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DuPage County family law attorney prenuptial agreement

A prenuptial agreement, typically known as a prenup, is a written contract created by two individuals prior to their marriage. This legally binding document establishes the future of any separate and marital property and/or assets, debts, and estate plan for each spouse in the event of a divorce. The state of Illinois has its own laws on what can and cannot be included in a prenuptial agreement, so before you sign on the dotted line, make sure to consult with a knowledgeable family law attorney to verify the validity.

Important Issues to Address in a Prenup

A prenup is not a one-size-fits-all arrangement, meaning the elements that one couple may address in their agreement might not be appropriate for another couple’s situation. However, the topics listed below are a few general ideas you may want to consider including in your agreement:

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equitable property divisionIllinois, like the majority of states in this country, is not a community property state when it comes to dividing up the marital estate during a divorce. Instead, the decision is based on "equitable distribution" of a couple’s assets. Equitable distribution does not mean assets are split in half, with each spouse receiving 50 percent. Instead, it is the court who decides what an equitable and fair division is.

In some cases, spouses are able to negotiate an agreement between themselves, or with the help of their attorneys, and the judge’s signature is a formality needed to make the agreement legal. In many other cases, however, a judge is the one who makes the decision of what is an equitable distribution based on the evidence each spouse introduces into trial.

There are several factors a judge will consider when making his or her decision. These factors include:

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If you and your spouse have discussed the possibility of divorce or you perceive that separation is imminent, it may be a good idea to pay attention to your marital financial portfolio. In some relationships, one spouse manages financial matters for the family, but the other spouse should stay well-informed about marital assets and debts.

 marital assetsUnder the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, an equitable split of marital assets is required in a divorce. Equitable refers to dividing marital property fairly and looking at several factors such as contributions, marital agreements, economic conditions, and marriage duration. When one spouse hides assets, an equitable solution is harder to obtain, but entirely possible when working with a knowledgeable divorce firm.

Five Red Flags for Hidden Marital Assets

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