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Postnuptial agreement effective in establishing property division

The typical Illinois couple is waiting longer to get married. As a result, each individual has likely become established in a profession and begun to accumulate assets. In some instances, one or both individuals have already experienced another serious relationship and may also bring children into the new marriage. All of this adds up to the reality that each individual may have assets that should be treated as separate property rather than marital assets when it comes to property division in case of death or divorce.

One way to address these issues is through the use of a postnuptial agreement. This agreement, which is executed after the marriage has taken place, addresses that fact that there are nonmarital assets that should be treated in a manner other than what the state may deem appropriate. For example, although the current family home is occupied by both husband and wife, it may have been owned by one of the individuals prior to the marriage. If this individual has a child, he or she may prefer that the home pass to the child rather than the current spouse.

In order to keep nonmarital assets as such, it is helpful to keep them separate. In other words, such assets should be held in a separate account. Additionally, marital assets should not be used in the maintenance or upkeep of such assets.

There are a number of reasons why the Illinois couple may decide that a property division agreement is essential even though they are not planning to separate or divorce. It may be as simple as adding clarity and reducing confusion later on. Experienced legal counsel can assist in determining which assets should be included and the best way to handle the situation.

Source: startribune.com, "You're married, but your assets don't have to be", Liz Weston, Feb. 23, 2018

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