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Your Questions About Prenups, Answered

Posted on in Divorce

IL family lawyerAs a newly engaged person, you may have a million thoughts running through your head. Some of these thoughts may be related to a prenuptial agreement. Prenuptial agreements or “prenups” are legal documents that protect spouses’ financial interests in the event of death or divorce. However, there are many myths and misunderstandings associated with these essential legal documents. Read on to learn about the basics of signing a prenup in Illinois.

What Is the Purpose of a Prenup?

If your soon-to-be spouse has asked you to consider signing a prenup, your first thought is probably, “Why?” Prenuptial agreements have been increasing in popularity recently for a variety of reasons. One reason is that people are simply more realistic about marriage and divorce. Even the most loving couple may eventually break up. The purpose of a prenuptial agreement is to prepare for this possibility.

How Does a Prenup Benefit Spouses?

Prenuptial agreements can accomplish many different goals. During divorce, any property or debt acquired by either spouse during the marriage is marital property subject to division. In a prenup, spouses can identify what property or debt is marital and what is non-marital. For example, you can characterize a small business as non-marital property belonging to only one spouse to shield it from division during divorce. Prenups can also address spousal maintenance concerns. For example, a stay-at-home mother may use a prenup to ensure she will still have access to financial support should the marriage end.

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Il divorce lawyerBeing a parent is one of the toughest jobs in the world. Being a divorced parent is often even more challenging. If you are a parent who is separated or divorced, you may be worried about how you and your children will get through the holidays. The first Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, or other major holiday after a separation or divorce can be difficult to handle. There is no perfect way to handle the holidays as a divorced parent, but the following tips may help.

Make Sure Holidays Are Addressed in Your Parenting Plan

When parents get divorced in Illinois, they create a parenting plan which addresses parental responsibilities, parenting time, and other important child-related matters. If the parents cannot agree on the elements of the parenting plan, the case may eventually be decided by the court. When parents make their own parenting plans, they are required to include approximately 15 individual provisions described in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA). However, parents should go above the bare minimum when it comes to drafting their parenting plan. They should include specific information about where children will spend holidays, birthdays, and other special days. Deciding these matters in advance can help the parents avoid conflict.

Acknowledge the Changes and Focus on New Traditions

If your family is like many families, you have certain traditions on the holidays. Perhaps you eat a special meal, play certain games, or listen to special holiday music. Change can be hard for children, and you may find that both you and your children struggle to adapt to the changes. Instead of pretending that everything is the same as it once was, acknowledge the changes your family is going through and make some new traditions.

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IL divorce lawyerThe decision to end a marriage is not one that is reached easily – especially after years or decades living as a married couple. Divorce after age 50 takes courage. It can be frightening to leave the predictability of your marriage and embark on a new life chapter. Ending a marriage near retirement age can also involve several financial complications. Many people in their 50s and 60s hope to retire and spend their time playing with grandchildren, traveling, or otherwise enjoying their golden years. Some divorcing spouses over age 50 worry that the divorce will upset these plans. If you are considering divorce, it is important to know how the split can impact your financial future.

“Gray Divorce” Rates Show More Older People Are Divorcing

The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) created the phrase "gray divorce" to describe divorce involving spouses over age 50. Although the overall divorce rate has declined, gray divorce rates are higher than ever. In fact, the number of older people getting divorced has doubled in the last several decades. The reasons for this significant increase are just as varied as the people getting divorced. Some people divorce because they simply reach the conclusion that their marriage no longer works. Others divorce later in life because their children have grown up and moved out of the home. Whatever the reason, getting divorced after age 50 can present unique challenges – legally, financially, and emotionally.

Financial Considerations in a Gray Divorce

If you plan to end your marriage and are close to retirement, your first question may be how the divorce will impact your retirement plans. Like all assets in an Illinois divorce, retirement accounts included in the marital estate must be valued and divided in a divorce. Spouses may reach an out-of-court agreement on how to divide property, or the court may divide the property based on Illinois’s equitable distribution laws. Both spouses have a right to an equitable share of any retirement funds that a spouse earned during the marriage.

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IL divorce lawyerThe internet has changed nearly every aspect of our lives – including how we meet potential romantic partners. Over a third of Americans report using dating websites or dating apps to meet people. Social media has also radically changed the way that people meet, date, and marry. Facebook, Instagram, and other social networking sites are also increasingly involved in divorce cases.

One study recently showed that meeting online was associated with a greater chance of divorce. In fact, the research shows that couples that meet online are over six times more likely to divorce.

Online Dating Associated With Higher Divorce Rates

Online dating has led to countless successful marriages. However, meeting a potential spouse online may not be the best way to find lasting marital happiness, according to the research. Approximately 12 percent of couples who met online ended their marriage within three years. Experts suggest that many people who meet online do not know each other as well as they think they do. They do not have access to information about the potential suitor from mutual friends and family that people who met through traditional means have access to.

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IL divorce lawyerAs the saying goes, money cannot buy happiness. However, there is no denying that finances play a critical role in our lives – especially for divorced individuals. Getting divorced is likely to have a massive impact on your financial situation. Property division, child support, and spousal maintenance are just some of the issues you may deal with during an Illinois divorce. Proper preparation before divorce and careful money management after divorce can help reduce the negative impact divorce has on your finances.

Knowledge is Key During Divorce

Many people are uninvolved in their household finances. If you typically left the financial decision-making up to your spouse, now is the time to start getting acquainted with your finances. You cannot make informed decisions about the terms of your divorce without knowing what you own and what you owe. Start by collecting financial documents such as:

  • Tax returns
  • Bank statements
  • Paystubs
  • Credit card statements
  • Loan documents
  • Mortgage documents
  • Retirement account statements
  • Life insurance information

Consider Alternative Resolution Methods to Keep Divorce Costs Down

The cost of divorce increases when spouses are unable to agree on issues like child custody and the division of assets. Alternative resolution methods like family law mediation may help you resolve divorce issues and reach an agreement without going to court. A skilled divorce lawyer can also help you explore ways to keep divorce costs down. He or she may also be able to help you and your spouse reach a settlement agreement and avoid going to trial.

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