An Illinois prenuptial agreement is a contract that a couple signs before marriage. The contract specifies how the couple will divide their assets in the event of a divorce. It puts control of asset division in the hands of the couple instead of in the hands of a divorce court.
Why get a prenuptial agreement?
A prenuptial agreement protects your wealth in the event of a divorce. You might enter the marriage with assets you want to retain after your divorce without having to divide anything. The prenuptial agreement specifies which assets belong to you, which means you’re the only person who can claim them.
Without a prenuptial agreement, your spouse can claim your personal assets during a divorce. For example, say you enter your marriage with $2 million dollars in assets.
The prenuptial agreement can specify that you’ll leave the marriage with your $2 million and that your spouse isn’t entitled to any of it. But if you don’t have a prenuptial agreement, a divorce court can decide you have to split your assets with your spouse.
Assets to include in the agreement
There are two types of assets: tangible and intangible. A tangible asset is a physical item, such as a building or house. An intangible asset is an item you can’t physically touch, like a bank account or retirement account. It’s common to include both types of assets in a prenuptial agreement.
You might want to include assets such as savings accounts, checking accounts, stocks and bonds. Any financial asset you want to protect can go into the prenuptial agreement. Personal property is something you can also include. For example, you might have a car or art collection you want to protect from divorce.
How to create a prenuptial agreement
You and your future spouse must agree to the terms of the agreement. Also, your future spouse must agree to sign. You can’t force the other person to sign. If both of you agree to sign, the prenuptial agreement becomes legally binding once it’s signed before witnesses and notarized.