their lives together and share everything, but the reality that many Illinois folks have likely discovered is that this is not always the case. 

Despite the fact that about half of all marriages end in divorce, many people do not take steps to protect their individual assets before getting married by drawing up a prenuptial agreement. This can make the process of dividing property if and when two people split up quite challenging. However, a recent survey suggests that many couples are looking into postnuptial agreements as a way to allocate shared and individual assets.

The survey was conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and the results suggest there may be an increase in married couples who are drawing up these agreements. But the increase in postnuptial agreements may have less to do with couples planning on splitting up and more to do with the cultural shifts when it comes to marriage and divorce. 

For example, now that same-sex marriages are federally recognized, couples in these relationships already may need to go back and legally protect benefits and reallocate their assets. 

Many people are also getting married earlier in their relationships. In some cases, this can mean that there was not enough time to draw up a prenuptial agreement before a wedding. After the rush is over, it may be time to sit down and think through the logistical provisions for dividing up assets in the event of a divorce.

Preparing a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can help a couple separate out financial issues from other issues that married couples deal with. Knowing that these agreements are in place can help couples make decisions based less on money and financial security and more on what is best for a relationship. 

Source: USA Today, "Why postnups may be picking up," Kelley Holland, July 14, 2013

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