Pre- & Post-Nuptial Agreements

A pre-nuptial agreement is a contract between persons who plan to get married. It governs ownership of property and earned funds during marriage and distribution of assets and income in the event of a divorce. All prospective spouses should consider whether such an agreement would be appropriate for them. Although the raising of the issue of pre-nuptial agreements may be awkward, these agreements actually assist the parties to the marriage because they avoid disputes later. Also, particularly in marriages in which one party owns a family business, such an agreement can protect the family business from being entangled in a divorce proceeding. For those who are entering into second marriages, such agreements provide comfort to children that they will receive their inheritances in the event of divorce.

A post-nuptial agreement is a similar contract entered after marriage. In addition to the topics typically addressed in pre-nuptial agreements, a post-nuptial agreement may also address problem conduct in the marriage and custody and property arrangements if divorce were to occur.

To be effective, both pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements should include disclosure as to the assets of the parties. This avoids contests later in which one spouse may claim that his or her consent to the pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement was based upon fraud or that the consent was uninformed.

Any issue contemplated or experienced in a marriage may be the subject of a pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement. The contract must be entered into in good faith, reasonable in its terms, and consistent with the public policy of the State of Illinois.