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Plainfield prenup lawyer family lawPrenuptial agreements used to be a taboo subject. In the past, it was often believed that if you got a prenup, you were expecting to get divorced. However, in this day and age, many Americans are waiting longer to get married, which means that they are entering marriage with more property and debt than those in past generations. Because of this, prenuptial agreements have become more and more common. 

A prenuptial agreement can help set guidelines for how you will go about your divorce if your marriage ever ends, and it can protect the assets you bring into the marriage and prevent you from being responsible for debts your partner may have. If you are wondering whether or not a prenuptial agreement is right for you, here are a few situations in which you may want to consider a prenup:

1. You or Your Partner Were Married Before

One reason why prenuptial agreements are becoming more common is because many people are entering second or subsequent marriages. If you or your spouse have been married before, a prenuptial agreement can address any obligations you may have from your first marriage.

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Homewood divorce attorney child issuesDivorcing with children is difficult for many different reasons. In addition to typical divorce issues like property division and spousal support, couples with children also have other issues to settle, such as who the children will reside with and when, who will pay child support, and who will be able to make certain kinds of decisions about raising the children. Once you have decided that you and your spouse are getting a divorce, you must then take on the sometimes daunting task of telling your children about the upcoming change in your family’s life. Here are three tips to help you break the news to your children:

1. Tell the Entire Family All at Once

One important thing to aim for is making sure you discuss your divorce with all of your children at the same time. It is often the case that parents tell the oldest child first and then shelter the younger ones in an attempt to protect them. While this may seem wise, it is unfair to the older child to have to keep that secret, and it is sending the wrong message to the younger children that they cannot handle the situation.

2. Keep it Short and Sweet

For the most part, you want to make sure you keep your message as simple and easy to understand as possible. For younger children, use phrases like, “Mommy and Daddy have decided that we do not want to stay married anymore,” and “We will not be living together anymore, but we both love you very much.” Older children will require a little bit more information, but you should still try to keep the messy details out of your explanation while making sure they understand that they are not to blame.

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DuPage County divorce asset division attorneyWhen you are married, your assets become intertwined with your spouse. This can be a good thing that brings much convenience as a married couple, but it can become a huge nightmare if you get a divorce. Before your divorce can be finalized, you and your spouse must come to an agreement over many things, one of them being who gets what property. If you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement on your own, a judge may have to intervene. He or she will follow a specific set of guidelines that are contained in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) when determining how to divide marital property.

Marital vs. Non-Marital Property

Before anything can be split up, it must be determined what is and is not subject to division. According to the IMDMA, any and all property, including debts and other obligations acquired by either spouse during the marriage, is marital property and is subject to division. Non-marital property is not subject to division in a divorce and includes:

  • Property that a spouse acquired by gift, legacy, or descent or property acquired in exchange for that property
  • Property acquired by either spouse before the marriage or property acquired in exchange for that property
  • Property acquired by either spouse after a legal separation
  • Property excluded as written in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement

Factors to Consider in Property Division Decisions

Once it is determined what is considered marital or non-marital property, then the judge will distribute the marital property between the two spouses. The judge is not allowed to make decisions based on marital conduct, but will consider, among other relevant issues, the following factors:

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Joliet simplified divorce lawyerSo you have finally made the decision to go ahead and get a divorce. While it may be a weight off of your chest, you may not be able to celebrate as quickly as you had hoped. Some divorces can drag on for months, and highly contested divorces can even drag on for years. The last thing you want when you have decided to end your marriage is to have to deal with your soon-to-be-ex for the next 12 months or more. In some cases, you can apply for a joint simplified divorce, which can significantly decrease the time you will be waiting to get a divorce decree.

What Is a Joint Simplified Dissolution of Marriage?

If you meet certain qualifications, you do not need to spend the time to go to court over every little detail pertaining to your divorce. Typically, joint simplified dissolutions are uncontested divorces, meaning both spouses agree to end their marriage and have little to no arguments about issues pertaining to the divorce, such as spousal support or property division. In a joint simplified dissolution, couples typically only have to appear in court one time, when they are ready to make the divorce final. This can ultimately save thousands of dollars in court costs and lawyer fees.

Qualifications for Joint Simplified Dissolution

Even though it sounds like everyone would want to use the joint simplified dissolution procedure to complete their divorce, not everyone can. You must meet a certain set of requirements before you can begin the simplified process. If all of the following are true, you and your spouse can use the simplified method to complete your divorce:

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Joliet prenup attorneyTalking about divorce even before getting married is never something that couples want to do -- but sometimes it is a good idea. Prenuptial agreements are gaining more and more popularity with younger couples, especially because the average age of marriage is higher than it has ever been before. This means that couples are more likely to bring their own significant assets into a marriage, such as real estate property or retirement accounts. Prenuptial agreements (commonly known as “prenups”) can be tricky to create, especially since they can be declared invalid if they are not constructed carefully and correctly. Here are three mistakes you should avoid making when drafting a prenuptial agreement:

1. Not Being Truthful About Your Assets

When entering into a prenup, both spouses are required to fully disclose their assets to each other, including all property and debts. If one spouse tries to hide or undervalue certain assets, the entire prenuptial agreement could be dismissed by a court.

2. You Did Not Obtain Independent Counsel

Though it is not technically required by Illinois law to have an attorney when you enter into a prenuptial agreement, it is a good idea. When you and your spouse each have your own independent legal counsel, this tells the court that you both knew what you were signing and understood what the terms of the agreement meant. An argument could be made that one spouse did not fully understand the contract if he or she did not have an attorney, and this could be a reason for the agreement being found to be invalid.

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