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Which Type of Adoption Is Best for My Family?Just like every child and family, every adoption is unique. For those looking to expand their family, there are various avenues that they can take. Making the decision to adopt the beginning of many more large decisions that must be made in this lengthy process. After you have chosen to expand your family through adoption, you must then consider your various adoption outlets. In some cases, adopting parents may be set on one way to adopt their future child. While it is helpful to have an idea of how you wish to adopt, it is important to consider all of your options before diving in you may be surprised by the adoptive path you decide to follow.

International Versus Domestic

The first choice that you should make before beginning the adoption process is where you are looking to adopt your child from. Americans are allowed to adopt children domestically or internationally. Those who are looking to adopt an American child will have the option of pursuing an independent adoption or agency adoption. Independent adoptions are completed with the help of an attorney while those who turn to an agency for help are committing to working with that agency throughout the process. Many will choose to work with an attorney rather than an agency to avoid additional agency fees and have a more private adoption with fewer professionals involved in the process. Depending on the situation, domestic adoptions may involve finding a family looking for an adoptive parent or a birth mother looking for parents for her child.

International adoptions have declined over the past decade as international governing bodies have put up additional regulations regarding their adoption policies. Typically, children being adopted internationally are from orphanages as their parents were unable to care for them. International adoptions are a good option for those who are open to adopting a child of any age. This type of adoption does not always include an infant, but a variety of ages. Anyone considering adopting internationally should work with an experienced attorney. Adoption laws vary from country to country, and it is crucial that you have a good understanding of your prospective child’s home country and its policies.

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Are Belongings Divided 50-50 in an Illinois Divorce?During the divorce process, property division can be the most contentious conversation that you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse will have. Not only is it emotionally difficult to discuss divvying up your life together, but it can also reveal sides of your former spouse that you may have never seen before. The division of assets can sometimes feel like a lose-lose situation, especially when you do not think that your previous partner deserves some of your belongings. Having an experienced divorce attorney on your side can help you determine which assets you are willing to give up and which ones are worth fighting for. Without a proper lawyer’s help in states like Illinois, it may feel like you are giving up a lot more than you expected.

Equitable Distribution Versus Community Property

Like most states in the U.S., Illinois is an equitable distribution state, meaning that properties in a divorce are divided in a manner that is deemed fair but not necessarily 50-50. Divorcing couples who cannot agree on how things will be divided will be turned over to a judge, who will then determine how the property will be divided in an equitable manner. The judge will look at factors such as income, personal assets, and financial needs and determine what is considered fair.

There are nine states that use a different method, and they are called community property states. Within these states, lawmakers deem all property, assets, and debts to be the belongings of both spouses. With this in mind, everything will be divided 50-50 between both parties, including any debts. This type of division applies to anyone filing for divorce within these nine states, whether or not they got married within them. These properties will be considered “quasi-community” property if they are acquired while living in an equitable distribution state.

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How to Avoid Financial Difficulties After DivorceDivorce rarely comes as a surprise and is often a decision that is made by both spouses after months, or even years, of conflict. Unfortunately, most divorcing couples can see their marriage coming to an end as time goes on. Though this may be difficult to accept for some, most spouses have come to terms with their divorce before contacting an attorney for help. For those who see their marriage coming to a close, it is important to financially prepare for your future. It is no secret that divorce can be an expensive legal process, but with proper preparation, you can be fully prepared for the start of your single life before signing any legal documents.

Re-creating Your Budget

Many families have a budget that they work with on a monthly basis. Whether it is typed up on a spreadsheet or simply an estimate in the back of your head, this budget will have to be revamped for those going through a divorce. This budget may look different during your divorce to accommodate for any legal or court fees that you may incur during the divorce process. Having an idea of a post-divorce budget is a good way to start your new life. In most cases, this budget cannot be nailed down until after you and your divorcing spouse have discussed spousal and child support payments as well as the division of assets.

Updating Official Records

In the midst of a divorce, it can seem overwhelming when you realize the number of legal and financial documents that need to be changed. With the help of your attorney, adjusting this paperwork can be done much easier. This may include contacting your workplace to notify them of your changing marital status so that they update your insurance and 401(k) plan. If you have a will and/or powers of attorney, you will need to be sure that your former spouse is removed from them immediately. Many forget this step and do not realize it until they are in the midst of an emergency situation.

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Prenup vs. Postnup: Should I Consider Signing One?Many have heard the word “prenup,” but “postnup” has not received nearly as much coverage. Prenuptial agreements are typically discussed in the news as wealthy celebrities tie the knot, yet many have never heard the term postnuptial agreement. In the past, prenups have been “reserved” for the rich and disregarded by the average American. The tides have turned as millennials have changed the average age for marriage. Now that newlyweds have been getting married at a later age, they often have larger savings accounts and more to lose in the instance of divorce. Prenups are a good safety net for any married couple, and postnups have begun to rise in popularity as well. Understanding the difference between the two and knowing their benefits is information that every couple should take the time to learn about before signing on the dotted line.

Is One Better Than the Other?

As is evident in the name, prenuptial agreements are completed before the marriage, while postnuptial agreements are formulated after the couple has already said, “I do.” Prenups allow marrying couples to outline their assets and properties, explaining how they would be divided in the instance of divorce. This is important for couples who have large assets as well as those who have small savings accounts. Every asset and property will be divided during a divorce, so even small savings accounts could help you get back on your feet.

Postnups allow married couples to do the same thing as prenups; however, they can sometimes be more helpful. Because prenups are signed before the marriage is official, some of the terms being outlined on the agreement can seem abstract. Because things change after you get married, postnuptial agreements can feel more realistic and concrete. Postnups allow you to divide your current assets in the case of divorce. After getting married, the life you built together will include significantly more finances and properties than you had beforehand. A postnup allows you and your spouse to divide these between the two of you however you see fit. While it may seem odd to plan your potential divorce after years of marriage, it can often soothe the mind of each spouse, knowing that the division of the life they built together could be under their control if necessary.

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An Overview of Child Relocation Requests in IllinoisRelocating your family to a new environment can play a role in your divorce proceeding or come up after the ink has dried on your divorce papers.

Although you believe moving your child 500 miles away from where your divorce occurred will be good for them, the court and your child’s other parent may not agree.

In Illinois, the parent with primary parenting time does not need court approval to move with their children if the other parent does not object or the move is within 25 miles of their current residence in Will, Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake or McHenry counties. For other counties, the limit is 50 miles. Any move outside of those set mile ranges must be filed by written notice and approved by the court.

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