What is a premarital agreement?
Marriage is both an emotional and legal undertaking. While an Illinois resident may initially find themselves drawn to another person on an emotional level, they must formalize their relationship through the legal process of marriage in order to be recognized by the state and thereby qualify for marriage-related benefits. Choosing to marry is thus a big decision. Those who decide to pursue marriage can and should speak with their prospective partners about whether they will enter into a premarital agreement.
Premarital agreements are contracts that individuals enter into with their prospective spouses. These contracts help the parties sort out financial and property-based matters that may get complicated in the event that the parties’ marriage ends in divorce. Through a premarital agreement the parties may stipulate what separate property each will retain if their marriage ends and how support may be structured if one party is in a stronger financial position than the other.
Like other contracts, premarital agreements must follow certain rules in order to be valid. The parties cannot coerce or trick each other into making agreements that are detrimental to each other. The agreements also must be signed and properly executed in order to be considered valid premarital agreements.
While some may believe that premarital agreements are only necessary for the wealthy or others with significant assets, this is not true. Premarital agreements may be useful for all individuals who wish to understand the legal and financial ramifications of marriage and how divorce may impact their rights. This post is not provided to advise or guide readers through the legal topic of premarital agreements. Such counsel should come from a knowledgeable family law and divorce attorney.