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A marital agreement can take the tension out of marriage

You and your spouse may not have had a prenuptial agreement drawn up, thinking it would not be necessary. However, years of marriage bring changes in circumstances.

The two of you feel that at this point in your married life a marital agreement might be a good idea, and you have decided to learn more about it.

Including terms

A marital agreement, sometimes called a postnuptial agreement or postnup, can include anything from how you and your spouse agree to resolve disputes, to which of you should be responsible for taking out the trash. Many of the terms, however, will set out your preferences on certain fronts if divorce should occur or if one of you should die. You can also name a guardian or conservator, or the individual you want to act on your behalf if you become incapacitated. The agreement can address tax matters, too, and you can each set out your wishes as to the division of marital property if you should divorce.

Abiding by the UPAA

In Illinois, postnuptial agreements are established under the Uniform Premarital and Marital Agreements Act, and the terms can vary as long as they do not violate public policy. Terms that are not enforceable include those that:

  • Adversely affect the right of a child to support
  • Seek to modify the grounds under Illinois law for separation or dissolution
  • Restrict a remedy for a victim of domestic violence
  • Assess a penalty for starting a legal proceeding that results in a separation or divorce decreed by the court

Smoothing rough edges

Marital agreements are not exclusively about preparing for the possibility of divorce, however. Once a couple sets down expectations concerning marital responsibilities and the settlement of certain financial issues, tensions, if present in the union, will often ease. Married life will become less stressful and more harmonious.

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