It may seem unusual to you to contemplate divorce before you have even gotten married, but that is just what many Illinois couples who are marrying for the first time appear to be doing. Many of the new generation of adults, the Millennials, come from homes in which their parents divorced. This has made many of them wary of it happening to them, and they want to be prepared.

Perhaps you are part of this generation, and now, as you begin planning your marriage, you want to prepare for what could happen, which often means a prenuptial agreement, even if you don’t believe you will ever need to fall back on those preparations.

What is behind the uptick in prenuptial agreements?

Why are so many people of your generation executing prenups? Researchers asked this same question and came up with the following reasons:

  • As the age at which people are marrying for the first time rises, they have already accumulated assets and debt. They want to protect the assets they come into the marriage with and avoid becoming responsible for the separate debts of their partners should they divorce.
  • The stigma that used to surround prenuptial agreements is disappearing, so individuals feel more comfortable bringing up the subject and following through with preparing one.
  • As mentioned above, many young couples were the product of divorce, and they want to make sure they do not have to go through what their parents did. Having a written plan for the division of assets and alimony makes them feel more secure should something happen.
  • This generation of women tends to enjoy more independence, financial and otherwise, than their mothers and grandmothers, and they want to protect it.
  • Having a prenup allows couples to retain control over what happens when they divorce instead of relying on the state to make these choices for them.

Even with a prenup, a couple who does divorce will still have some financial issues to resolve, especially since the court will want to make sure that one party is not at a significant disadvantage under the provisions of the agreement. In addition, if there are children involved, the court will determine child support. Issues regarding child custody and child support cannot be part of a prenuptial agreement.

What happens after you agree to a prenuptial agreement?

Once you and your future spouse decide to explore executing a prenuptial agreement, it would be in your best interests to begin the process as soon as possible. Your agreement will need to meet several criteria in order to help ensure it will survive the scrutiny of the court if you divorce. Moreover, you will want to make sure you protect your rights and understand what you are signing, which is part of the process.