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Category: Family Law Finances

Prenuptial Agreements Play an Important Role in Illinois Marriages

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Written by Jessica Mansbacher Kibbe on 2.22.24

In the realm of family law, one legal instrument that often sparks both interest and controversy is the prenuptial agreement. Commonly known as a prenup, this legal document plays a significant role in shaping the financial landscape of a marriage. In the state of Illinois, where family law statutes govern these matters, understanding the intricacies of prenuptial agreements is crucial for individuals contemplating marriage. If you are prenup-curious, reach out to an experienced Chicago family law attorney today for assistance.

Illinois Prenup Basics

Illinois law recognizes prenuptial agreements as a legally binding contract between spouses that addresses (typically) financial matters in the event the marriage comes to an end through divorce, the death of a party, or by other means. These agreements are governed by the Illinois Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (750 ILCS 10/1 et seq.), which outlines the requirements and enforceability of prenuptial agreements within the state. Under this statute, a prenup must be in writing and signed by both parties. It becomes effective upon marriage, and it encompasses important issues such as property division, spousal support, and inheritance rights.

What Can You Include in a Prenuptial Agreement?

Illinois law provides a broad scope for couples to customize their prenuptial agreements to suit their specific needs. Some of the permissible clauses that can be included in a prenup under Illinois law include the following:

  • Property Division: Couples can specify how their property and assets will be divided in the event of a divorce or death.
  • Spousal Support: Prenuptial agreements can address the issue of spousal support, including the amount and duration of support, even eliminating altogether.
  • Debt Allocation: Couples can determine how debts acquired during the marriage will be allocated, shielding spouses from potential financial liabilities.
  • Inheritance Rights: Prenups can establish the inheritance rights of each spouse, which is especially relevant when one or both spouses have significant assets or family inheritances.

It is crucial to note that while these clauses are permissible, the courts in Illinois reserve the right to review and potentially modify certain provisions if they are deemed unfair or unconscionable at the time of enforcement or if they violate public policy.

What Can You NOT Include in a Prenuptial Agreement?

While Illinois law allows for a couple to contract with respect to a wide range of matters, there are some important limitations. These mainly pertain to a couple’s existing or future children. Prenups in Illinois cannot predetermine issues related to child custody and child support. For example, a couple cannot place limits on future potential child support payments to be paid in case of divorce. The state of Illinois will determine the appropriate level of child support, no matter what terms a prenup may contain.

Courts always prioritize the best interests of the child, and decisions on custody and support are made based on the circumstances at the time of divorce, not the time of marriage.

You Need an Experienced Attorney to Draft Your Prenuptial Agreement

Given the complexity and potential long-term implications of prenuptial agreements, seeking the guidance of a qualified family law attorney is paramount. A Chicago family law attorney can ensure that the agreement adheres to Illinois law, is drafted comprehensively, and stands up to legal scrutiny. In other words, a prenup that does not follow the rules will be useless down the road when you need it most; it will not hold up in Court.

If you are contemplating marriage in Illinois and are considering a prenuptial agreement, consult with a knowledgeable family law attorney. O. Long Law, LLC, is a trusted legal firm with a team of experienced family law attorneys ready to assist you. Ensure that your prenup is tailored to your needs and compliant with Illinois law. Contact O. Long Law today to schedule a consultation and safeguard your financial future.

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