Prenuptial agreements are contracts between two people in contemplation of marriage. Their purpose is to settle monetary and nonmonetary details that arise if the parties later divorce. Most people are familiar with these agreements, as they are often at the scandalous center of celebrity divorce stories in the news. The terms of the agreement can prove newsworthy, especially when there are millions of dollars involved, but riches and fame are not required to disagree about the terms of a prenuptial agreement. Everyday individuals often find themselves at odds over the provisions of these contracts during a divorce.
What Illinois Law Says
Illinois state law refers to prenups as premarital agreements. The Illinois Uniform Premarital Act governs the creation and legality of these agreements within the state. Under the code, couples can contract about:
- the rights of each party in property owned separately or jointly;
- division of the property upon separation of the spouses;
- determination of spousal support, whether it occur on a regular basis or as a one-time payout;
- ownership rights in life insurance policies; and
- any other decisions that do not go against public policy or state law.
It is important to note that premarital agreements may not diminish the monetary support of a minor. Child support payments are set by the state, and a prenup cannot lower the minimum payment amount, even if both parties agree.
Prenuptial disputes are common due to the ever-changing circumstances of life and marital relationships. Couples are generally cooperative and amenable when contemplating marriage. The party with lesser assets may want marriage so badly that he or she is willing to agree with terms that are not particularly fair. On the other end of the spectrum, the party with more assets may let the excitement of new love lead his or her decision-making.
In comparison, relationships are very different at the end of a marriage, often becoming contentious and uncooperative. When it is time to implement the agreement terms, parties may recognize inequities within the contract or realize that some terms do not reasonably match the present circumstances of their marriage.
When the terms of a prenuptial agreement are in dispute, parties may challenge it for the purpose of negating one or more of the agreement’s provisions. A premarital agreement may prove unenforceable if one of the following is demonstrated:
- Both parties did not voluntarily enter into the agreement;
- The contract was unconscionable at the time of execution because one party did not completely disclose all assets or financial obligations; or
- The agreement contracts away spousal support, and an unforeseen circumstance would cause undue burden on one party.
Challenging the terms of a premarital agreement in Illinois can prove difficult without the assistance of an experienced attorney. Contact one of our divorce attorneys at the Law Office of Elizabeth J. Chacko, P.C. today for assistance with a premarital agreement. Serving clients in Wheaton, Carol Stream and Lombard, our capable attorneys are available to assist with all of your divorce needs.