If you live in Chicago and are wondering how to get a prenup, look no further. Getting a prenuptial agreement or prenup doesn’t have to be a daunting task. In fact, with modern technological advances, getting a prenup has never been easier! Whether you hire a lawyer and utilize Zoom virtual meetings or use HelloPrenup’s online platform, getting a prenup is a piece of cake shake from Portillos.
What is a Prenup?
Regardless of where you’re located (the windy city or somewhere else in the United States), a prenup is a legal document that outlines marital obligations and obligations in the event of a divorce. You and your partner must sign the contract before getting married. A prenup can cover various things, including property, debt, and spousal support.
Why Get a Prenup?
There are many reasons why couples decide to get a prenup. One of the main reasons is to protect assets that were acquired before the marriage. For example, suppose you paid off a home years before ever laying eyes on your sweetheart. In that case, you may be wary of potentially losing a portion (or more) of that home to them in a divorce, especially if this isn’t your first rodeo in marriage.
A prenup can also be used to specify spousal support obligations, avoid your partner’s debt, and protect future assets or business. There are so many different reasons to get a prenup, and much of it depends on your specific situation and personal preferences.
On top of it all, having a prenup can help avoid lengthy and expensive legal battles. How? With a prenup, you are pre-determining hard-hitting divorce issues (property division, spousal support, debt allocation, etc.) before ever stepping foot in court. The less time your lawyer spends advocating for you in divorce court on issues like property division, the fewer attorney’s fees you will have.
How to Get a Prenup in Chicago
To get a prenup in Chicago, you should follow the below steps:
Step 1: Decide how you want to get a prenup.
With advancements in technology, there are now ways to get prenups online, such as with our platform (HelloPrenup). Or, you can go the traditional route and hire an attorney. Or you can do both! How do you do both? You can generate your prenup with HelloPrenup and then have a Chicago lawyer review it for you, answer any questions, and possibly provide legal representation.
Step 2: If you’re going to hire a lawyer, it’s time to start researching.
If you decide you want to hire a lawyer, then one of the first things you’re going to want to do is start researching. You can find a good Chicago prenup lawyer through word of mouth, online search, or by looking up your local bar association. The key is finding someone who specializes in prenups (not all family law lawyers do!).
Many Chicago prenup lawyers will offer free 15 to 30-minute consultations, so it may be a good idea to set up a few appointments with different people. Get a feel for the different attorney’s styles and decide on someone you feel comfortable with. Remember, you will be sharing your financial information and possible intimate relationship details with this person, so you must be comfortable.
Another good trick is to read reviews online about the different attorneys you are considering. This can give you some great insight into how people in your position felt about them and what you can expect in your first meeting.
Step 3: Whether you’re going the attorney or online prenup route, you should start discussing what you want to put into the prenup.
What do you want to accomplish with this prenup? What does your partner want to achieve? You need to start discussing what the terms of the prenup will be with your partner (and potentially your lawyer). If you’re using HelloPrenup, we will guide you through the different terms you can add and what they mean.
To get the wheels turning, here are a few terms you may consider putting into your prenup:
- Property division (what will be kept separate and what will be considered marital?)
- Debt allocation (how should debt be treated?)
- Spousal support (will you waive it, keep it in, or limit it in some way?)
- Inheritances and gifts (will you keep inheritances and gifts separate?)
- Joint bank account (will you utilize a joint bank account during the marriage?)
- Primary residence (will one of you be able to remain in the primary residence after the marriage ends?)
- And much more.
Step 4: Negotiations.
Sometimes couples are totally aligned 100%, and other times couples may push back on certain terms. For example, if you want to waive spousal support, but your partner does not, some negotiating may be required. With HelloPrenup, there is a phase in the process where you can negotiate with your partner and see where any discrepancies lie. With an attorney, your attorney and your partner’s attorney may be doing the negotiating for you.
Step 5: Draft the prenup.
After you’ve discussed the goals of the prenup, gone through negotiations, and finalized the desired prenup terms, your lawyer (or HelloPrenup) will draft the document. It’s important to review the document carefully and make sure that you understand all of the terms before signing.
Step 6: Sign the prenup.
Once you’ve reviewed the prenup and are satisfied with the terms, you and your fiancé will need to sign the document. Some states require notarization of the prenup, but Illinois does not. However, getting your prenup notarized anyway can add an extra layer of protection. Also, don’t worry about witnesses in Illinois; some states require witnesses to the signing, but Illinois does not.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
Still left with questions? No worries; below are some common questions we get regarding prenups in Chicago.
Q: How long does it take to get a prenup in Chicago?
A: The timeline for getting a prenup in Chicago can vary depending on several factors, including the complexity of your finances and requests and your attorney’s availability. Typically, the process can take several weeks to a few months from the initial consultation to the final signing of the agreement. It’s important to allow enough time for the drafting, negotiation, and review of the agreement to ensure that it is legally binding and also reasonably fair. HelloPrenup recommends starting the process three to six months prior to the wedding day. This will help avoid any last-minute stress or complications and sometimes legal deadlines, too.
With HelloPrenup’s state-compliant prenup platform, getting a prenup can take two hours or less!
Q: Do both parties need to have a lawyer for a prenup to be legally binding?
A: In Illinois, you do not need a lawyer for a prenup to be valid and enforceable. However, having a lawyer can be helpful in making an argument that the prenup is fair if it is ever challenged in court.
Q: Can a prenuptial agreement include provisions for child custody and support?
A: No! Prenups in Chicago (and anywhere in Illinois) cannot include provisions for child custody and child support. There are some states, like New York, that have narrow exceptions for this, but Illinois does not. The long and the short of it? Do not include child custody or child support in your prenup, as it will be stricken from the prenup and potentially threaten the entire prenup.
Q: Can a prenup be challenged in Illinois court?
A: Yes, prenups can be challenged in Illinois family court. Whether your prenup was drafted online or by an attorney, it can be challenged like any other contract.
Q: Is a prenuptial agreement necessary for all marriages?
A: No, you do not need a prenup in order to get married in Illinois. Illinois divorce law provides a “default prenup” if you do not get a “real” prenup. What do we mean by that? Well, if you don’t get a prenup, there are state laws in place to divide your assets, determine spousal support, allocate debt, etc. This is sort of like a “default prenup.” If you had gotten a real prenup, it would override those default divorce laws.
Q: Can I modify my prenup after I get married?
A: Yes, in Illinois, you can create an amendment to a prenup that modifies the original agreement. You will need to make sure your spouse agrees to the changes, then find an attorney who can put it into writing for you. Then, all that’s left is to finalize and sign!
The Bottom Line
There’s no magic trick to getting a prenup in Chicago. It’s a matter of choosing how you will get your prenup (online or with a lawyer), discussing the terms of the prenup, negotiating the terms, drafting the prenup, and finalizing it! Simple as that. The trickiest part may be deciding what goes into your prenup. With resources like HelloPrenup and knowledgeable Chicago prenup lawyers, you will be in great hands!
Robert “Bobby” Buchanan is the founder and owner of The Law Offices of Robert B. Buchanan. He resides in Clarendon Hills, Illinois, with his wife Kathleen, and two young children, Luke and Nora.
Originally from a small coastal town in Northern California, Bobby spent his twenties earning his B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, and traveling throughout Europe and South America. Of note, he taught English in Brazil for a year while learning Portuguese.
In 2009, Bobby moved to Chicago to attend Chicago-Kent college of law on scholarship. After graduating in 2012 and earning his license, he began working for a boutique firm that focused on criminal defense and family law issues. His litigation skills developed quickly representing clients at every major court house in the Chicagoland area.
In 2017, The Law Offices of Robert B. Buchanan was founded with the core values of compassion, integrity, and teamwork.
Bobby set out to build a firm that was client-focused and on the cutting edge of legal representation. Utilizing his managerial skills, love of technology, and desire to help people change their lives for the better, Bobby has built a massively successful team of litigators and support personnel.
In his spare time, Bobby spends as much time as possible with his family. He likes to go running along the train tracks while pushing Luke in the stroller, helping Nora with tummy time, and cooking his wife a delicious meal.