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When is an Illinois Prenuptial Agreement Invalid?

Posted on in Family Law

kane county family law attorneyUnder Illinois law, a couple has the ability to enter into a prenuptial agreement that defines each spouse’s interests in marital and non-marital assets. A prenup can be especially helpful if the marriage later ends in divorce, as it can allow the spouses to smoothly divide their property and resolve questions of spousal maintenance on their own terms. However, there are cases in which a prenuptial agreement can be an additional source of conflict during the divorce process, particularly when a spouse tries to claim that an agreement is invalid and unenforceable.

Reasons to Invalidate a Prenup in Illinois

In most cases, prenuptial agreements are valid and legally enforceable, and they cannot be dismissed simply because a spouse is no longer satisfied with terms they had previously agreed to. However, you may be able to make the case that the court should not enforce your prenup if you have evidence of at least one of the following:

  • You were never legally married after signing the prenup. A prenuptial agreement only takes effect upon marriage, so if you decide not to go through with the marriage, or if the marriage is void for whatever reason, your partner cannot lay claim to any of your assets that the prenup may have granted them.

  • The prenup did not meet the legal requirements. In Illinois, prenuptial agreements are only valid if they are created in writing, and they must also be signed by both partners. Oral agreements, or agreements that were drafted but never signed, are not enforceable.

  • You did not willingly sign the prenup. If you have evidence that your spouse coerced or blackmailed you into signing the agreement, for example, you can ask the court to invalidate it.

  • Your spouse withheld important information from you. Your agreement will not be enforceable if you can demonstrate that it is unfair or unconscionable because your spouse did not fully disclose their assets and debts before you signed the agreement.

  • The prenup eliminates or limits your claim to spousal support and causes you undue hardship. While it is possible to waive spousal maintenance in a prenup, you may be able to ask the court to set aside this term if you will be unable to provide for yourself after the divorce.

  • The prenup adversely affects your child’s right to support. Under no circumstances can a prenuptial agreement eliminate a parent’s child support obligations, and a prenup could also be invalidated if it indirectly limits a parent’s ability to make support payments.

Contact a St. Charles Family Law Attorney

If you feel that your prenuptial agreement puts you at an unfair disadvantage, the Kane County family lawyers at the Law Offices of Benedict Schwarz, II PC can help you determine whether it is invalid and make your case in court. We can also help you establish a legally valid prenup if you want to protect your property as you begin your marriage. Contact us at 847-428-7725 to schedule a initial consultation.





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