5 Reasons Why Non-Celebrity Couples Sign Prenup Agreements

Uncontested Divorce Mediation

Posted July 24, 2019

uncontested divorce in chicago

When you’re thinking about divorce mediation in Chicago, the topic of prenuptial agreements often floats to the surface. Whether you and your spouse have one, or should have had one, can become a hot topic of discussion.

In the past, prenuptial agreements have been seen as either a hostile beginning to a marriage or something for the very rich. In reality, they’re just another practical contract. A prenup doesn’t have to address a celebrity’s millions of pre-marriage dollars or spell out penalties for fault-based divorces. When a couple decides to sign a prenup before marriage, the agreement can be built to serve their very personal and specific purposes.

Prenuptial agreements are complex and highly customizable. Our state doesn’t have a standard prenup agreement and does not require couples to conform to one. Instead, each prenup is individually deemed to be equitable and enforceable before the court signs-off on it. This allows couples to craft whatever kind of fair contract they desire to suit their unique preferences and circumstances.

Today, we’re going to explore five different reasons why couples choose to build a prenup that has nothing to do with being an insanely wealthy celebrity or paranoid about divorce. 

1) Going Into Business Together

Are you and your soon-to-be spouse planning on going into business together? Perhaps you already have a business together and need to navigate its management in relation to your marriage. Spouses as business partners have been a tradition for longer than there have been business licenses. For centuries, it has been normal to find a man and wife running a shop together. But just as business has become much more involved and complex, so has business management when spouses are co-founders.

The division of expenses and assets when going into business with your spouse can get complicated. Especially if one day you decide to divorce. It may seem possible today, but it’s important to build yourself a practical safety net when there’s no way to know what the future holds. Good or bad. Even if a divorce between business partners is amicable, a prenup relating to your business can save a lot of grief and complicated legal questions in the future.

2) Questions of Inheritance

Assets inherited before the marriage are usually protected as pre-marital wealth. However, assets inherited after the marital union are usually considered to belong to both spouses equally. If one spouse expects to inherit something special or significant after the marriage, they may want to protect ownership using a prenuptial agreement. This isn’t necessarily a hostile or withholding action, but one’s right to sentimental property.

Let’s say one spouse expects to inherit the home they grew up in. The home has far more sentimental value to them than it would to their spouse, and it would destroy a lineage tradition if it had to be sold to “split down the middle” during an uncontested divorce in Chicago. It would make sense, then, to write a prenup that establishes sole ownership of the home no matter how the timeline of inheritance occurs. In less drastic examples, there may be antique furniture or highly valued family heirlooms that should be established as personal rather than shared property. 

It’s also important to remember that money can be sentimental. Money from a parent’s life insurance policy, money from a grandmother’s estate sale, or money that has been passed down as a familial invested sum may also be worth keeping politely separate from the marriage with a courteous prenup.

3) Second and Third Marriages

Prenups for first marriages are fairly rare. But they are far more common for spouses who have already been married one or more times previously. People who have been through a messy divorce in the past tend to have practical thoughts about avoiding that in the future. Many second-round marriages include a prenup that both spouses put together to avoid troubles they’ve seen in the past.

In other situations, a previous marriage may include children, assets, or businesses that the couple would like to keep separate to keep their new marriage uncomplicated by previous ties. A prenup can ensure that income from previous businesses or family issues from previous marriages do not interfere with the bliss or natural end of the current marriage.

4) Death Clauses Not Covered by a Will

Prenups may not even relate to terms of a divorce. Should death tragically separate you from your new spouse, there may be some clauses that are not covered by wills and trusts. A prenuptial can ensure that you or your spouse is taken care of in the event of a tragedy, and protect your shared assets from other family members in exclusion of broad-stroke terms of a will. A prenup may be able to direct final wishes not related to the rest of the family.

It should also be noted that wills become public records once they are executed, while a prenuptial agreement can remain a private document between you and your spouse in the event of tragic widowing. So if you have wishes that you don’t wish to be made public, a prenup is a practical alternative.

5) Specific and Personal Agreements

Finally, it’s important to remember that prenuptial agreements can be highly personalized. This is a way to set into stone any legal agreement or terms you’d like to be part of your marriage, except for child custody issues. This may relate to assets, behavior, businesses, or a situation so unique that no contract has been written to cover your circumstances yet. Whatever personal contract you want with your spouse as an extension of your marriage vows, a prenup can serve that purpose.

Contact a Divorce Mediation Attorney Today

If you are considering a divorce or have been thinking about remarriage, then don’t overlook the importance of a prenuptial agreement. An existing prenuptial agreement, often, was written with the best intentions in mind, and you might find some benefit in re-exploring what those intentions were rather than resisting the agreement instinctually. And if there’s a chance you’ll be getting married in the future, consider the value of a practically constructed prenuptial agreement should you find yourself considering Chicago divorce mediation or even tragically fatal separation in the future. Prenups are valuable as a way to frame future thought and to reestablish your values in the face of something as destabilizing as a divorce. Contact Split Simple today for help working through your divorce or deciding on a prenuptial agreement.

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