What Should Be in a Prenuptial Agreement?

Prenuptial Agreement


Prenuptial agreements, also known as premarital agreements, often get a bad rap. One spouse may resist entering into the agreement, viewing it as a document prepared with an expectation of divorce. That stigma needs to disappear, and a premarital agreement should be viewed as an insurance policy. You hope you never have to use it, but if you do, you are really glad you have it.

Illinois Law and Premarital Agreements

The Illinois Uniform Premarital Agreement Act established requirements for a premarital agreement in order for it to be enforceable. For example, the agreement must be:

  • In writing.
  • Signed by both parties.
  • Entered into voluntarily and not under duress.
  • Financial disclosures by both parties must be complete with no hidden assets. It is a good practice to attach financial balance sheets to the agreement.
  • You can limit or eliminate spousal support.
  • The agreement can be modified at any time before or after the marriage. The modification must be in writing and signed by both parties.
  • The right of a child to support may “not be adversely affected” by the agreement.

There are other provisions that may void the agreement. For example, if the couple does divorce, and the court deems the agreement unconscionable, or one that creates an undue hardship for one party, the court may not enforce the agreement.

Common Reasons Couples Want a Prenuptial Agreement

  • One or both parties have separate property, and they want to be sure it remains their separate property. The prenuptial agreement avoids having to later prove ownership of separate property at the time of a divorce.
  • One or both parties have children from a previous relationship and they want to provide for the children’s inheritance by keeping their separate property separate.
  • One or both parties owns a business and they want to make certain they maintain separate ownership of the business.
  • One or both parties have a substantial net worth and they want to keep their assets protected from division and claims of marital property in the event of a divorce.
  • One or both parties have substantial debt at the time of the marriage and the non-debtor spouse wants to be clear that he or she is not responsible for that debt.

If you are planning a wedding and considering a prenuptial agreement seek out the legal advice of an attorney experienced in drafting such an agreement, contact The Law Offices of Patrick Markey, P.C. for a consultation. We are compassionate and committed to providing you with the personalized attention you deserve.