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West Dundee, IL847-428-7725
St. Charles, IL630-200-4882
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Serving Kane, McHenry, DuPage and Cook Counties

kane county family law attorneyUnder Illinois law, a couple has the ability to enter into a prenuptial agreement that defines each spouse’s interests in marital and non-marital assets. A prenup can be especially helpful if the marriage later ends in divorce, as it can allow the spouses to smoothly divide their property and resolve questions of spousal maintenance on their own terms. However, there are cases in which a prenuptial agreement can be an additional source of conflict during the divorce process, particularly when a spouse tries to claim that an agreement is invalid and unenforceable.

Reasons to Invalidate a Prenup in Illinois

In most cases, prenuptial agreements are valid and legally enforceable, and they cannot be dismissed simply because a spouse is no longer satisfied with terms they had previously agreed to. However, you may be able to make the case that the court should not enforce your prenup if you have evidence of at least one of the following:

  • You were never legally married after signing the prenup. A prenuptial agreement only takes effect upon marriage, so if you decide not to go through with the marriage, or if the marriage is void for whatever reason, your partner cannot lay claim to any of your assets that the prenup may have granted them.

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st charles paternity lawyerAccording to recent statistics from the Pew Research Center, around 35 percent of unmarried parents are in cohabiting relationships. This includes many parents who have a child without getting married, but continue to live together in a committed relationship. In a case such as this, you might assume that establishing legal paternity is unnecessary, as the child’s father is living with the child and actively involved in raising him or her. However, failing to take the steps to definitively establish paternity can be a costly mistake in the long run.

Does Cohabitation Create a Presumption of Paternity?

In Illinois, there are certain situations in which a man is automatically presumed to be a child’s legal father. This includes when the man is married to the child’s mother when the child is born, as well as when the man is in a civil union or “substantially similar legal relationship” with the child’s mother, such as a domestic partnership or common law marriage established in another state. However, cohabiting alone does not qualify as a substantially similar legal relationship. This means that even if a man lives with his child, he may not be recognized as the child’s father under the law.

Taking Steps to Establish Paternity

There are several major downsides of failing to establish legal paternity after a child is born. It will be more difficult for the child and the child’s mother to secure child support from the father, and the child will also not have access to other benefits through the father, including inheritance rights, insurance coverage, and government benefits. Also, if the man’s relationship with the mother ends, he will not have the right to petition for parental responsibilities and parenting time unless he has been recognized as the child’s legal father.

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Kane County family law attorneyIn Illinois, child support is an important obligation for all unmarried parents, as it works to ensure that their children’s needs are provided for. However, child support can also be a source of confusion and consternation for parents with complicated or unusual financial circumstances. Many parents who are ordered to pay child support receive some or most of their income from self-employment or a business or professional practice that they own. In these cases, determining a parent’s child support obligation is not always straightforward.

The Basic Child Support Calculation in Illinois

Since 2017, Illinois has used a standard calculation to determine each parent’s expected financial contribution to provide for their children’s basic needs. This calculation uses an “income shares model” in which a parent’s support obligation is based in large part on their portion of the combined net income of both parents. This means that for a child support order to be equitable, it is important to have an accurate understanding of each parent’s income.

Net income not only includes income from employment, but also many other sources. Even parents whose income is primarily from wages paid by an employer will need to report other sources of income for the purposes of calculating child support, and this can include income from a side business. For parents whose primary source of income is their own business, it will be important to thoroughly review the business’s revenue and expenses.

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St. Kane County family law attorney paternity

When a child is born to unmarried parents in Illinois, there are often complicated questions surrounding child support and custody, or even the identity of the child’s biological father. When the parents are in general agreement on the answers to these questions, a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (VAP) can help to simplify the process. However, in some cases, complications may arise in the midst of an attempt to voluntarily establish paternity, and it is important that parents know how to handle them.

Presumed Fathers and Denials of Parentage

When only one man has a claim of fatherhood, establishing legal paternity can be as simple as completing a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity form, ensuring that both parents and a witness sign it, and filing it with the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (DHFS). Upon completion, the acknowledged father will have an obligation to contribute to child support, and the parents can petition the court for an order allocating parenting time and parental responsibilities.

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Kane County family law attorney prenuptial agreement

When couples choose to create a prenuptial agreement, their reason for doing so is often a desire to clarify each partner’s rights to certain property and assets both during the marriage and in the event of a possible divorce in the future. During this discussion of the couple’s finances, it is also possible, and in some cases beneficial, to determine how spousal support will be handled if the marriage ends in divorce.

Including or Excluding Spousal Maintenance in a Prenup

Under the terms of the Illinois Uniform Premarital Agreement Act, a couple has the ability to address “the modification or elimination of spousal support” in their prenuptial agreement. This means that you and your partner can iron out this often complicated matter well before a potential divorce and when the two of you are on good terms. Your prenup could address details including the amount and duration of spousal support, as well as the method by which it will be paid.

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