Chicago Postnuptial Agreement Lawyers
Having a legal contract in place can make divorce proceedings much less complicated; however, not every couple plans ahead and signs a prenuptial agreement. For couples already married who would like to protect their assets in the future, a postnuptial agreement may be an option.
Often, couples who opt for postnuptial agreements have a significant amount of property they wish to protect. The experienced Chicago family law attorneys at Nottage and Ward, LLP, can help you put together a postnuptial agreement that is fair to you and your spouse.
Our knowledgeable family law lawyers can guide you through the process and assist you in drafting an agreement that helps safeguard your personal assets. Call us at (312) 332-2915 to discuss your situation.
A postnuptial agreement is a contract signed after a couple has already gotten married. It clearly lays the groundwork for the couple's financial affairs, including how the assets will be divided if they choose to get divorced. In a postnuptial agreement, you can spell out the division of all property acquired before and after marriage. Postnuptial agreements are also useful to break down who will handle debt and how expenses will be paid.
Postnuptial agreements have strong similarities to prenuptial agreements. Both are legal contracts which both parties must voluntarily agree on, which contain clear and accurate information. Such agreements must not be taken lightly – you can’t "back out" by claiming that you did not fully read or comprehend the details of the document when you signed it.
Another potential pitfall is that if the agreement is done in an improper or flawed manner, it could render the document invalid. Certain information must be included and properly phrased in accordance with formal procedural details. All postnuptial agreements should be reviewed by an experienced attorney, who is independent of the attorney of your spouse, to confirm that it has your best interests in mind and protects your rights.
There are some limitations that relate to postnuptial agreements. Remember, these agreements are contracts which may be subject to interpretation and attack, particularly if not prepared in a proper manner. When children are involved in a marriage, a court may not fully adhere to the terms of the agreement if it believes that doing so would be contrary to the children’s best interest.
There are many reasons why postnuptial agreements are worthwhile for Chicago couples. For example, if you have children from a previous marriage, you should get in writing your desire to give assets to your children instead of your spouse in the event of your death. It may also be a good idea to get a postnuptial agreement if you want to leave the workforce to raise your children. Without an agreement, your finances are likely to take a big hit. Becoming a single parent years after leaving the workforce can prove challenging.
In general, more couples are drafting postnuptial agreements. Reasons may include:
- One spouse is experiencing significant health problems, which has created greater concern as about how assets and property would be allocated.
- One spouse has exhibited poor behavior, such as infidelity. A couple may employ a postnuptial agreement to reinforce their marital commitment by outlining a better financial outcome to the spouse who was wronged if the continued poor behavior leads to a divorce.
- The couple is facing external pressures; for example, from children who seek to secure their portion of the parent’s estate, perhaps out of fear that the surviving spouse may limit their potential inheritance benefits.
- The discovery of major tax implications that were previously not considered. Perhaps the couple quickly accumulated a considerable amount of assets. Unique tax laws exist allowing married couples to transfer property tax-free when it is done as a "gift."
- The couple wish to avoid a contentious and costly legal battle in the event of a divorce. Many times, someone may witness an acquaintance in a highly contested divorce, which will spur the creation of an agreement to prevent going through a similar experience in the future.
Postnuptial agreements are not designed for couples who are considering divorce. In those instances, the spouses should put together a separation agreement.
It's not easy to discuss marital agreements, but it is important. No one wants to think about getting a divorce, but if you don't act to protect your future, no one will. Your assets, inheritance, properties, and belongings are worth protecting. Having a postnuptial agreement will provide you with security and peace of mind. Without the help of a skilled family law attorney, your postnuptial agreement may not be enforceable. Marital agreements often prevent court battles, but prenuptial agreements are easier to defend in the event of a disagreement. In fact, the court may even choose to throw out your postnuptial agreement because it's unfair, or because your spouse did not fully understand the agreement.
You can avoid these pitfalls by working out the details of the agreement with a family law attorney. Gather information about property and assets you acquired before and after marriage. Then, write out information and details about the belongings you had before marriage, including properties you owned, belongings you purchased, inheritances, and businesses you've acquired. These assets are worth protecting.
You may never need to use your postnuptial agreement, but it is worth your time to safeguard your hard-earned assets. Call an attorney at Nottage and Ward, LLP, at (312) 332-2915 for more information.
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