A prenuptial agreement (prenup) is a premarital contract regarding a couple’s property and assets, including how they will be handled in the event of a divorce. To be legally enforceable in our state, a prenuptial agreement must conform to the legal requirements contained in the Illinois Uniform Premarital Agreement Act. Even a seemingly small error could render a premarital agreement unenforceable. Here, our family law attorneys highlight four of the most common reasons why prenups are deemed invalid in Illinois.
No Formalized, Written Agreement
In some circumstances, you do not necessarily need a written agreement to have a valid contract. An oral contract is sometimes enforceable in Illinois. However, an informal or oral prenuptial agreement is never valid in Illinois. Under state law, a prenup must be “in writing and signed by both parties.” An informal pre-marriage “deal” is simply not enforceable. Only written and formalized prenuptial agreements will be enforced by state courts.
Prenup Contains Invalid Provisions
Not only does a prenuptial agreement have to be formal, but the contents must comply with strict state rules and regulations. There are only certain things that can be addressed within a prenup. If an agreement contains invalid provisions, the whole thing might be thrown out by a court. As a simple example, you cannot negotiate terms for child custody or child visitation within a prenup. In addition, you cannot pre-determine child support obligations.
Agreement Signed Under Coercion
Another common reason why prenups are invalidated in Illinois is because of coercion. Under the state’s Uniform Premarital Agreement Act, each spouse must be given a fair and reasonable opportunity to enter into or decline the terms of the agreement. If the court determines that undue influence or undue pressure was used to get one spouse to sign the agreement, it might render the entire prenup invalid. Both parties should consult with their own family law attorney before signing a prenup.
Lack of Full and Fair Disclosures Before Signing
Finally, prenups can be invalidated on the grounds that full and fair disclosures were not made prior to the marriage. When negotiating a prenup, each party has a basic legal right to know exactly what they are getting themselves into. If one spouse was hiding significant assets, property, or debts from the other, that could be deemed grounds to render the prenuptial agreement invalid and unenforceable.
Contact Our St. Charles Family Lawyers for Help
At Goostree Law Group, we have the knowledge and skills to negotiate, draft, review, and litigate prenuptial agreements. If you have questions about prenups or postnups, we are here to help. Contact our firm at 630-584-4800 for a free consultation with an experienced Kane County family law attorney.