When couples are preparing to marry or have already married, they may consider entering into a marital agreement such as a prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement. While marital agreements can be beneficial to both spouses, there are certain things that must be included in the agreement for it to be enforceable. Otherwise, the agreement may not stand up in a court of law. This blog will explain five reasons a marital agreement may be unenforceable in Illinois.
The Agreement was Signed Under Duress
In order for an agreement to be legally binding, it must have been signed voluntarily by both parties. If one spouse was forced or coerced into signing the document due to threats or fear of retribution from the other spouse, then it will not be enforceable. That is why it is important for each spouse to consult with their own attorney before signing any marital agreement.
The Agreement Contains Unconscionable Terms
Marital agreements must contain fair and reasonable terms that are beneficial to both parties for them to be enforceable. If the agreement contains grossly unfair or unconscionable language that only benefits one party over the other, then it could potentially be deemed invalid by a court and thus unenforceable.
The Agreement Includes Provisions about Child Custody or Child Support
Prenuptial agreements and postnuptial agreements cannot address child-related matters like child custody and child support. The court will make decisions about child-related issues based on what is in the child’s best interests, not what is written a marital agreement. If a marital agreement contains provisions about these issues, the court may disregard part or all of the agreement.
The Agreement Does Not Meet All Legal Requirements
State laws vary on what constitutes a valid prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, but there are certain elements that must always exist for an agreement to be enforceable under state law, such as clear disclosure of assets and debts and full financial disclosure from both parties prior to signing the document. Illinois marital agreements must be in writing and signed by both parties.
Spouses Did Not Have Enough Time to Read and Understand the Terms of the Agreement
A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement must also include an element of intent from both parties. Spouses must have ample time to read and understand the provisions contained in the agreement. If a spouse is handed a prenuptial agreement mere hours before a wedding ceremony, the document may not be legally binding.
Marital agreements can provide couples with many important protections if drafted correctly and entered into willingly by both parties prior to marriage (or during marriage). However, these types of contracts need to meet all legal requirements set forth by Illinois law so that they are deemed enforceable should either party ever challenge them during a divorce. If you are considering entering into a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement with your partner in Illinois, make sure you familiarize yourself with all applicable laws beforehand so you know exactly what needs to go into your contract for it to stand up in court should either party ever decide to challenge its validity.
Contact a Palatine Prenuptial Agreement Lawyer
Marital agreements must comply with Illinois law to be enforceable. Contact Arlington Heights family law attorney Nicholas W. Richardson for help setting up a marital agreement that satisfies the legal requirements and meets your unique needs. Call 847.873.6741 for a confidential consultation.