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Is a prenuptial agreement really all that necessary?

Before two people walk down the aisle, they naturally expect their future marriage to work out. A prenup sounds, to many people, like an expectation of divorce. However, it opens up discussion about important financial matters and values. Even the best-laid plans for marriage can go awry unpredictably, so a prenup can actually strengthen a marriage before it begins by getting you on the same page, as well as make things smoother if the marriage began to suffer.

A prenup essentially allows a couple in Illinois to dictate their affairs ahead of time rather than having to rely on a judge to do this for them if they were to get divorced. A prenup can end up saving you time, stress and money in the long run.

Property and debt

A prenup can distinguish between marital and separate property. Rather than relying on the court to separate all of your marital property in what it deems to be an equitable way, you can spell out in this legal document how exactly certain assets should be split and which ones should not be split at all.

In the same way, you can use the document to limit your liability for your spouse's debt. Otherwise, if your future ex does not pay back a loan that is in only his or her name, this person's creditor may end up going after your marital property.

Estate plan

Prenuptial agreements are also actually helpful parts of estate plans, as you can use one to ensure your wishes for how to distribute your estate after you die. A prenup is especially important if you have a piece of property that you would like to keep in the family, such as an inheritance, a family business or a family heirloom. You can simply specify this in the document.

Marital responsibilities

A prenuptial agreement also comes in handy for detailing the specific responsibilities you want both parties to have in your marriage. This includes who handles the household expenses and bills as well as who manages the couple's credit card spending. You can even dictate matters such as savings contributions, arrangements for putting yourself or the other party through school, and even how possible agreements will be settled -- for instance, through arbitration or mediation.

A knowledgeable attorney in Illinois can help you draft a prenup that effectively meets your needs and protects your best interests for the future.

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