Is My Property Safe If I Have a Prenuptial Agreement?

prenuptial agreement, equitable distribution, Illinois family law attorneyWorking with your soon-to-be spouse to develop a prenuptial agreement may be an uncomfortable task, but not doing so can compromise your financial interests in the event of divorce. In Illinois, the laws governing property division are intricate, and many couples find it difficult to navigate the legal system. This is why the advice of a divorce attorney may prove invaluable. Before you decide to divorce, contact a lawyer to learn how the process will affect your finances and to learn ways to protect your interests.

Prenuptial Agreements and Asset Division

As the median age for a first marriage continues to rise, individuals often enter a marital relationship with a substantial amount of personal property and assets. These may include savings accounts, business interests, and a variety of other investments. When considering marriage, a partner may not wish to combine all of his or her personal property into the marital estate and a valid prenuptial agreement can help ensure that your assets remain your own property. There are times, however, when a prenuptial agreement may be challenged.

In certain cases, the courts may deem parts of the agreement or the entire contract invalid. This may be done for several possible reasons under law, including fraud, coercion or duress, mental incapacity, or terms found to be unconscionable by the court. For example, if one spouse can prove that he or she signed the agreement under any sort of threat or ultimatum, or that he or she was not fully aware of the meaning of the agreement, the prenuptial agreement may not hold up in court.

What If There Is No Prenuptial Agreement?

There is not necessarily a universal answer to this question, as every divorce case is unique. In the absence of a  prenuptial agreement, your divorce will follow normal property division laws, according to Business Insider.

The court will divide assets into two groups: separate and marital property. Separate property includes assets acquired prior to the marriage. Marital property describes assets acquired during marriage with particularly designated exceptions. In most cases, separate property will remain in the possession of the spouse who owned it before the marriage. In Illinois, the division of property is subject to equitable distribution guidelines, meaning that the court will divide marital property between the spouses based on the consideration the marital circumstances, and not necessarily on a 50/50 basis.

If you are going through a divorce and would like to speak with an experienced DuPage County divorce attorney, contact the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C. at [[phone]].

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