Contesting Prenuptial Agreements in Illinois

court proceedings, division of property, Illinois family law attorney, Illinois law, Illinois statute, invalid marriage, postnuptial agreements, prenup, prenuptial agreements, Spousal Support, unconscionable agreementPrenuptial agreements are contracts that set out a plan for the division of property and assets if a couple decides to divorce. Illinois law requires prenuptial agreements to be in writing and signed by both parties. The agreements go into effect once a couple gets married.

Prenups are not iron clad, and they can be contested. Under Illinois law, prenups cannot contain provisions that adversely affect the right of a child to receive child support, violate public policy, or violate a criminal statute. Any of these prenup provisions will be unenforceable, but will not necessarily make the whole agreement invalid. A court can choose to strike only the invalid provisions, and enforce the rest of the agreement.

Prenuptial Agreement Enforcement

In addition to partially invalidating a prenup that contains prohibited provisions, courts can also invalidate an entire agreement. An invalidated prenup is completely unenforceable. If a prenuptial agreement is found to be unenforceable, spousal support and division of property are determined through court proceedings.

There are several reasons that a prenuptial agreement can be held to be unenforceable. These reasons are listed in the Illinois statute, and can be asserted when contesting the agreement. In Illinois, a prenup can be held to be unenforceable due to:

  • Timing: A prenuptial agreement must be signed before marriage. Postnuptial agreements are available for couples that did not execute a prenup before they married.
  • Pressure, Duress or Coercion: A situation in which a party did not sign the agreement voluntarily. The contesting party must show evidence to prove that he or she did not voluntarily sign the agreement.
  • Invalid Marriage: The marriage is determined to be void for any reason. If a marriage is deemed invalid, a court can still enforce the prenuptial agreement in order to avoid an unfair result.
  • Unconscionable agreement: An unconscionable agreement is one that is shocking to the conscience and extremely unfair to one party. In Illinois, an unconscionable prenup is unenforceable if:
  • One party was dishonest in disclosing assets, property, and financial obligations;
  • The contesting party did not voluntarily, in writing, waive the right to disclosure of the other party’s property and financial obligations; and
  • The contesting party did not have, or could not reasonably be expected to have, an adequate knowledge of the other party’s property and financial obligations.
  • Undue Hardship: If a provision of the agreement reduces spousal support in a way that will result in undue hardship, a court can modify the support in order to avoid the hardship.

Consult with an Illinois Prenuptial Agreement Attorney

Divorce can be a very difficult time, especially if it is prolonged by court proceedings over a prenuptial agreement. The prenuptial agreement attorneys at Martoccio & Martoccio have years of experience representing clients on both sides of prenuptial agreement disputes. Located in Hinsdale, Illinois, our law firm provides quality legal counsel for prenup contests in DuPage, Cook, Kane, and Will Counties. If you need representation in a prenuptial agreement dispute, contact us today.

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