Chicago Prenuptial Agreement 101 – by Brian James

A  Chicago prenuptial agreement can protect a person’s assets in the event of death or divorce.  This is particularly important when a person has a sizably different estate before marriage or wants to protect children from a prior marriage or relationship.  Business owners may want to protect their investment.  In order for a Chicago prenuptial agreement to be valid, it must consist of the following:

A Written Form 

Illinois law requires prenuptial agreements to be in writing.  Both parties must sign the agreement.  If these requirements are lacking, the agreement is not enforceable.

Voluntarily Entered 

The prenuptial agreement must be entered into on a voluntary basis.  No fraud, duress or undue influence should be present.  Courts determine whether a party was under duress based on the particular facts of the case.  However, the timing of when the agreement is entered into is one important consideration.

Not Be Unconscionable 

At the time the agreement is executed, it cannot be unconscionable.  An agreement may be unconscionable if it is particularly one-sided or oppressive in nature.  A court looks that the specific conditions that existed at the time the agreement was made and the economic circumstances implicated.

Fair Financial Disclosures Are Provided

Each party must submit financial disclosures to the other party regarding their known assets and debts.  This allows the other party to make an informed decision.  If a party hides assets, income or other financial interests, the premarital agreement may not be enforced.  Although this is a requirement, a party can waive the disclosure requirement.

Discretionary Considerations 

Even if a prenuptial agreement complies with all of the elements listed above, the court may not enforce the agreement if doing so would cause undue hardship that was not contemplated at the time of entering into the contract.  A lawyer can help negotiate a prenuptial agreement on the client’s behalf.

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