How to Challenge Your Prenuptial Agreement

prenuptial agreement, DuPage County divorce attorneyPrenuptial agreements are becoming increasingly common in today’s society, especially as remarriages and marriages between individuals with significant property holdings become more prevalent. When properly executed, a prenuptial agreement can be a very useful tool for alleviating contentiousness and disagreement in the event of a divorce. On the other hand, there may be situations in which the agreement you signed before your marriage may not actually be enforceable under the law.

Change Your Mind?

It is important to keep in mind that a prenuptial agreement is a contract with your soon-to-be spouse. Signing any contract has its consequences, and this situation is no different. Over time, you may come to regret the choices you made in drafting the terms of your agreement, but that does not usually make them any less enforceable. A court will not set your agreement aside just because you have changed your mind about your decisions. You signed the contract, and you must live with its provisions. However, there are some factors that could render your prenuptial agreement unenforceable.

Grounds for Challenging Your Agreement

In 1990, Illinois adopted the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act, which outlines the criteria required for a valid prenuptial agreement. Case law in the state has also established a number of precedents that clarify your rights to challenge a prenuptial agreement even further. In requesting that your agreement be set aside, you should be able to prove to the court:

  • You lacked adequate representation at the time. While the law does explicitly require that you have your own lawyer in signing a prenuptial agreement, a lack of counsel may show that you did not truly understand the contract;
  • You were coerced or under duress. Such a claim requires serious threats or actions by the other party. Threatening to cancel the wedding, for example, is not sufficient. You must have been deprived of your ability to exercise free will, which may include making you sign the agreement while under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
  • Your partner did not disclose everything. You can only sign an agreement based on what you know. If your partner hid assets, debts, or other information, and you did not waive your right to full disclosure, the agreement may be invalid; and
  • The agreement was unconscionable when it was signed. If the terms of the agreement are too lopsided—based on information that was available at the time—the court may set it aside. A prenuptial agreement must be relatively fair and reasonable, and may not place one spouse at a severe disadvantage.

There are other situations in which the court may refuse to enforce only certain elements of an agreement, such as provisions for future child support which cannot be addressed in a prenuptial agreement. However, if you wish to have the entire agreement set aside, your burden of proof will be much more substantial.

If you are interested in challenging the validity of your prenuptial agreement, contact an experienced divorce lawyer in Aurora. We will review your situation and help you protect your rights to an equitable divorce settlement. Call 630-409-8184 for a confidential consultation today.

 

Sources:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-centeno/10-common-prenup-pitfalls_b_4214860.html

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2087&

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jefflanders/2013/04/02/five-reasons-your-prenup-might-be-invalid/#33cc09212e3d

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