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What are the requirements for prenuptial agreements in Illinois?

On behalf of Janet Boyle of Boyle Feinberg Sharma posted in Child Support on Wednesday, January 7, 2015.

Illinois couples may be interested in some information about what prenuptial agreements are and the state requirements surrounding these contracts. Failure to adhere to these requirements could make the agreement invalid. Before an Illinois couple gets married, they may enter into an agreement that covers how their property should be dealt with and how spousal support, if any, should be handled when they divorce. Other matters can be covered as well, as long as they are not in violation of public policy. One such prohibited provision would be one that affects a child’s right to child support.

In order for a prenuptial agreement to be enforced by a court, it must abide by certain rules. The first rule is that the prenuptial agreement must be signed by both parties and in writing. Verbal or unsigned agreements are not valid. The second rule is that both spouses must enter into the agreement voluntarily. If there is evidence of coercion in the signing of the agreement, a court may refuse to enforce its terms in a subsequent divorce proceeding.

Finally, the agreement itself cannot be unconscionable. This means that before or at the time of signing, one of the spouses did not disclose all of their assets, property and liabilities to the other. If this disclosure was not waived by the other spouse and they would not or should not otherwise have that knowledge already, the agreement will be deemed unconscionable.

Obtaining an understanding of the requirements and the contents appropriate for a prenuptial agreement can be difficult without the assistance and counsel of an attorney who has experience in family law matters. The attorney may also be helpful in handling any subsequent divorce legal issues, such as child support enforcement and property division.

Source: Illinois General Assembly , “FAMILIES“, January 06, 2015