My spouse asked for a postnup — are we headed for divorce?

My spouse asked for a postnup — are we headed for divorce?

Some Illinois couples who start out marriage with very little to their names often end up accumulating significant assets over time. However, someone in this situation might not have thought about whether a prenuptial agreement could be beneficial. So is it too late to protect one’s self in the event of divorce? Not at all, and this is where a postnuptial agreement can help.

Just like a prenup, a postnup addresses certain divorce terms. The major difference between these two agreements is when they are created. As the name implies, postnuptial agreements come some time after the wedding, maybe even years down the road.

There are a few other differences between these two, though. For example, someone can use a postnup to address situations or problems that developed during marriage. If one spouse develops poor financial habits such as running up credit card balances or gambling debts, the other spouse needs to protect him or herself from that debt. Clearly outlining that those debts are only one spouse’s responsibility provides that protection.

Acquiring a valuable inheritance is also cause for a postnup. If a spouse inherits a house from a loved one it is considered separate property, but the way in which it is used could actually cause it to flip to marital property. Renting out an inherited home then using the income for family expenses is just one example. Whether one expects to receive an inheritance or is surprised by what a family member left behind, it is important to protect inherited property with a postnup.

It is understandable that some people in Illinois feel nervous about bringing up postnuptial agreements with their spouses. A spouse might misinterpret the request as the sign of an impending divorce. This is not the case at all, as many happily married couples create postnuptial agreements. But since the reality is that divorce can happen to just about anyone, it never hurts to be prepared.

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