Illinois Prenuptial Agreements

Created by FindLaw's team of attorney writers and editors.

Whenever there's a high-profile divorce, some of the first thoughts focus on the existence or absence of a prenup. Although they may have a certain reputation, prenups are not solely for celebrities or for the ultra-rich. Any engaged couple that brings personal or business assets to a marriage might consider entering into a prenuptial agreement. The prenuptial agreement (also called a premarital agreement) is an agreement that encompasses terms involving property, children, and other marital issues and is made prior to the marriage (but becomes effective upon marriage).

Illinois Prenuptial Agreements at a Glance

Although the Illinois prenuptial statues are presented in a straightforward manner, there's no harm in simplifying the law even further with a helpful overview. The chart below provides a summary of Illinois' prenuptial agreement law and includes links to the relevant statutes.

Statutes

Content

Although prenuptial agreements are typically thought of in terms of anticipating a divorce, the agreement can cover a lot of different subject areas. State law determines what can and can't be included in the agreement.

What can be included in the prenuptial agreement:

  • Division of property in case of separation, divorce, or death;
  • The right to: buy, sell, use, transfer, exchange, abandon, lease, consume, expend, assign, create a security interest in, mortgage, encumber, dispose of, or otherwise manage and control property;
  • Spousal support changes or elimination of support;
  • The making of a will, trust, or other arrangements to carry out the agreement terms;
  • The ownership rights in and distribution of the death benefit from a life insurance policy; and
  • Choice of law decisions for the agreement.

What can't be included:

  • Any matter that involves criminal activity or is against public policy; and
  • Any terms that adversely affect a child's rights for child support.

Amendment/ Revocation

  • After the marriage, the only way to change the agreement is by a written agreement signed by both parties.
  • No consideration is needed for the amended agreement or revocation.

Enforcement

The prenuptial agreement may be invalid based on various factors. If a person wants to dispute the enforceability of the agreement, they must prove that they didn't sign the agreement voluntarily. Or that the agreement was unconscionable when signed and before signing the agreement, the party didn't have the following:

  • A fair and reasonable disclosure of the property or financial obligations of the other party;
  • A writing waiving their right to the disclosure of the other party's obligations; and
  • Knowledge of the other party's obligations or reason to know of the obligations.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Related Resources for Illinois Prenuptial Agreements:

Discuss Prenuptial Agreements with an Illinois Attorney

Prenuptial agreements don't have to be viewed negatively, but they should be taken seriously. If you're contemplating a prenuptial agreement, you should talk to an experienced attorney before signing anything. Use FindLaw's attorney directory to find one located near you.

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