Welcome to the Land of Lincoln, where ketchup on hot dogs is a huge no-no, and sports rule the land… yep, you guessed it, Illinois! If you’re freshly engaged in IL, congrats! Your next step is probably looking into getting a prenup (good on you!). But, where to begin? Do you need a lawyer? Where do you find one? What goes into an IL prenup? How much will it cost me? We answer all of these burning questions and more, so keep reading to learn all things prenups in the Land of Lincoln.
Do I need a prenup lawyer for a valid and enforceable agreement in IL?
The answer is no. We spoke with a seasoned Illinois Prenuptial Agreement Attorney, Mathew Kerbis, on the matter. He explained that while you don’t need to have an attorney, “an Illinois prenup is more likely to be enforced by a court if both spouses-to-be have their own separate attorneys.” In other words, having an attorney is not a default requirement in creating a valid and enforceable agreement in Illinois. Rather, if your partner challenges the enforceability of your prenup down the road, the fact of having an attorney will come into play in the court’s eyes and will give you better chances of enforcing your agreement.
Can my partner and I share one attorney?
Nope! That would be considered a conflict of interest. If you are opting in for legal representation, you and your partner cannot “share” that attorney. Your partner needs to either waive representation (i.e., sign off on a waiver that says they understand that they are giving up their right to a lawyer) or they need to find their own lawyer. Why? Well, because a single attorney can’t effectively represent both parties in an agreement. It’s akin to playing pickleball solo: hitting the ball to one side, then dashing to the other side to attempt hitting it back to oneself–not possible to do it well!
What makes an agreement enforceable in IL?
- A prenup needs to be written and signed by both parties; no handshake deals here!
- A prenup won't hold up if the person contesting it can prove they didn't sign it willingly or if it was totally unfair when it was signed.
- Both parties must have shared their finances with one another (this is known as financial disclosure).
- If the prenup alters spousal support and it turns out that one person requires public assistance in a divorce, a court might step in and order the other person to pay spousal support (even though it was waived or altered in the agreement).
- Unconscionability: When it comes to deciding if a prenup is totally unfair (i.e., unconscionable), it is ultimately up to the court to make that decision.
What can I include in my IL prenup?
So, what can you put in your prenup, you ask? Well, it can differ from state to state. But here’s the lowdown for Illinois: in your prenup, you can decide:
- Who gets what when it comes to property, no matter where it's from.
- The freedom to buy, sell, or manage property as you see fit.
- What happens to stuff if you split up, divorce, or if something else happens.
- Adjusting or getting rid of spousal support.
- Figuring out life insurance.
- Deciding on the state rules (choice of law) for interpreting the agreement.
- Any other matters that don't break the law or go against public policy. (See 750 ILCS 10/4 for the fine print)
But, one important thing to remember: it is a big no-no to include matters that discuss child custody, child support, or anything else against the law in your prenup. Bringing these up might mean your prenup gets tossed out.
The traditional cost of getting a prenup versus HelloPrenup
The average cost of getting a prenuptial agreement in the United States is around $2,500, which covers the traditional route of hiring a lawyer rather than using an online platform like HelloPrenup. However, it’s crucial to understand that this is just an estimate. Depending on your specific situation and the attorney you hire, the cost can skyrocket to $10,000 or more. But hold on a second – is shelling out $2,500 to safeguard your finances sounding a bit off to you? That is where HelloPrenup comes in.
Compare the average U.S. expense of $2,500 for a prenup and HelloPrenup’s cost of $599 per couple. Plus, if you want to add on IL legal services from vetted attorneys, you can do so with our exclusive, flat-rate costs. Using HelloPrenup’s user-friendly platform not only potentially saves you a whopping $1,900 or more but also offers a quicker process and puts you in the driver’s seat of your prenup.
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Nicole Sheehey is the Head of Legal Content at HelloPrenup, and an Illinois licensed attorney. She has a wealth of knowledge and experience when it comes to prenuptial agreements. Nicole has Juris Doctor from John Marshall Law School. She has a deep understanding of the legal and financial implications of prenuptial agreements, and enjoys writing and collaborating with other attorneys on the nuances of the law. Nicole is passionate about helping couples locate the information they need when it comes to prenuptial agreements. You can reach Nicole here: [email protected]