Are Maintenance Waivers In Antenuptial Agreements Unfair ?
In Warren v. Warren, 169 Ill. App. 3d 226, 230, 523 N.E.2d 680, 119 Ill. Dec. 924 (1988) the courts struck down maintenance waivers in antenuptial agreements after finding them unfair or unreasonable.
In Warren, the court found the wife signed the antenuptial agreement willingly, without fraud, duress, or coercion, and had full knowledge of her future husband's assets at the time.
Although her assets were modest, they were sufficient to keep her from suffering the condition of penury. Nonetheless, the reviewing court found the maintenance waiver unfair due to the wife's financial circumstances. Warren, 169 Ill. App. 3d at 231.
She had not worked since before the couple was married and had approximately $ 33,000 in assets, including a $ 30,000 house.
In comparison, her husband was worth $ 1.5 to $ 2 million, with $ 700,000 in debts.
The court based its finding of unfairness on two circumstances:
(1) the agreement's complete lack of a financial settlement for the wife;
(2) the lavish lifestyle the couple enjoyed together for many years, which the wife had no hope of continuing on her own. Warren, 169 Ill. App. 3d at 231.