Martial agreements, including both prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, are made between spouses to determine their abilities and responsibilities regarding property. However, these benefits only apply if the agreement is legally enforceable. Working with a marital agreement attorney in Metro East helps you create a stronger and more effective pre- or postnuptial agreement.

Prenuptial agreements are made before a marriage, while postnuptial agreements are made by couples who are already married. Much of the stigma surrounding these agreements has lessened, and more couples are aware of the benefits of creating one. A well-crafted marital agreement can help spouses have important financial discussions, protect the financial stability of both parties and make a potential divorce go more smoothly.

Couples Who May Benefit From a Marital Agreement

The reasons why a married or soon-to-be-married couple may establish a marital agreement are varied and unique, but many couples can obtain benefits from a pre- or postnuptial agreement. Couples who may benefit the most from these agreements include those who:

  • Have children.
  • Own or co-own a business.
  • Have shares in a business.
  • Own high-value assets or inheritances.
  • Want to avoid litigation if they divorce.
  • Have children from prior marriages or relationships.
  • Were married previously.
  • Enter their marriage with significantly different levels of assets or debts.
  • Expect one spouse to not be career-focused for a period of time, either for education, vocation, or caretaking of the home or children.

Prenuptial or postnuptial agreements can address these matters and ensure that spouses are in accord regarding them.

Creating a Legally Valid Marital Agreement

A marital agreement is typically fully enforceable as long as it meets contract law in the state and the court does not consider it to be unconscionable. An unconscionable agreement is one that is unreasonably unfair to one spouse, such as by making them meet unreasonable requirements or leaving them in financial hardship. If there are unconscionable terms in the agreement, the court may void those terms or the entire agreement.

To be valid under contract law, marital agreements must be in writing and signed by both spouses. It is unenforceable if it was signed under duress or threat of force. It is also unenforceable if fraud is present, such as if one spouse did not fully disclose their assets during the execution of the agreement.

Marital Agreement Benefits

There are many potential benefits for couples who are considering a marital agreement. These include:

Determining Property Rights During Marriage

Marital agreements, contrary to common belief, do not only address property in a potential divorce. They also ensure that each spouse understands their abilities when managing assets and debts in their marriage. An agreement can alter the categorization of assets as separate or marital. If one spouse brings significant debt into the partnership, a marital agreement can prevent the other spouse from being responsible for it. The agreements can protect significant assets, business ownership, and other forms of wealth.

Easing the Process of a Divorce

Marital agreements are well-known for how they address divorce. Couples can determine how to split separate and marital assets in the event that they divorce. By creating this agreement, spouses can avoid the possibility that the court has control over what assets each party receives. Although divorcing couples can make a separation agreement, there is the possibility that this will not work.

By creating a marital agreement, spouses could prevent more complicated divorce proceedings. This can avoid significant divorce costs. In the agreement, they can also determine spousal support awards, such as under what circumstances a spouse will receive support, or if either spouse wishes to waive their right to support.

Outlining the Inheritance Rights of Children

If either spouse has a prior marriage or children from a prior relationship, a marital agreement can decide the inheritance rights of those children and any children the couple has or plans to have.


Q: How Do Prenups Work in Illinois?

A: Prenups, or prenuptial agreements, in Illinois allow spouses-to-be to make specific financial and property decisions, which then go into effect once they become married. Some of the issues that prenups can cover include:

  • Spousal rights to property after one spouse’s death
  • Deciding which property is separate and marital
  • The rights and responsibilities of each spouse to assets and debts
  • Decisions about spousal support
  • The circumstances that enable the terms of the agreement to be modified

Prenups in Illinois can’t decide matters like child custody or support, and they cannot include unconscionable terms.

Q: How Much Does a Prenuptial Agreement Cost in Illinois?

A: The cost of a prenuptial agreement in Illinois will depend on many factors, with the primary factor being whether you work with an attorney. Although it is initially less costly to create an agreement without an attorney, it can cause more financial hardship in the long term. If the agreement is unenforceable, the time put into creating the agreement will not matter, and spouses will have to start over.

If a couple is getting a divorce when they discover that the agreement is unenforceable, this can cause expensive complications.

Q: Can You Get a Divorce Without a Prenuptial Agreement in Illinois?

A: Yes, you can get a divorce without a prenuptial agreement in Illinois. If you don’t have a prenuptial agreement, you and your spouse can negotiate a separation agreement outside of court, determining the important matters that could have been outlined in a prenuptial agreement. If you can’t reach an agreement through these methods, the court can make those decisions for you.

If the Illinois court decides your division of property, it will use the guidelines of equitable distribution of marital property.

Q: Can You Write Your Own Prenup and Have It Notarized in Illinois?

A: Yes, you can write your own prenup in Illinois, and notarization isn’t required, although it may help. However, it’s important to be aware of the many downsides of writing your own prenuptial agreement without legal input. A prenup without legal support is less likely to be enforceable, and it may, therefore, be useless if the court discards it. In worse cases, the prenup is unfair to one spouse, and the court should void the agreement during the divorce but does not.

Protecting Your Financial Interests

Creating a marital agreement helps spouses or fiancées have important discussions about their finances, including their concerns about financial stability. A skilled attorney can facilitate these discussions and create a more effective agreement. Contact Stange Law Firm today.