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Most couples enter into marriage expecting to be together for the rest of their lives. While no one wants to consider divorce, it is an eventual reality for more than half of Illinois couples. Constructing strategic pre-nuptial (before marriage) and post-nuptial (after marriage) agreements can prevent lengthy court battles as well as significant loss of assets in the event of divorce.

Pre-Nuptial Agreements

Prior to marriage, pre-nuptial agreements outline the basic financial stipulations of a future divorce. They can include custodial agreements, maintenance requirements and division of assets. Although many people think that pre-nuptials are only for very wealthy people, the fact is that even middle-class couples often use these agreements to protect pension plans, retirement savings, children from prior relationships or assets acquired prior to the marriage. Especially for people without assets, these retirement plans can be the only significant sources of income after retirement. Pre-nups may also define additional compensation for special circumstances such as adultery.

Post-Nuptial Agreements

Post-nuptial agreements are essentially the same as pre-nuptial agreements, they are simply completed after marriage. They can outline terms in case of divorce, but they can also stipulate how to handle post-marriage windfalls, profits from business during the marriage or debt incurred as the result of one party’s actions. For instance, if one spouse gambles away $100,000 at some point during the marriage, a subsequent post-nup agreement could state that the other spouse gets an extra $100,000 if the couple divorces. These agreements can also be used as alternatives to legal separation.

For some people, there are certain stigmas associated with pre-nuptial agreements and post-nuptials. They feel that their love is in question if they are asked to sign such an agreement. At Thomas Law Office, lawyer Colleen Thomas understands the intricacies of this area of law and can rationally determine if such an agreement is even necessary. Call 847-426-7990 or send an email to discuss your situation today. We’ve helped clients throughout McHenry County and Kane County in Elgin, South Elgin, Carpentersville, Marengo, West Dundee, East Dundee, Algonquin, Lake in the Hills, Huntley, Crystal Lake, Woodstock and Cary.