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DuPage County family law attorneysEvery year, more than 2 million American couples decide to tie the knot. While weddings are a beautiful celebration of love, they can cost a lot of money. Couples throughout the United States spend a collective $72 billion on weddings on an annual basis. Still, while a wedding can cost you a hefty sum of money on the night of your marriage (the average wedding budget is approximately $20,000), that money pales in comparison to the potential financial impact of a costly divorce. Developing a postnuptial agreement, after your marriage can be critically important to ensuring that you remain financially stable in the event of a divorce.

What is a Postnuptial Agreement?

Explaining to your fiance that you may have resources that you want to protect in the event of a divorce can be a difficult conversation to have. Yet, in many cases, the time to talk about protecting your financial future is after the wedding. A postnuptial agreement is a written agreement that the parties establish sometime after the marriage has been finalized. It is meant to settle the couple’s assets and affairs if they separate in the future. A postnuptial agreement can ensure that you and your family will have a stable financial future if you and your spouse ever decide to separate.

How to Develop a Postnuptial Agreement

The notion of a postnuptial agreement is a fairly new concept within American law. Postnuptial agreements finally became a common practice in the early 1970s, as more American couples began to separate. A postnuptial agreement can only be finalized if the agreement is in written form. It is also important to note that all postnuptial agreements must be voluntary. If a judge believes that a postnuptial agreement was forced onto one of the spouses, the postnuptial agreement will be considered null and void. A postnuptial agreement will only be finalized if all parties have disclosed the full extent of their assets. A spouse cannot hide significant assets from another spouse and still develop a valid postnuptial agreement.

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postnuptial agreementIllinois allows for postnuptial agreements to help simplify divorces and promote settled solutions to family law issues. A postnuptial agreement is similar to a prenuptial agreement, only it is entered into after a couple is married.

The Purpose of Postnuptial Agreements

Postnuptial agreements are legal contracts. Like prenuptial agreements, the parties agree ahead of time what would happen to the marital property and spousal support should the couple get divorced. These agreements save the couple the costs and emotional turmoil of litigating a divorce, and it frees up court resources.

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Illinois postnuptial agreements, DuPage County family law attorneyWhen people consider planning for property division in advance of a separation or divorce, they generally consider prenuptial agreements. However, while The Wall Street Journal has reported an increase in prenuptial agreements since 2010, not all couples take that step before marriage. Couples who decided against a prenuptial agreement but had circumstances change or just wished that they had written down certain income or asset protections have the option of signing a postnuptial agreement.

Prenuptial Agreements vs. Postnuptial Agreements

Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are appropriate for couples in the same circumstances: individuals with significant premarital assets, couples with significantly different net worth, individuals with business interests, and parents with children from previous relationships. The main difference between the two types of agreements is the time at which they take place. Prenuptial agreements are signed prior to marriage, while postnuptial agreements are signed after the couple has already married.

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