The Chicago Family Law Blog

Prenuptial Agreements in Chicago

Often associated with movie stars, famous musicians and other wealthy jet-setters, prenuptial agreements are contracts signed by both partners before the wedding. Called “prenups” for short, these contracts typically list each partner’s assets (property, money, investments, etc.) and liabilities (debts). The prenup outlines how marital property, in addition to premarital property, is to be divided in the event of a marriage; and contrary to popular belief, they often are used by non-wealthy people to protect a family business or other such assets. In the absence of a prenup, property and debts typically are divided right down the middle.

In the event of a divorce, courts go through prenuptial agreements with a fine-toothed comb; so it pays to have it done right. And while a prenup is hardly a romantic start to a pledged life of happiness together, it’s a good idea to have an Illinois family lawyer take a look at it before you sign.

Recently in Prenuptial Agreements Category

Prenuptial Agreements: Not Just For Tiger Woods

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Deciding how a marriage will be dissolved before even getting married might sound like the ultimate red flag. But regardless of the "forever" concept of marriage and at risk of sounding too cynical, the fact is that U.S. couples have a 50/50 chance that their marriage will end in divorce. 

That means a prenuptial agreement (or "prenup") makes logical, if not romantic, sense for many couples. A USA Today article discusses how more people not named Tiger Woods or Sandra Bullock are drafting such agreements before getting hitched.

Marlene Eskind Moses, president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, told reporters that prenups have become extremely popular for non-celebrities:

"It's not just something for the rich and famous any longer. It's for people that have assets and/or income that they want to protect."

Illinois Family Lawyer Discusses Prenuptial Agreements

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Joseph Walczak, an Illinois family law attorney who writes a legal advice column in the Southtown Star, recently answered a question from a woman whose fiancé wants a prenuptial agreement (or "prenup" for short). He earns more money and has more assets than she does, so it may serve his interests more than hers. 

But she wants to know if it's in her best interests and ultimately whether or not she should sign it. It's a touchy prospect to sign a contract detailing how property should be divided after a divorce when the couple is not yet even married.

Mr. Walczak tells her that any prenuptial agreement could "substantially limit [her] rights" if the marriage ends or if her spouse dies, which is kind of the point of the prenup.