Prenuptial agreements might not qualify as romantic, but engaged couples in Illinois have much to gain by defining the terms of a hypothetical divorce. These contracts allow people to establish how marital assets and debts will be divided in case the marriage ends. By negotiating the terms during a happy point in the relationship, people might avoid making emotional decisions when under stress in the future.
These agreements are not just appropriate for the wealthy. People of any income level have an interest in preventing prolonged disputes over money or even pets if a relationship goes sour. The law also generally protects people from contracts that include unreasonable terms such as prohibiting weight gain or ruling out the possibility of paying child support.
Couples should strive to prepare an agreement with a framework for an equitable financial split. To limit the possibility of a judge overriding a prenuptial agreement, both people who sign the contract should have access to independent legal advisers. Ideally, the future spouses will complete the agreement well in advance of the wedding day. A prenuptial agreement executed days or only hours before a wedding might crumble later in court under accusations of coercion.
Evidence so far does not suggest that prenuptial agreements raise the risks of divorce. Marriages continue or end for many reasons, and a person who needs advice about family law issues could consult an attorney. Legal information about rights to marital property, prenuptial agreements or child custody law could empower a person when making long-term decisions. An attorney might prepare the court documents necessary to initiate and complete a divorce. In a contentious case, an attorney may be able to manage communications with the former spouse to buffer the person from confrontations. With legal support, a person might protect parental and financial interests.