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Illinois Premarital Agreements and Antenuptial Agreements

Article written by Attorney Kevin O'Flaherty
Updated on
October 28, 2019

In this article, we will answer the questions “what is a prenuptial agreement,” “who needs a prenup?”, and “how do I make a valid prenuptial agreement?”.

What is the Difference Between a Premarital Agreement, an Antenuptial Agreement, and a Prenuptial Agreement

There is no difference between a premarital agreement, an antenuptial agreement, and a prenuptial agreement.  These are all different terms to describe the same thing: an agreement between two people in anticipation of marriage. 

What is a Premarital Agreement?

A premarital agreement is a contract between two people who intend to marry, outlining issues such as the payment of alimony, division of assets and other financial concerns, in the event of divorce or death.  Prenuptial (also known as antenuptial) agreements can also help distinguish what assets will be passed on to children from a prior marriage, when applicable.  Typically, whether you consider yourselves to be rich or poor, a prenuptial agreement helps a couple to address and agree upon all of their financial issues, prior to the marriage.  Matters of debt, life insurance, business ownership, wills, assets and income, can all be included in a prenup.  For more information, see our article entitled Illinois Prenuptial Agreements Explained.

Who Needs a Premarital Agreement?

The idea that a premarital agreement is only for the wealthy is a common misconception.  Everyone has assets they would like to protect.  Even couples with very few premarital assets can benefit from a prenup.  Money, debt and communication are common causes for the breakdown of a relationship.  Discussing these topics with your partner in advance could potentially prevent the marriage from ending in divorce.  If either party has been married before, you may want to consider a prenuptial agreement to avoid potential conflicts between your children and future spouse in the event of your death.  Sometimes, people who have already been through a divorce are hesitant to remarry.  Especially if the proceedings were long and the litigation costly.  A prenup provides an element of control, causing a couple to address financial and other issues while they are in love and of sound mind.

How Do I Make a Valid Premarital Agreement?

It is fairly simple to obtain a prenuptial agreement.  The general rule is that premarital agreements are enforceable as long as they are in writing and signed by both parties.  To learn more about the conditions that would invalidate a premarital agreement, follow the link provided above to our article about “Prenuptial Agreements Explained.”  Consult an attorney with any questions about prenuptial agreements, and feel free to express all of the values you and your partner share in order to prepare an arrangement that makes you both comfortable.  If you need to make changes to your prenup, the agreement can be altered or terminated during the marriage as long as both parties agree to it in writing. Prenuptial agreements only become valid after the wedding takes place.  If the couple does not marry, the agreement is void.

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