Making and Breaking Prenuptial Agreements in Illinois

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Making and Breaking Prenuptial Agreements in Illinois

Once upon a time, only super-rich couples with substantial separate property bothered with premarital agreements. A web of complex laws governed these pacts. Furthermore, enforcement was uneven. Results might even vary among different judges in the same county. So, if the couple later divorced, a premarital agreement could do little more than intimidate the other side’s attorney.

The Uniform Marital and Premarital Agreements Act changed all that. Instead of a network of laws, there is one law. This reduction greatly streamlined prenuptial agreement formation. Additionally, most other states have also adopted the UMPAA. So, a premarital agreement may even be enforceable across state lines.

In as little as one office visit, a Rolling Meadows family law attorney can craft a prenuptial agreement that does more than prevent costly divorce litigation. A premarital agreement also resolves problems in advance, putting your marriage on a stronger foundation.

Making a Premarital Agreement in Cook County

Many people want premarital agreements for financial purposes. Indeed, property classification and division is usually the most time-consuming and expensive part of a divorce. Furthermore, financial disputes are one of the leading causes of marital discord. A premarital agreement addresses both these issues, through provisions like:

  • Property Classification: The marital/nonmarital distinction is not always cut and dried. Even as something as common as paying student loans (nonmarital debt) with funds from one’s paycheck (marital asset) may cause problems. Prenups avoid this issue.
  • Spousal Support Limits: Typically, if a poor spouse marries a wealthy spouse, the poor spouse may essentially waive alimony, to show the family that s/he is not a “gold-digger.” These limits can be adjusted, or even eliminated, by mutual agreement.
  • Property Division: Many times, property has an emotional value as well as a financial value. Retirement accounts, which represent security and reward for sacrifice, are a good example. A premarital agreement helps ensure that the property is valued properly.

Child support matters are about the only financial issues which are off-limits in premarital agreements. These awards must be in the best interests of the children, and not in the best interests of the parents.

Prenuptial agreements may also cover inheritance and succession matters. These issues are especially important if either spouse has been married before and a small business, or side hustle, is involved. Many times, Rolling Meadows family law attorneys also draft wills and other executory documents with a premarital agreement. That way, the spouse’s wishes are doubly clear.

Breaking a Premarital Agreement

No contract is absolutely ironclad. So, there are basically two ways to overturn an unfair premarital agreement property division:

  • Unconscionable: Many divisions are uneven or maybe even inequitable, but they are not unconscionable. That is a higher standard. Additionally, the challenging spouse must prove the agreement was unconscionable when it was made. For example, stock certificates may be nearly worthless at one point and incredibly valuable a few years later.
  • Involuntary: Sometimes, one spouse pressures another spouse into signing. The pressure must be excessive. Other times, a spouse withholds information, so the other spouse’s signature is not truly voluntary. In these situations, challenging spouses must prove they could not have obtained the missing information elsewhere.

If all this sounds complex, just relax. Generally, if each spouse had an independent Rolling Meadows family law attorney throughout the entire process, most judges will uphold these agreements.

Connect with a Tenacious Lawyer

Premarital agreements make potential divorce easier and a certain marriage stronger. For a free consultation with an experienced family law attorney in Rolling Meadows, contact Andrea Heckman Law. We have several area offices to serve our clients better.

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