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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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Will County asset division attorneyWhen a couple marries, they not only join their lives but also their wealth and assets. If you and your spouse are considering getting a divorce, you may have questions about how your accumulated property will be divided. Some states automatically divide marital property exactly in half, but Illinois courts use a more nuanced process for determining how marital property is split between divorcing spouses. If you plan to get a divorce in Illinois, you should know how assets are divided according to the state’s equitable distribution laws.

Differentiating Between Marital Property and Non-Marital Property 

Only marital property is divided during a divorce. Assets acquired during the marriage by either spouse are considered marital property, with exceptions for inheritances, certain gifts, and property addressed in a valid prenuptial agreement. Non-marital or separate property generally includes assets acquired by either spouse before the marriage or after separation. However, it is important to note that assets acquired before the marriage which have been commingled with the other spouses’ assets may be considered marital property during divorce. 

In Illinois divorces, marital property is divided in a way that is just and reasonable based on each spouse’s circumstances. This division method differs from the property division methods of other states in that marital property is not always evenly divided. For example, Illinois courts may be more likely to award the family home to the spouse who will have more parental responsibilities.

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DuPage County divorce child custody lawyerIf you are a parent who is considering ending your marriage through divorce, you probably have concerns about how you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse will share responsibility for your children. Some couples are able to come to a custody decision together, while other divorcing couples require court intervention to arrive at a workable custody plan that protects parents’ rights and children’s best interests. If you are considering divorce, and you and your spouse share children, it is important for you to know the basics of child custody laws in Illinois.

Different Types of Custody

Illinois courts recognize two forms of custody: physical custody and legal custody. Together, the two concepts comprise what the law calls the “allocation of parental responsibilities.” Physical custody refers to which parent the child is with at any given time, and it is called “parenting time” in Illinois law. Legal custody is referred to as “significant decision-making responsibilities,” and it involves the right of a parent to be involved in major decisions about their child’s upbringing. Decision-making authority can be given to just one parent, or both parents can share responsibility for different areas identified by the law: education, healthcare, religion, and extracurricular activities. While most experts agree that children do better with both parents in their lives, a shared custody arrangement may not be appropriate for families with a history of abuse or neglect.

Factors Considered During Court-Ordered Child Custody Arrangements

If divorcing parents cannot come to an agreement regarding parenting time and parental responsibilities, then custody decisions will be made in court. A family court judge ultimately makes custody decisions for parents who cannot agree to a plan based on what he or she thinks is in the best interests of the child. When making these decisions, a family court judge will consider factors such as:

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Will County alimony lawyerf you believe what you see on TV and in the movies, the “average” American family once looked quite different from what it looks like today. In many homes, the man of the house worked full time, while his wife was a stay-at-home mother and homemaker. Of course, this was not how every family worked, but the situation was so common that when a divorce occurred, it was practically assumed that the husband would make support payments—called alimony—to the wife to help her make ends meet.

In the last 40 years or so, much has changed about family life. Today, only a select few households can afford for just one spouse to work. Additionally, each spouse’s role can now be customized to meet their family’s needs with far less concern about social pressures or gender-based expectations. These changes have been reflected in divorce laws across the country, including here in Illinois, with lawmakers intent on making divorce as fair as possible for all couples. One example can be found in the state’s laws regarding alimony—now called spousal maintenance—and the fact that it will not always be ordered in divorce cases.

Important Factors

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (750 ILCS 5) says that if there is no prenuptial or postnuptial agreement that addresses the issue of maintenance, the court must determine that a need exists for such payments before they can be ordered. To determine need, the court will look at a number of factors related to the marriage and divorce, including:

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Joliet divorce attorney marital property real estateWhen two people get married, they usually have every intention of building a life together. In most cases, this means sharing their assets and assuming joint responsibility for their debts and obligations. When a couple decides to get divorced, they are faced with the task of dividing those shared assets and debts. Under the law in Illinois, marital property must be divided between divorcing spouses in a manner that is fair and equitable based on the couple’s circumstances.

It can be difficult, in some cases, to know for sure whether a particular asset should be considered marital property. This is especially true for high-value assets like a car or the marital home that might have only one name listed as the owner. Can an asset that is titled in the name of just one spouse be considered marital property during divorce?

Whose Name Is Listed?

There are several factors that determine whether your home is a marital asset, and the name on the deed or mortgage is not usually among these factors. It is not uncommon for a couple to list just one spouse on a mortgage--often for credit reasons--but the name that is listed has virtually no effect on classifying the home as marital or separate property. While this may be surprising, the law regarding marital property in Illinois was designed to reduce confusion and to prevent spouses from manipulating their circumstances to gain an unfair advantage.

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