It certainly can, but the factors that the court takes into account in dividing the marital estate really don’t apply if the parties have agreed before their marriage how that estate is to be divided in the event something goes wrong with the relationship. There are all different kinds of provisions that are agreed to in that premarital agreement context. It’s possible for the parties to agree that retirement assets that are accumulated during the marriage are going to be left in the name of the party who holds them.
It’s sometimes possible that non-marital property that’s improved with marital funds doesn’t convert to marital property. There’s all types of provisions, and parties are freely able to circumvent the provisions of the Illinois statutes in a premarital agreement as long as certain tasks are met. One of the principle tasks that the court looks at is that both parties need to be represented by an attorney when the agreement is entered into and there needs to be a full disclosure of the income, assets, taxes, and expenses of each side in that premarital context.
Chuck Roberts is a family lawyer at Momkus McCluskey Roberts, LLC, one of the largest law firms in DuPage County, Illinois.