Shortly before their marriage, Sandra and Edward signed a premarital agreement. Both parties were represented by separate attorneys.
The Agreement defined the parties’ rights on the issues of property and maintenance in the event of a divorce. Edward was the sole shareholder and chief executive officer of a company. He earns in excess of $250,000 per year. He enjoys various perks, including use of the company plane and vehicles.
Shortly after the marriage, Sandra quit her office job. She had been earning $19,000. She wanted to be able to travel with and spend more time with Edward.
Sandra and Edward separated about seven years later. Sandra filed for divorce the following year. Sandra and Edward have no children together. Sandra challenged the terms of the Agreement. The court enforced the agreement. Sandra appealed.
Sandra argued that she signed the Agreement under duress and coercion from Edward. He had told her there would be no marriage if she did not sign the Agreement.
We disagree with Sandra’s assertion that conditioning marriage upon the execution of a premarital agreement constitutes coercion. Acts or threats cannot constitute duress unless they are legally or morally wrong.
IRMO Barnes, 324 Ill.App.3d 514.
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