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Can prenuptial agreements in Illinois be unenforceable?

Illinois couples will get married with the intention that the union will last. Unfortunately, the divorce rates are such that it is just as likely that it will fail as it will succeed. People will frequently try to shield themselves from the possibility that there will be a divorce by crafting prenuptial agreements, also referred to under the law as premarital agreements. Even if the document is completed based on the law, there are times when the agreement is unenforceable. Knowing how the law determines if the agreement is unenforceable can be important to both spouses.

The party that was asked to sign the agreement must meet certain criteria for the agreement to be valid. If that person did not enter into the agreement on a voluntary basis, it could be unenforceable. There is a chance that the agreement was unconscionable, or unfair, when it was executed. If that is the case, and the person who signed it: did not receive a fair and reasonable disclosure regarding the other person's property and finances; failed to sign a written waiver foregoing that disclosure; and did not or could not have had sufficient knowledge of these issues, then the document could be unenforceable.

If there is a provision in the agreement to modify or end spousal support and it will cause hardship if there were issues that could not have been foreseen when it was executed, the other party might be required to provide support to avoid it. The court will determine whether the document is unconscionable or not.

Since a prenuptial agreement is often put in place because one spouse has significant assets and the other has less, the goal is to protect the person who has more. If there is a failure to follow the law for enforceability, the document could be invalid. Those who are on either side should be cognizant of the law and how to deal with prenuptial agreements and their validity.

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