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How can state law invalidate prenuptial agreements?

On Behalf of | Nov 6, 2020 | Divorce

Couples use prenuptial agreements to work out issues that may come up in divorce. If you have a prenup ready to go, you might believe you will avoid a lot of the conflict and acrimony that comes with ending a marriage. This will depend on whether an Illinois judge determines that your prenuptial agreement is enforceable. 

In certain situations, a judge may invalidate a prenuptial agreement. The Illinois Uniform Premarital Agreement Act describes some of these circumstances. 

Signed under duress 

A prenuptial agreement is something both spouses should give their full consent to. If a spouse claims to have signed the document under duress, a judge may refuse to enforce the agreement. One way a judge may determine coercion took place is whether one spouse presented the agreement too close to the wedding day, pressuring the other spouse to sign it so they can get on with their vows. 

Lack of disclosure

At times a person may compose a prenuptial agreement without reporting all assets and property. As a result, the other spouse signs an agreement without knowing all the finances involved in the marriage. This may deprive the spouse of spousal support later on. According to state law, not reporting assets can serve as grounds to invalidate a prenup. 

There may be instances when a spouse argues that a full disclosure of assets was not necessary because the other spouse verbally waived the right to know. State law, however, does not recognize a verbal waiver. The spouse must put aside a right to disclosure in written form. 

Unforeseen hardships

Sometimes a spouse agrees to take less spousal support or waives the right to receive support after divorce. The waiving spouse may be in a good enough financial position to not need assistance. But circumstances can change by the time of a divorce. The waiving spouse may have lost a job or fallen on hard times. A judge may decide that waiving support would leave the spouse destitute and insist that the spouse receive some kind of support.