Issues That Can Invalidate a Prenuptial Agreement

prenuptial agreement, Illinois family law attorneysPrenuptial agreements, or “prenups” for short, have long been misunderstood. Some people incorrectly believe that signing a prenuptial agreement with your fiancé means that you are destined to get divorced. This is no truer than saying that buying car insurance destines you to a car accident. Prenuptial agreements not only protect each spouse’s property rights in the event of divorce but they can also help engaged couples effectively communicate about property and debt before getting married. This can be tremendously beneficial to the relationship and help prevent unexpected financial issues during the marriage.

There are certain things that can invalidate a prenuptial or premarital agreement. If you plan to create a prenup, make sure to follow Illinois state guidelines so that your prenuptial agreement is not set aside by the court in the future.

What Should Be Included in an Illinois Prenuptial Agreement

Prenuptial agreements most often address the following issues:

  • What property each spouse will own if the couple divorces;
  • Provisions regarding alimony (called spousal maintenance in Illinois) in the event of a divorce, including the amount to be paid and duration of payments;
  • Each party’s right to sell, use, or dispose of property;
  • Provisions regarding the execution of wills, trusts, or other estate planning instruments;
  • Each party’s rights regarding the other spouse’s life insurance policy upon their death; and
  • Other relevant financial concerns.

What Cannot Be Included in an Illinois Prenup

There are certain issues which a prenuptial agreement cannot address. Couples cannot include provisions relating to issues of child custody, visitation, or parental responsibility. Because access to financial support from both parents is considered the right of a child, a prenup also cannot address how much child support a parent will pay in the event of a divorce.

Furthermore, a prenuptial agreement cannot include unreasonable terms, often called unconscionable provisions, which are irrational or unfair. A prenuptial agreement which assigns one spouse all the property and the other spouse all the debt, for example, would not be allowed in most cases. Lifestyle clauses are also usually not permitted. For example, a prenuptial agreement could not contain directions about a spouse’s weight gain.

Problems Which Make Prenuptial Agreements Unenforceable

In Illinois, directions regarding the enforcement of prenuptial agreements are contained in the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (UPAA). The UPAA requires all prenuptial agreements to be in writing and signed by both spouses. A prenup can be invalidated if a party was incapacitated by drugs or alcohol at the time of agreeing to the contract. A prenuptial agreement can also be thrown out if one spouse was coerced into signing it or was not given the chance to actually read the document before signing it. If it is discovered that the prenuptial agreement contains fraudulent information or does not include pertinent financial information, it may not be legally enforceable.

Contact a Rolling Meadows Family Law Attorney

For help with drafting a prenuptial agreement, contact a knowledgeable Arlington Heights prenuptial agreement lawyer from Cosley Law Office. Call 847-253-3100 to schedule your free initial consultation today.



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