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Prenuptial agreements becoming more common

A recent survey of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers has found that couples are more frequently requesting prenuptial agreements, with 63 percent of the lawyers in Illinois and around the country who were surveyed reporting having seen an increase in those agreements in the past three years. It has been suggested that the increase may be at least partially attributable to the improving housing and financial markets.

The areas most often covered by these agreements were reported to include protection of separate property, spousal support and division of property. Other common themes included inheritance rights, community property division and protections for any increase in value of separately owned property. The survey showed a 46 percent increase in prenuptial filings that were initiated by women.

Couples who are considering entering into a prenuptial agreement are advised to first discuss where they will live, who will own the home, how they will share expenses and if they will have separate or joint bank accounts. Couples should also consider any obligations either of them have to former spouses or children and whether one spouse will leave the workforce when they have children. A clear understanding of how finances will be handled during the marriage should occur before the agreement is entered into.

Prenuptial agreements may make the divorce process easier if the marriage ends. A person contemplating getting married who is concerned with the protection of individually-owned property may want to speak to a lawyer who has experience handling high net worth divorce and other family law matters. The attorney may be able to determine whether a prenuptial agreement is an appropriate method of resolving those concerns and may also be able to help in its negotiation and preparation.

Source: Yahoo!, “Increase Of Prenuptial Agreements Reflects Improving Economy And Real Estate Market”, October 16, 2013