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Considering a Prenup? Make Sure it is Valid.

Posted on in Family Law

McHenry County Family Law AttorneyPrenuptial agreements are becoming increasingly popular among engaged couples of all ages. Prenuptial agreements can protect both spouses’ financial interests in the event of divorce or the death of a spouse. They also represent an important opportunity for engaged couples to discuss financial plans and expectations before they walk down the aisle. In a country where financial problems are consistently cited as a top cause of divorce, financial transparency is crucial to building a strong marriage.

However, prenuptial agreements must meet certain criteria to be legally binding. If a prenup does not meet these requirements, it may be completely useless during a divorce.

Requirements for Prenuptial Agreements in Illinois

Prenuptial agreements and postnuptial agreements are legal contracts. As with any contract, they must meet certain standards to be legally enforceable. In Illinois, part of all of a prenuptial agreement may be thrown out if these standards are not met.

Prenuptial agreements must be:

  • Written and signed by both parties – Handshake agreements or causal arrangements are not enforceable during a divorce.  

  • Agreed to by both parties – Both spouses must fully read, understand, and consent to the provisions contained within the prenup. If a party was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time they agreed to the prenup, it may be invalid. The spouses must also have ample time to read and consider the terms of the prenup. For example, a husband cannot present a bride with a prenuptial agreement mere hours before the marriage ceremony. Furthermore, a spouse cannot be coerced or forced into signing the prenuptial agreement.

  • Based on accurate financial information – One of the most crucial elements of creating a prenuptial agreement is financial disclosure. Both spouses must provide a complete, accurate account of their assets and debts. This ensures that the spouses are basing their decisions on accurate financial information. If a spouse lied about income, assets, debts, or other financial information during the development of a prenup, the document may be invalid.

  • Free of unconscionable provisions – Some provisions in a prenuptial agreement are void because they are “unconscionable” or unethical.

Prenuptial agreements offer a number of benefits for spouses – even if they do not end up getting divorced. However, these documents are useless if they do not meet the standards required by Illinois law. This is why it is important to work with a knowledgeable family law attorney when drafting a prenuptial agreement.

Contact a McHenry County Family Lawyer

If you are interested in learning more about how a prenuptial agreement can benefit you and your fiancé(e), contact a skilled Crystal Lake family law attorney from Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC. Call us today at 815-338-3838 for a free initial consultation.




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