When you're newly engaged, you probably want to focus on all your hopes for the future, not the worst-case scenario. For many people, talking about a prenuptial agreement during an engagement can feel pessimistic or even too much like business. However, the greater your existing assets and potential for obtaining additional wealth, the more important it becomes to take steps to protect yourself. While a prenuptial agreement may not be the most romantic suggestion in the world, it can help you enter into your marriage secure in the knowledge that you're both marrying for the right reasons.
When you have a lot of assets going into a marriage, the potential for fraud or deception from your partner increases. There are people out there who would marry someone with substantial assets just to acquire a portion of them during a divorce. A prenuptial agreement can protect you from this kind of behavior and lower the risk you assume when marrying with substantial assets and accumulated wealth. By creating specific expectations for the marital union and outlining the way asset division and custody will be handled in a divorce, a prenuptial agreement can actually make your marriage stronger.
A prenuptial agreement can outline asset division in case of divorce
Illinois is an equitable distribution state. That means that during a divorce, the courts will do their best to fairly divide all marital assets between the two spouses. For those who enter into a marriage with substantial assets, marital assets can become complicated. For example, if you own stocks or investment properties, those will remain yours after a divorce. Income or profits from those assets, however, could be subject to division. With a prenuptial agreement, you can determine ahead of time what assets would get shared with your spouse and which ones would get protected from division.
Your prenuptial agreement should address what assets will get shared. You should also discuss what you want from a spouse. You can even set different expectations for asset division depending on the length of your marriage or the number of children you have. You can also use a prenuptial agreement to help reduce the risk of bad behavior from either spouse during the marriage. Your prenuptial agreement can include protective or penalty causes in the event that your spouse becomes abusive, develops substance abuse or gambling issues or has an affair during your marriage.
Instead of worrying that a prenuptial agreement seems unromantic, look at it as an opportunity to ensure you and your fiance agree about important aspects of your marriage, such as fidelity and how big of a family you want. You reduce the risk of marrying someone with intentions on your wealth and protect yourself and your financial future in the event that your marriage ends unexpectedly.