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How are College Expenses Handled During a Divorce?College is not cheap. Since the 1980s, college tuition costs have risen more than 200 percent for public universities across the country, making covering the expense of higher education more difficult than ever. Because of this, young adults are living with their parents longer than any generation prior to them. For parents getting a divorce, paying for their children’s college education can be a point of contention during the divorce negotiations. Fortunately, Illinois law has included provisions in the Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) on how post-secondary education expenses are distributed between parents.

Covering the Costs

The IMDMA allows courts to allocate costs to either or both parents based on a variety of factors. The judge can order that property allocated to either spouse during the asset division process be used to pay for post-secondary education, either now or when the time comes. Child support payments can also be extended beyond when the child turns 18 for the purpose of paying for college. A variety of things can be included in college costs, as long as the costs are accrued before the child’s 23rd birthday, or in some cases, the child’s 25th birthday. These costs can include:

  • A prep course for a standardized college entrance exam
  • Two standardized college entrance exam fees
  • Fees for up to five college applications
  • Tuition and fees
  • Housing expenses and meal plans
  • Medical insurance and dental expenses
  • Reasonable living expenses for the child
  • Books and supplies 

Who Pays for What?

As mentioned before, either parent or both parents can be held responsible for paying for the costs related to the child’s college education. If the parents cannot come to an agreement as to how these costs will be covered, it will be up to the judge to decide for them. The judge will make his or her decision based on a variety of factors, including:

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Exploring the Reasons to Get a Postnuptial AgreementAlmost everyone has heard of a prenuptial agreement. Most of what many people know comes from movies or television shows portraying a woman marrying a wealthy man and signing a prenuptial agreement to protect his riches. Prenuptial agreements and postnuptial agreements come from the same family of legal documents and can do just about the same things. Both agreements can dictate which property is and is not marital property, how that property will be divided in the event of a divorce and the terms of spousal maintenance, among other things. The thing that differs between a prenuptial and postnuptial agreement is when the agreement is signed. A prenuptial agreement is signed before the wedding and a postnuptial agreement is signed after the wedding. Here are a couple of situations in which you may want to consider getting a postnuptial agreement:

  1. You Did Not Have Time to Sign a Prenuptial Agreement: One of the most common reasons why couples get postnuptial agreements is because they either did not or could not sign a prenuptial agreement before they were married. A postnuptial agreement is very similar to a prenuptial agreement, which is why it is a popular option for those who found the idea of a prenuptial agreement unromantic or those who did not have enough time before the wedding to create one.
  2. Circumstances Have Changed During the Marriage: There are a variety of reasons why a married couple might want to get a prenuptial agreement, most of them stemming from the fact that their circumstances may have changed during the marriage. For example, coming into an unexpected inheritance or winning a large sum of money can prompt a couple to want to reexamine their finances. Another reason could be because one spouse unexpectedly decided to take time off of work to care for and raise the couple’s children. This puts that spouse in a more vulnerable financial position and a postnuptial agreement could promise support if the spouses were to ever divorce. 

Whatever the Reason, You Need a Homewood, IL, Postnuptial Agreement Lawyer by Your Side

If you did not get a prenuptial agreement before you were married, it is not too late. You can still get a postnuptial agreement at any time after your marriage, and it can be used much like a prenuptial agreement. There are many situations in which you may want to consider getting a postnuptial agreement, which is why you should call a Will County postnuptial agreement attorney to discuss your situation. At The Foray Firm, we understand that a postnuptial agreement could be the key to a happy marriage. Call our office today at 312-702-1293 to schedule a free consultation.

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How to Keep Your Illinois Divorce Costs as Low as PossibleNothing in this world is free and that holds true for a divorce. The estimates available for the average cost of getting a divorce differ greatly depending on the source. Some sources state you can get a “do-it-yourself” divorce for a couple of hundred dollars, while other sources state that a litigated divorce can cost upwards of $100,000. Certain things can affect the cost of a divorce, such as the type of divorce you get, where you live, the retainer cost for your attorney and your attorney’s hourly rate. The cost of getting a divorce can seem daunting, but there are some things you can do to help keep those costs down.

  1. Choose the Right Type of Divorce for Your Situation: When it comes to divorce, you have a few options. You can choose between a traditional litigated divorce, a mediated divorce or a collaborative divorce. Typically, the most expensive type of divorce is a litigated one and can cost you big time when it comes to court costs, filing fees, and attorney rates. If you and your spouse are willing to work together with one person who is knowledgeable of family law, a mediated divorce might work, which reduces the cost of two attorneys to one. If you and your spouse are somewhat contentious but you do not want to litigate the divorce, a collaborative divorce might work for you.
  2. Make Sure You are Organized: Being organized and prepared is key when it comes to saving money on attorney costs. If you come to meetings with your attorney and you do not have the needed documents or information for the topics at hand, you will have to meet with your attorney again, costing you more money in the long run. It pays to be prepared and efficient when it comes to a divorce. 
  3. Try to Settle As Many Issues as Possible On Your Own: Another slightly obvious way to save money during a divorce is to try to negotiate as many issues as you can with your spouse without involving your attorney. For example, do not use a meeting with your attorney to hash out the details of who gets which household items if that is something that you and your spouse can work out together. The less time you have to spend with your attorney, the less money you have to pay him or her.

Hire a Skilled Will County Divorce Attorney

If you are concerned about what it will cost to get divorced, there are certain things you can do to ensure you are not paying more than what is necessary. At The Foray Firm, we are not only efficient at what we do, but we also offer a flat-rate divorce for those who want a fixed price prior to beginning the divorce process. Let our knowledgeable Homewood, IL, divorce lawyers assist you with all aspects of your divorce. To schedule a consultation, call our office today at 312-702-1293.

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Can a Parent’s Mental Health Impact Parenting Time in Illinois?According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), one out of every five American adults will experience a mental illness at some point in their lives and nearly 10 million adults live with a chronic and serious mental illness. Mental illnesses can vary greatly when it comes to the severity and how they affect your life. Having a mental illness can mean you have schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, an eating disorder or even post-traumatic stress disorder. By far, the most common mental illnesses are depression, which affects around seven percent of adults, and anxiety disorders, which affect around 18.1 percent of adults.

When it comes to divorce, mental illness can definitely play a part in how the divorce is hashed out. Depending on the type and severity of the mental illness, it can even affect things such as parenting time and parental responsibilities in a divorce.

Understanding the Child’s Best Interests

When it comes to any issue involving the children in a divorce, the court’s first and foremost concern is the child’s wellbeing. The court’s main goal is to ensure that the child is being taken care of and is given every possible opportunity to flourish in life. If decisions are left to the court, the court will make child-related decisions based on the child’s best interests. The court will take into consideration factors such as:

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Three Questions You Should Ask Yourself if You Plan to Adopt as a Single ParentThe “nuclear family” was traditionally seen as the ideal American family – a mother, a father, one or two children and perhaps a dog. Now, there are many types of families that exist in the U.S., each of which is just as loving as the traditional family unit. Households containing just a single parent have increased dramatically since 1960 – when only around nine percent of children were being raised by a single parent. Now, around 27 percent of American children are being raised by a single parent. For some, adoption is the way they have chosen to grow their family, even when it comes to people who are not married. Being a single parent is difficult, even when the child is your biological child. If you are a single parent who is considering adoption, here are a few questions you should ask yourself:

  1. Do You Have Family and/or Friends Who Support Your Decision?: One of your most invaluable resources as a single parent is your support system. Typically, your support system is composed of family members and/or friends who you can rely on if you need help. Being a single parent, you will most likely need help from time to time. Before you make the decision to adopt a child, consider whether or not you have people around you that you can ask for help; whether or not your friends and family are supportive of your decision to adopt as a single parent; and how your friends and family would react if you adopted a child who had special needs, was from a different country or who was a different race or ethnicity.
  2. Will You Be Able to Balance Work and a Child at Your Current Job?: As a single parent, you will be the sole provider for yourself and your child. This means that work will play a significant role in your life. Ask yourself if you are up for the challenge of not only being a single parent but also a working parent. Will you be able to devote enough time to being a parent? Is your employer family-friendly? Having a child poses issues such as occasionally needing to leave or take off from work to care for your child.
  3. Do You Have the Financial Means to Raise a Child?: Similarly, do you earn enough at your job to make ends meet with a child in the picture? You do not have to be rolling in cash to raise a child, but children can get expensive. Before you make the decision to adopt, consider all of the expenses you will be faced with if you are a single parent:
    • Educational costs
    • Medical care
    • Childcare
    • After-school care
    • Extracurricular activities

A Will County Adoption Lawyer Can Make Your Dream of Being a Parent a Reality

Adopting a child is a fulfilling and rewarding experience for those who have the means to do so. If you are thinking of adopting a child as a single parent, you should meet with a skilled and knowledgeable Joliet, IL, adoption attorney first. At The Foray Firm, we understand the Illinois adoption process and will handle the legalities of the process so you can focus on settling into life with your child. To schedule a consultation, call our office today at 312-702-1293. 

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BBA Of Will County Illinois State Bar Association Cook County Bar Association The National Bar Association BWLA
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