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Prenuptial agreements should address basic issues

Illinois couples who are excited about their upcoming marriage might not want to discuss a future divorce, but good reasons for establishing protections with a prenuptial agreement exist. Common motivations for creating contract terms if the relationship dissolves include different levels of wealth and debt between the partners, property ownership and citizenship. When people decide to negotiate a prenuptial agreement, they should make decisions about assets, spousal support and estate distributions in the event of death.

In general, people often choose to designate what they bring into a union as their own. Assets gained during the marriage might then be considered jointly held. When one partner has substantially more assets or income than the other person, spousal support could be legally mandated upon divorce unless the agreement prevents it. Two people could negotiate what that payment would be or if support would be paid at all.

Establishing how an estate would be handled if one of the spouses dies can be included in the agreement. Typically, a surviving spouse has a legal claim to a certain amount of the other spouse's estate unless other wishes were documented. For example, a person could set up an inheritance for a child from another relationship. By deciding upon the terms ahead of time, a couple might avoid losing control to a judge.

When a couple does not have a prenuptial agreement and have not been able to negotiate a settlement, the court will make property division determinations. Illinois divorce courts will divide marital property on the basis of what they believe is fair, but the result might not please either party. As a result, the estranged spouses might want to have their respective attorneys assist in coming to a resolution.

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