While prenuptial agreements can be a wonderful source of constructive conversations before a marriage and a protective measure for both spouses before divorce, not everybody wants to write and sign a prenup. While there are good reasons for both having and not having a prenup, everybody feels differently about these legally-binding contracts, and the feeling that a prenup constrains a marriage in a way that feels overly financial or transactional is very common.
Furthermore, a prenuptial agreement is often not simply the product of an engaged couple. The parents of one or both spouses may encourage the couple to sign a prenup, and some parents insist that a prenup be signed before doing important things like helping the couple pay for their wedding. Again, while the parental desire to have a prenup to protect an engaged child is understandable, the kind of pressure parents put on a couple may actually backfire by invalidating the agreement. To learn how a prenuptial agreement could be invalidated in Illinois, read on.
When Parents Make a Wedding Conditional on a Prenuptial Agreement
Illinois law requires prenuptial agreements to favor both spouses fairly and to be signed without the influence of coercion or duress. While coercion and duress may look different to one person than another, courts will look for certain signs that indicate coercion may have been at play when the prenup was signed. These include, but are not limited to:
A prenuptial agreement being signed right before a wedding – If a prenup is signed right before a wedding, this may be used as evidence that the prenup was presented to a spouse, after the wedding was already planned and paid for, to pressure him or her into signing out of fear of having the wedding canceled.
One spouse did not have an attorney – If one spouse did not have legal representation to help him or her understand the terms and conditions of a prenup, especially if the other spouse (and/or his or her parents) did have an attorney, a judge may decide the spouse without legal representation may not have understood the prenup enough to make it enforceable.
Friends and family can testify to coercion – If the friends and family of a spouse who was coerced can testify that coercion took place, this can stand in favor of a spouse trying to argue that a prenup should not be enforced. While having a friend agree that coercion was used may not, in and of itself, be enough to convince a judge, if many people in a spouse’s social circle were aware and concerned that undue pressure was put on a spouse to sign a prenup, this could be used in the spouse’s favor.
Unconscionable terms in the prenup – If an agreement was enforced and would leave one spouse impoverished or dependent on public assistance, while the other spouse was unaffected or even enriched by the prenup, a judge can refuse to enforce the prenup whether it was signed under duress or not.
Contact a DuPage County Divorce Lawyer Today
If you were pressured into signing a prenup, you may be able to contest its terms in a divorce. To learn more about your potential options, call a Wheaton, IL divorce attorney with Goostree Law Group today. We have worked with many couples in both writing and fighting prenups, and will work hard to help you achieve a favorable outcome in your case. Call 630-364-4046 today to schedule a free consultation.