While there might be no such thing as a standard prenuptial agreement, many address the same concerns — asset division and protection, inheritances, and even future spousal support or alimony. However, prenups can actually provide a multitude of protections and variations that can specifically address the needs and concerns of Illinois couples. The recent divorce filing between actress Jennifer Garner and her husband, Ben Affleck, could demonstrate just how uniquely useful these types of documents can be. 

For those who are not yet familiar with Garner-Affleck split, Garner filed for divorce on an exceptionally specific date — one day after the couple’s 10-year wedding anniversary. It is possible that state law where the couple lives might have influenced the decision, but it is equally, if not more likely, possible that specific provisions in their prenup dictated their decision to wait for this date. Many couples choose to dictate alimony payments or other financial benefits based on the length of the marriage. Some couples increase these provisions for every year they are married, while others select a specific length of time and set the provision at that point.

The couple’s divorce decision appears to have been carefully calculated. Prior to the filing, reports indicate that Garner and Affleck had already been separated for months and were likely biding their time until they filed for divorce. Being aware of all of the various terms and their implications within a prenup can ultimately help guide couples toward the most appropriate time to file.

Of course, the approximate 63 percent increase in the occurrence of prenups over the course of the past several years could indicate that some people might already understand just how useful these agreements can be. Illinois couples should still exercise caution when drafting, signing and filing these agreements, as otherwise, simple mistakes along the way can make it hard to uphold the terms during a divorce. If a divorce is inevitable, a prenup can be more than just a guide, it can also be a helpful tool to determining when couples should actually file.

Source: Fortune, “What we can learn about prenups from the Ben Affleck-Jennifer Garner Divorce“, Laura J. Vogel, July 4, 2015