Illinois has enacted the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act. Premarital agreements may be contracted between two prospective spouses with respect to:
- the rights and obligations of each of the parties in any of the property of either or both of them whenever and wherever acquired or located;
- the right to buy, sell, use, transfer, exchange, abandon, lease, consume, expend, assign, create a security interest in, mortgage, encumber, dispose of, or otherwise manage and control property;
- the disposition of property upon separation, marital dissolution, death, or the occurrence or nonoccurrence of any other event;
- the modification or elimination of spousal support;
- the making of a will, trust, or other arrangement to carry out the provisions of the agreement;
- the ownership rights in and disposition of the death benefit from a life insurance policy;
- the choice of law governing the construction of the agreement, and
- any other matter, including their personal rights and obligations, not violation of public policy or a statute imposing a criminal penalty.
The most important thing to remember is that there are certain simple guidelines to follow, and if they are ignored, the agreement will be unenforceable in court. A premarital agreement is not enforceable if the party against whom enforcement is sought proves that:
- the agreement was not entered into voluntarily;
- the agreement was, “unconscionable” when it was executed;
- a fair and reasonable disclosure of the property or financial obligations of the other party was not provided before the agreement was entered into (or the right to such disclosure was not voluntarily and expressly waived in writing);
- did not have, or reasonably could not have had, an adequate knowledge of the property or financial obligations of the other party.
Sometimes, parties will attempt to craft their own Premarital Agreement by themselves, without the assistance of an attorney. We strongly advise that both parties have independent attorneys craft and review the Premarital Agreement with each party. Our courts have found that each party needs to have independent legal advice before entering into any Premarital Agreement. Otherwise, the Premarital Agreement will almost certainly be unenforceable.
Contact an Attorney for any of your pre-marital agreement needs?
For more information about what is needed for a pre-marital agreement, email our Chicago Divorce Attorneys or call our office in Chicago at 312.360.0250 or our Skokie office at 847.329.0101 to help you.