Tag Archives: postnuptial agreement

IL divorce lawyerMany people are familiar with premarital agreements, also sometimes called prenups. It is understandable that couples enter into these contracts prior to marriage to protect their assets in case of divorce. However, postnuptial agreements cause a little more confusion because people often wonder why a couple would need a contract after they are already married. Below are some of the most common reasons couples create postnuptial agreements.

No Time for a Prenup

Sometimes a couple knows that they would like to create a premarital agreement prior to the wedding, but they simply run out of time. Planning a wedding takes a lot of time and sometimes, a prenup is one task that just never gets done. Or, the couple may want to protect their assets, but they also do not want to think about divorce during one of the happiest times of their life. When either of these is the case, the spouses may choose to create a postnuptial agreement once they have settled into a life together.

The Couple is Working on Reconciliation

In many cases, divorce starts to look like a very real possibility in a marriage and the spouses are not protected by a prenup. In these situations, there has been a serious breakdown of the marital relationship, but at least one spouse may want to try to work out the issues. As a condition of attempting to work things out, one spouse may want to create a postnuptial agreement first.

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IL divorce lawyerMany people get married without creating a prenuptial agreement. Then, maybe a few years or even a few days after the wedding, they determine that they need a bit of protection in case they get divorced. Maybe they have started a business that is hugely successful. Or, maybe they just did not realize how much they needed a prenuptial agreement before the big day. Whatever the reason, now the couple understands that they need to protect their assets. So, they start thinking about drafting a postnuptial agreement.

When this is the case, the couple may decide to simply draft an agreement on their own and sign it. That is perfectly legal and, if done right, enforceable. However, doing it right is key. An Illinois family lawyer can help with this and ensure that in the event that the worst happens, everyone is protected. Below are just two reasons you should not draft a postnuptial agreement without first speaking to an attorney.

An Attorney Will Ensure You Are Protected

Postnuptial agreements are legal documents that, when done right, can help protect both spouses. However, when they are not done right, postnuptial agreements also pose risks for both spouses. Postnuptial agreements are legally binding documents and so, neither spouse can remove themselves from the terms later on simply because they do not like them, or because they did not read or fully understand what the contract said.

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IL divorce lawyerWhile many couples think they know just about everything regarding the other party before they get married, there are often some big surprises that get revealed after a bride and groom say their vows. Everyone has bizarre, and typically harmless, habits that they either keep under wrap early in a relationship or unconsciously avoid doing around others. However, some individuals have more damaging habits, addictions, and ways of living than is good for them, or their spouse. One of these is compulsive spending. Compulsive spending and the financial strain that it causes on a relationship can ruin a marriage. A family law attorney may provide an option for you before it comes to this, however.

What Is Compulsive Buying?

It is reported that six percent of the U.S. population has compulsive buying behavior, which is not a diagnosable disorder but certainly derives from a serious behavioral issue. Compulsive buying or spending is more common in women — 80 percent of people with compulsive buying are women — though with online shopping it is expected to increase in the male population as well. Compulsive buying is characterized by an obsession that compels the individual to continue a repetition of behavior (buying unnecessary things) even though there are obvious adverse consequences, such as not being able to afford necessities, credit card debt, going into bankruptcy, and getting divorced.

How a Postnuptial Can Help

According to a number of surveys, financial fighting between spouses is the leading or secondary contributor factor in divorce, with 41 percent of Generation X spouses reporting that they got divorced because of disagreements about money. Nearly half of married and cohabiting couples argue about money, with the majority of the arguments involving a spouse saying that the other spends too much, or a spouse that says that the other is too stingy. Other fights are common, such as whose responsibility it is to pay the bills or what the couple’s financial goals are. A postnuptial agreement can help resolve these conflicts by cutting money disagreements out of the marriage altogether.

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IL divorce lawyerPrenuptial agreements have been around for a long time. They are used to separate each party’s finances so that not everything gets lumped into marital assets during the duration of the marriage. For example, a prenuptial agreement could have a clause that all of the high earning spouse’s salary during the marriage be considered non-marital assets. Prenuptial agreements are also used to protect one spouse from the other’s horrible debt, as well as many other financial reasons. Lifestyle clauses within pre- and postnuptial agreements are entirely different.

What Is a Lifestyle Clause?

A lifestyle clause is a pre or postnuptial agreement between spouses about the behavior of one or both during the marriage, typically relating to in-laws, religion, and other joint decisions such as child raising. Some spouses are putting in lifestyle clauses within their pre- and postnuptials that limits the other spouse’s weight, limits time spent with in-laws, or limits the number of days that in-laws can stay in the couple’s home. Other lifestyle clauses are used to deter infidelity, set up rules regarding a child’s religious upbringing or education, or who gets the family pet if it comes to divorce. None of these lifestyle clauses discuss money, aside from the financial penalties that breaking the rules may incur.

Financial Penalties Are Commonly Used to Hold Both Spouses Accountable

The predominant way that lifestyle clauses are used to hold each spouse accountable, at least for wealthy married couples, is with the use of financial penalties. For example, if a husband gained 10 pounds, the prenuptial agreement may require him to pay his wife $1,000 for each pound gained, coming to $10,000. Infidelity could be fined at $500,000, as some reported clauses mandate.

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Illinios divorce lawyerMost people have heard of a prenup agreement and may be familiar with what one entails, yet many are unaware that there is a postnuptial agreement that can accomplish some of the same objectives. The main difference is that a prenup is signed by the parties before they get married, and a postnup is executed sometime after the marriage.

Examples of When a Postnup May Be Useful

Postnups can be used effectively in a number of circumstances:

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