The Chicago Family Law Blog

What Can Be Protected in a Prenup?

Summer is wedding season, which means winter is wedding planning season so it's time to ask yourself, "should you get a prenup?"

Don't scoff; a prenup isn't just for pessimists or people who think their marriage will fail. After all, you're already signing a contract to get married. At least a prenuptial agreement is a contract that you can have some control over.

Contrary to what celebrities may indicate, a prenup isn't all about keeping what's yours in the event of a divorce. It may actually help you avoid problems in your marriage.

There are a lot of misconceptions about prenups. But at its core, a prenup is a contract that details who owns what going into a marriage.

Determining how the money will be divided in a divorce is only a small part of the contract.

Another common way to use a prenup is to specify what property will be shared and what remains personal property after you're married. It's an important distinction if one of you has a significant amount of debt or expects to take some on during the marriage.

If you fail to pay your debts, a creditor can go after your assets, including communal marital property. But the creditor can't take the non-debtor spouse's personal property.

By setting up a prenup, you can protect the person you love from having to take on all of your debts as well.

But what if you don't have a lot of debts and instead have a comfortable amount of money? Then a prenup will still be helpful.

When it comes time to decide how to divide your assets among your heirs, an estate plan is the way to do it. But a prenup can limit any disputes over the validity of your will.

If the property definition in your prenup matches what's in your will, it will help to support the way you wanted to divide your property.

Sure, a prenup isn't romantic but talking about money never really is. Still, being open and honest about finances early in a relationship could help avoid problems later on.

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