Rock Island County Court invalidates alimony waiver in prenup agreement

A Rock County court recently upheld a prenuptial agreement in a high net worth divorce case.

The wife filed for divorce in September of 2009 and the husband found the prenuptial agreement nearly a year and a half later. The husband sought to enforce the prenuptial agreement and a trial court found that it was valid and enforceable with the exception of the maintenance waiver provision. The court then awarded the wife permanent maintenance of $6,515 per month.

In finding the maintenance waiver unenforceable, the court cited the fact that the couple had been married for over 30 years, during which time the husband established and maintained control over the wife’s business, personal and retirement finances.

The court was unsympathetic to the wife’s arguments that she would be unable to maintain her country club membership at her level of alimony, characterizing her former standard of living as “extravagant.” The court did note however that the wife was drawing a significantly lower level of Social Security payments because of a plan contrived by the husband and his accountant to divert her social security contributions back to the family business.

The husband also failed to correct the wife’s misunderstanding that they were in a joint economic venture.

This is a case where although the wife had substantial assets, the husband’s lack of financial candor during the marriage resulted in the court invalidating the prenuptial agreement’s alimony waiver for the sake of equity.

Source: In Re Marriage of Corwell, 2013 IL App (3d) 120055-U, Circuit No. 09-D-5155, MAy 24, 2013

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