Marriage changes the financial lives of people in Illinois, and the prenuptial agreement has become a way for partners to disclose assets and debts and establish the terms for a divorce should one happen. Young people entering their first marriages have been choosing to create these premarital contracts in increasing numbers. A majority of attorneys surveyed by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers reported that more people between the ages of 18 and 34 have wanted prenuptial agreements than ever before.
Concerns about personal assets and student loan debts have been motivating them. Compared to previous generations, young people today are getting married later in life. Men are 29 and women are 27 on average before they tie the knot. At this point in their lives, they have likely started a career, funded a retirement account and perhaps purchased real estate.
In addition to personal assets, young people frequently have student loan debts. In 2017, the average amount owed by college graduates totaled $38,000. Unless addressed in a premarital agreement, debts brought into marriage could become the joint responsibility of people when they divorce. An acrimonious divorce could send a couple to court, where the law might split debts between the two parties.
A person interested in learning more about the laws affecting property division could consult an attorney. If the person wants a prenuptial agreement, then an attorney could recommend terms that might protect personal assets and limit debt responsibilities if a marriage ends. An attorney might manage negotiations with the other party. Legal insights could allow the person to understand rights when making choices about how to divide marital property or map out a child custody arrangement. An attorney could strive to write the final agreement so that it might withstand legal challenges in the future.