Law School Case Brief
In re Marriage of Woodrum - 2018 IL App (3d) 170369, 426 Ill. Dec. 99, 115 N.E.3d 1021
The Illinois legislature did not adopt a "full" disclosure standard, 750 ILCS 10/7(a) (West 2016). Thus, a "fair and reasonable" disclosure requires less than a complete disclosure, and the failure to disclose any particular piece of property or financial obligation is not, in and of itself, fatal to the enforcement of prenuptial agreement. Rather, the purpose of a disclosure is to ensure that each party has sufficient knowledge regarding the other party's financial circumstances in order to understand the nature of the legal rights being waived, with the burden to inform being on the disclosing party. Although a fair and reasonable disclosure need not be precise or exact, the requirement of a fair and reasonable disclosure requires each party to provide a "general approximation" of his or her income, assets, and liabilities. Whether a disclosure is "fair and reasonable" depends on the facts and circumstances of each case, including the information that was actually disclosed (in writing or otherwise), the information that was not disclosed, and the relative size of the nondisclosed information in relation to the parties' financial circumstances.
Prior to their marriage, petitioner, Gregory W. Woodrum (“Greg”), and respondent, Jennifer L. Woodrum, executed a prenuptial agreement. After eight years of marriage, Greg filed a petition for dissolution of marriage. During the pendency of the proceedings, the trial court awarded Jennifer temporary maintenance and, subsequently, found the parties' prenuptial agreement was valid and enforceable. On appeal, Jennifer argued that (1) the prenuptial agreement was not valid and enforceable and (2) the trial court prematurely entered a judgment without properly addressing "the issue of property." On cross-appeal, Greg argued that the trial court erred by awarding temporary maintenance to Jennifer.
Did Jennifer waive her right to disclosure of the property or financial obligations of Greg beyond the disclosure provided?
The court affirmed the judgment of the trial court. The court held that there was no waiver by Jennifer to her right to disclosure of the property or financial obligations of Greg beyond the disclosure provided. The court stated that whether a disclosure was "fair and reasonable" depended on the facts and circumstances of each case. No issue was raised by Jennifer that Greg's salary or the value of his vehicles and furniture was not sufficiently disclosed. Jennifer did not meet her burden to show that Greg's failure to provide values for other interests supported a finding that his disclosure was not fair and reasonable. Full knowledge of every asset or financial obligation that was owned or owed was unnecessary. Jennifer chose to sign the agreement and failed to prove the agreement was unconscionable. Jennifer’s contention that the trial court failed to make specific findings as to the classification of assets was without merit as there was no marital property to divide. Finally, the temporary maintenance to Jennifer was not error prior to the entry of the dissolution judgment.
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