Lawyers for Spousal Agreement Matters
No one anticipates an untimely death, but responsible people have life insurance so they are prepared if the unexpected becomes a reality. In a similar vein, no couple expects to get a divorce, but responsible spouses should have a premarital agreement in case the unexpected occurs. Additionally, these documents can resolve disputes before they erupt into conflict and put future plans into writing. In terms of the applicable law for prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, Illinois' Uniform Premarital Agreement Act consolidates the applicable rules.
At Glasgow & Olsson, our attorneys serve as both strong advocates and trusted advisors. You can count on them to provide solid advice based on the appropriate law and your family's unique situation. Our firm is here to help ensure that your marriage starts off on a firm foundation, and a premarital agreement can be part of that footing.
Why Have a Marital Agreement?
There is nearly always an element of uncertainty in even the strongest relationships, and while a prenuptial agreement cannot remove these feelings entirely, it can clear up some common issues, such as:
- Money: Finances are a leading cause of marital conflict; a premarital agreement can stop these divisions from forming in the first place.
- Inheritance: Especially in a subsequent marriage, it is important to clearly set forth the children's’ future rights.
Once it is signed and properly executed, a marital agreement remains in force unless and until both spouses execute a new one in writing.
Challenging a Marital Agreement
Under the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act, a party challenging a pact must prove that it was not entered into voluntarily or that it was unconscionable when made. The first challenge--involuntariness--is difficult to establish, because Illinois law essentially requires some form of physical coercion. Unconscionability, on the other hand, may be demonstrated in several ways:
- There was no “fair and reasonable” disclosure of finances and property,
- Necessary waiver language is omitted, or
- The agreement results in a grossly disproportionate split—such as 90-10 or 80-20.
To avoid later disputes, it is best that both parties have independent counsel throughout the process.
Limitations on Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements
Spousal support restrictions are generally enforceable, provided that if these limitations impose an “undue hardship” on the recipient spouse, the payor spouse must provide support “to the extent necessary to avoid such hardship.” Illinois law is rather uncertain as to what these terms mean. Similarly, child support can only be restricted in extreme circumstances, and such provisions are almost always void.
A marital agreement can start a relationship on a sure foundation, or keep it moving forward after the couple exchanges vows. For your initial consultation in this area, contact us today at 847-577-8700.