If you are in a happy marriage, divorce is the last thing that you want to think about. For that reason, many couples hesitate to discuss marital agreements. However, in some situations, having these difficult conversations can save you thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of your time. These legal contracts can help you feel at ease knowing that you have a plan for the unexpected.
Marital agreements can refer to several types of contracts between spouses. From cohabitation agreements to postnuptial contracts, a Cook County attorney can draft a marital agreement that fits your family’s needs. A well-versed attorney from Reidy Law Office LLC can help you determine what is right for you.
Marital agreements are a contract between spouses. Like any other contract, these agreements are enforceable in court unless a judge finds them to be invalid. Most courts will not invalidate a marital agreement without proof that the contract is unconscionable, was made under duress, or would leave one partner in such poor financial shape that they would have to rely on government assistance.
Illinois law has two requirements for a marital agreement to be valid. The agreement must be in writing and it must be signed by both parties voluntarily. Unless one party was threatened or coerced into signing the contract, or one party withheld crucial information from the other, most marital agreements will remain in force during a divorce.
Marital agreements are either signed before the wedding (usually called prenuptial agreements) or during a marriage. The timing and reasoning for these agreements may differ, but they otherwise function similarly.
A prenuptial agreement is a contract signed by both parties before a marriage. If the marriage does not occur, then the contract is void and unenforceable. These agreements are often meant to protect the assets that each person brings to the relationship. There are other overlooked reasons for a prenuptial agreement. For example, if you have children prior to your marriage you may consider a prenuptial agreement to save your family any fighting upon your death or if you were to divorce.
A couple that is already married can create a postnuptial agreement. Most often, these agreements are used to either separate property or protect a new asset. For instance, a person who starts a new business may have their spouse sign a postnuptial agreement releasing any claim to that company. Simultaneously, the postnuptial agreement might protect the spouse from the liabilities of the other if the business fails. If you start a business with a partner, both you and your partner should consider a postnuptial agreement with your individual spouses because if one partner gets divorced, the entire business could suffer.
Marital agreements can cover almost any issue or topic that a couple might wish to decide ahead of time. However, it cannot decide issues regarding child custody or child support, but they can choose the terms of their relationship and have them enforced in court if necessary. Spouses can agree to alimony, health insurance coverage, confidentiality agreements, fidelity clauses, and more.
For many couples, a marital agreement provides certainty and stability. If the relationship fails, both parties will know where they stand financially. Removing the burden of worrying about the future can allow a couple to enjoy each other and work on their marriage without fear that they may lose everything in a divorce.
Marital agreements should not be viewed negatively in a relationship. These contracts can preserve your assets in the future and provide financial stability after divorce. Our Cook County attorneys can help you further understand the role a marital agreement can play in your relationship. Call today to get started.