By Alan Toback
Lake Toback congratulates Michael DiDomenico and Sean Hamann on an impressive win in In re Marriage of Iqbal, 2014 IL App (2d) 131306, a published opinion released last week by the Illinois Second District Appellate Court. Iqbal represents an important decision on a number of issues that were previously unsettled. In Iqbal, the husband appealed the trial court’s determination that a postnuptial agreement entered into by the parties was unenforceable, that custody was wrongly decided, and that the division of assets and award of maintenance was inequitable. Lake Toback represented the wife.
Thanks to the well-reasoned arguments presented, the Second District held that the postnuptial agreement, which prohibited the wife from filing an “unreasonable” divorce or she would lose her rights to custody, maintenance and property, was against public policy as it defined custody rights without any consideration of the best interests of the children, improperly substituted the role of the courts for a third-party religious leader, and the unenforceable aspects of the agreement were not severable from the remainder of the agreement. The Court further held the agreement to be substantively unconscionable (something only found once previously in a reported decision) and impermissibly vague.
With respect to the remaining arguments, the Court agreed that the trial court did not abuse its discretion with regards to its denial of husband’s request to appoint a custody evaluator pursuant to Section 604.5 and that the husband had forfeited the right to argue this point for the first time on appeal. Similarly, the Court held that the grant of sole custody to the wife was not against the manifest weight of the evidence and neither the award of maintenance nor the property distribution was an abuse of discretion.
While we take pride in all of our victories, this was particularly impressive, as it dealt with virtually every issue that could be raised on an appeal of a divorce.
The below link from the Washington Post cites our case: http://m.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2014/05/14/court-rejects-islam-influenced-post-marital-agreement/