Laying the Foundation

Numerous studies indicate that money management is one of the leading sources of marital conflict, and aprenuptial agreement can help remove this source of discord before it has a chance to develop into conflict.

That being said, there is certainly nothing romantic about a premarital agreement. But there is also nothing romantic about a life insurance policy, and soon-to-be spouses routinely make such arrangements before they exchange rings. What makes a premarital agreement any different? Illinois is a Uniform Premarital Agreement state, but as it has its own version of the Act, some of the court decisions from other jurisdictions are not binding in The Land of Lincoln.


A premarital agreement can cover almost any financial or inheritance matter, with the exception of child support, which cannot be “adversely affected” in any way. Some of the more common areas include:

  • Rights and obligations of both residential and non-residential real estate property,
  • Disposition of property at dissolution or separation, and
  • Modification, or even elimination, of spousal support.

In addition to financial matters, a prenuptial agreement may also contain language about inheritance issues and “any other matter, including personal rights and obligations, not in violation of public policy or a statute imposing a criminal penalty.”


Family law, in general, places a great deal of importance on lawful agreements between the spouses, and premarital agreements are no exception.

One way to overturn such an agreement, or at least part of it, is to show the agreement was not entered into voluntarily. Most courts typically require a significant amount of arm-twisting to be shown, as even a “sign or else” ultimatum normally does not make the agreement legally involuntary.

Another avenue is to establish that the agreement was unconscionable when it was made. “Unconscionability” is not defined in the statute, but a common legal definition is unusually harsh, a shock to the conscience, and grossly unfair. In such an action, the party seeking to overturn the agreement must also show that there was no fair and reasonable disclosure of property, no voluntary waiver, and no other way to obtain such a disclosure.

To start your marriage on a more solid foundation, contact an experienced family law attorney in Napervilletoday. We can help you draft a prenuptial agreement that meets your needs and that will stand up to any potential challenges in the future.


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