Sep 28, 2020

Understanding the Basics of a Postnuptial Agreement

Understanding the Basics of a Postnuptial Agreement

Many couples enter postnuptial agreements after they get married. Postnuptial agreements make sense for anyone who plans on remaining married, but they also add barriers if the couple were to separate. Whether you’re planning on getting married, are already married, or are in the midst of a divorce, you must understand the basics of a postnuptial agreement. If you’d like to learn more about postnuptial agreements, read our guide below.

What Is a Postnuptial Agreement?

When two individuals marry or enter a civil union, they almost certainly enter postnuptial agreements. A postnuptial agreement puts into writing what will happen in the event of legal separation or divorce. While nobody enters a marriage or civil union with plans to separate, a postnuptial agreement protects both individuals and prepares for them for the necessary discussions in the event this does happen.

What Makes a Postnuptial Agreement Valid?

In the United States, a postnuptial agreement is only valid if it meets these basic requirements. First, the agreement must be in writing. Oral agreements are not enforceable or legally recognized. Both individuals must voluntarily sign the agreement intentionally. Each individual must fully disclose all their assets and liabilities. If a partner hides debt from the other partner, the agreement will not be enforceable until it’s adjusted in the agreement. A postnuptial agreement must be fair for each individual. Judges cannot enforce the agreement if it clearly favors one individual.

What’s Included in a Postnuptial Agreement?

The provisions in a postnuptial agreement can vary case by case. That said, there are some common terms and conditions included. First, the agreement should determine how you’ll divide your property and assets if you were to divorce. You can also state how you will divide marital debts in the event of separation. Debts can include anything from car payments, credit cards, mortgages, and student loans. Finally, many postnuptial agreements include a provision regarding the death of a spouse and how the couple will divide assets and debts in such a scenario, assuming there weren’t divorce proceedings already in process at the time of death.

Understanding the basics of a postnuptial agreement is imperative for every individual, whether they’re married or not. Not having a postnuptial agreement can make your life more difficult in the event your spouse passes away or you decide to divorce. You should note that you need an attorney in order to successfully complete a postnuptial agreement.

If you need an attorney to assist with a postnuptial agreement in Illinois, look no further than Schiller DuCanto & Fleck, LLP. Our team of attorneys has expansive experience supporting our clients with a number of legal services. Give us a call today if you have any questions or would like to set up an appointment.

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