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Review of prenuptial agreements in Illinois

As many residents of Rockford, Illinois, may already be aware, this state recognizes what are commonly called prenuptial agreements, but which the law refers to as "premarital agreements". One purpose of these agreements is to specify what happens to a couple's property, particularly property one or the other may have acquired separately, in the event of a divorce.

However, even happily married couples also can benefit from a prenuptial agreement, for example, if they have children from a prior relationship. The important thing to remember about prenuptial agreements in Illinois is that they can only cover what happens to the couple's property and can also touch on other, related issues. A prenuptial agreement cannot bind the parties, or the court, to arrangements pertaining to allocation of parental responsibilities or child support. A prenuptial agreement can, subject to certain limitations, eliminate any requirement that one party pay the other spousal support.

There are certain minimum requirements a prenuptial agreement in Illinois must satisfy in order to be enforceable. Generally speaking, the agreement needs to be in writing and signed by both parties. On a more substantive note, but parties must enter the agreement voluntarily and without undue pressure. Practically speaking, last minute prenuptials signed right before the big day are more difficult to enforce.

Finally, the agreement must be reasonably fair such that one party is not getting "the short end of the stick" when it comes to dividing property. As such, it is important that both parties be given a full and fair disclosure of the other party's assts. While prenuptial agreements are beneficial to many couples in Illinois, the details of such agreements are often best worked out with the help of an experienced family law attorney.

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