How Can I Ensure That My Illinois Premarital Agreement is Enforceable?
Recently, Kelly Clarkson filed for divorce from her husband, Brandon Blackstock, after nearly seven years of marriage. Clarkson is worth an estimated $45 million and is stating that she wants her prenuptial agreement enforced. Reportedly, the prenup outlines an arrangement for legal and physical joint custody of their children, and Clarkson is asking the court to terminate Blackstock’s right to ask for spousal support. The case was filed in a Los Angeles court, but would the court approve her requests if she filed in Illinois? How can you ensure that your premarital agreement is enforced in the Prairie State?
What Makes a Prenup Invalid in Illinois?
Generally speaking, premarital agreements in Illinois are enforceable as long as the agreement is in writing and both parties have willingly signed it. However, there are instances in which a premarital agreement may not be enforced. These include:
- Duress: Each party must willingly sign the agreement and not be under any type of duress when signing. Duress involves a wrongful act or threat to the other party to sign the agreement. For this reason, premarital agreements signed just before the wedding ceremony takes place are often considered unenforceable because it is reasonably assumed that one party threatened the other to get him or her to sign it.
- Fraud: If it is found that one person lied to the other about their assets at the time of signing the premarital agreement, the document may not be legally binding.
- Unconscionable: A family court may find that the agreement was unreasonable or unconscionable to one party and would leave him or her at a great disadvantage in case of divorce. This would make a premarital agreement unenforceable. In order for a premarital agreement to be deemed unconscionable, both parties must have been aware at the time of the signing, not the time of the divorce, that the agreement was unfair.
In Clarkson’s case, none of these situations may apply. However, there are other issues that could deem her agreement with Blackstock unenforceable.
What Can You Include in an Illinois Prenup?
There are certain terms that cannot be included in a premarital agreement and if they appear, a judge may deem those terms unenforceable. A premarital agreement may include a provision for the division of assets during a divorce. In fact, this makes up the bulk of many premarital agreements.
However, a prenup cannot contain provisions for child support or child custody. Although parents are encouraged to work together to create a parenting plan during the divorce process, a judge will decide on these terms when the parents cannot agree. In Clarkson’s case, this could mean that any plan within the agreement may be struck down.
Additionally, while a prenup may also contain a provision for spousal support, a judge may deem it unconscionable if it will leave one spouse in undue financial hardship. Again, while the details of Clarkson’s prenup are not known, if it would leave Blackstock in a financial hardship, which is unlikely, that portion may also be deemed unenforceable by a judge.
Contact an Inverness Prenuptial Agreement Lawyer
Premarital agreements can greatly help a couple, particularly in the event that they get divorced. However, they are only productive if they are written properly and deemed enforceable by the courts. If you are getting married in Illinois and would like to draft a prenup, skilled Palatine family law attorney Nicholas W. Richardson can help you with your premarital arrangements. He understands the legal requirements for these agreements and will help you draft a document that is considered valid by the courts. Call him today at 847-873-6741 to schedule a free consultation.