In addition to protecting assets acquired prior to a marriage (aka non marital or separate property), prenuptial and post-nuptial agreements allow couples to decide just how they want marital property and debt to be divided in the event of a divorce.
Prenuptial Agreements as a Shield Against Marital Debt
Prenuptial agreements are about more than protecting what you own, they can also protect you from debt accumulated during the marriage. For example if one spouse decides to return to school for an advanced degree, a married couple can include a provision in their pre or post-nuptial agreement stating that the student loan debt will be allocated to the person who took out the loan in the event that the couple later decides to divorce.
Prenups and post-nuptial agreements can also insulate one spouse from potential debt and financial risk associated with a partner’s new or existing business. A pre or post-nuptial can shield a spouse from sharing costly medical debt if a health condition looms on the horizon.
When it comes to allocating marital debt in a divorce, a prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement can allow a couple to decide in advance how extraordinary debt will be divided in the event of a divorce, which can alleviate financial conflict in the marriage. It is important to work with an experienced attorney to protect yourself financially in the event of a legal separation or divorce. A well drafted prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement is a good place to start.
Marital Property Division in a Divorce
A prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement can also take precedence over state laws, where assets and debts are often divided according to the courts estimation of who should get what in a divorce. Using a prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement, couples may decide that some assets such as a pension, a house, or retirement accounts will not be divided in a divorce, but will be awarded to only one person. As long as the prenuptial agreement is fair, not signed under duress or coercion, and a full disclosure of assets are provided on the outset, couples can tailor the division of marital property and debt in a divorce to better suit their circumstances right from the start.
Contact an Experienced Prenuptial Lawyer for Help Today
Having a plan for what will happen with regard to marital property and debt in the event of a divorce can result in a more harmonious union because both spouses know what they can expect if the relationship does not work out. Whether it is a matter of one spouse wanting to protect what they have worked hard for prior to the marriage, or that a couple wants to proactively ensure that property and debt division is what they envision in the event of a divorce, a prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement can provide that security. If you have questions regarding Illinois prenuptial or post-nuptial agreements, contact the Libertyville family law offices of Ronald L. Bell & Associates, PC for immediate assistance at 847-495-6000.