The answer to this question is: it?s never too late. A common misconception by many couples is that nuptial agreements can only be made before the wedding (prenuptial). While a prenuptial agreement is most widely recommended, couples who are already married can still draw up a valid marital contract, known as a postnuptial agreement.
Much like a prenuptial agreement, a postnuptial agreement can ensure that the interests of both spouses are protected in the event of a divorce. Prenuptials and postnuptials both allow the spouses, rather than a judge, to make the big decisions regarding distribution of marital property and asset protection. Postnuptial agreements may also give direction in regards to who is responsible for certain liabilities like credit cards or student loans after a divorce.
Postnuptial agreements can be carried out at any time during a marriage. It doesn?t matter if the couple just got married last month or if they?ve been married for 20 years. Postnuptial agreements are ideal for couples who have experienced a lot of change in their relationship, a change in financial status, or both. Postnuptials are also very beneficial for couples who have children from a previous marriage because they will be able to ensure that the interests of those children are well protected along with their own.
What is in a Postnuptial Agreement?
These agreements state the rights and responsibilities for the couple during the marriage and after the marriage in case of divorce. This agreement is unique to your personal situation. When putting together your agreement, you will want to consult an experienced attorney and make note of these items:
- Division of property
- Custody arrangements for children
- Child support
- Spousal support
- College funding for the children
- Division of other assets
Benefits of Having a Postnuptial Agreement
Many individuals think that these agreements are only for the wealthy. This is simply not the case. Most couples can benefit from such an agreement regardless of their wealth status. Compiling these agreements ahead of time gives couples the chance to work out some issues that sometimes cause problems in the marriage and lead to divorce.
For a marriage that ultimately ends, a postnuptial can ease the divorce proceedings. The agreement has taken care of the most important issues, which leaves you and your attorney to be able to deal with any other issues that may come up. This can make the divorce proceedings go much faster, helping to ease the emotional drain and lessen the cost.
Not all couples have a postnuptial or even a prenuptial agreement. Should the need arise at a later date it is best to consult with an experienced family law attorney because these agreements are legally binding documents. An attorney will ensure that content and language comply with Illinois State Law.