A prenuptial agreement can be a valuable tool during a divorce proceeding. However, the agreement is only valuable if it is a valid agreement. If a judge rules the agreement is invalid, the issues in your divorce proceeding become much more complicated and costly. The best way to know that your prenuptial agreement is legal is to consult an Illinois divorce attorney before you enter any marital agreement.
A prenuptial agreement is a binding legal agreement between two individuals who intend to get married. The agreement must be negotiated and signed before the couple marries and meet all requirements under state law for a premarital agreement. The agreement becomes effective when the couple marries and remains in effect until the couple agrees to cancel or modify the agreement, the couple divorces, or a judge determines that the prenuptial agreement is not legal.
A prenuptial agreement sets forth the couple’s agreement regarding issues decided during a divorce proceeding. A premarital agreement may address numerous issues such as alimony, property division, inheritance, life insurance, and other matters related to property or assets.
An agreement may also include issues related to personal matters and household finances. For example, a prenuptial may include agreements related to household budgets and financial goals. It may also refer to childrearing obligations, household maintenance, and other aspects of daily life.
Matters regarding child custody and child support included in the agreement may not be enforceable. Courts have the final say in matters related to children during a divorce proceeding.
Prenuptial agreements in Illinois are subject to the Illinois Uniform Premarital Agreement Act. For a prenuptial agreement to be enforceable in Illinois, the agreement must be in writing. Both parties must sign the agreement before the marriage ceremony takes place.
A judge may find that a prenuptial agreement is not legal if a spouse was forced or coerced into signing the agreement. Another reason that a premarital agreement may not be valid is if one spouse did not fully and accurately disclose all financial information and information regarding property so that the other spouse had full knowledge of these matters before signing the agreement.
A premarital agreement may also be unenforceable if the agreement is unconscionable. An agreement is unconscionable if the terms in the prenup are extremely one-sided in favor of a spouse or are overwhelmingly unjust and unfair to one spouse.
Parties are not required to hire an attorney to draft a premarital agreement. However, hiring an attorney can help you in avoiding some of the common errors that would make a prenuptial agreement unenforceable. Furthermore, because a premarital agreement can significantly impact your financial future, it is wise to have a legal advocate on your side whose only goal is to protect your best interests. Your attorney ensures that the agreement treats you fairly, and the agreement addresses all issues important to you.
Furthermore, having separate attorneys during the process of negotiating, drafting, and signing a prenuptial agreement reduces the argument that a spouse forced the other spouse to sign the agreement or that a spouse did not understand the terms or the significance of the agreement.
If you are interested in drafting a prenuptial agreement or your spouse requests a premarital agreement, contact the Illinois divorce attorneys at the Goodman Law Firm to schedule a consultation today. We will review your case and provide guidance regarding your divorce.
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