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Kane County family law attorneyMany married couples grow apart and decide they can no longer live happily ever after. However, divorce is a big step, and some spouses may not be ready for such a drastic action. In Illinois, another option couples can consider is filing for a legal separation. This is a legal process that formalizes a separation, which is granted in the form of a court order, while the spouses remain legally married. 

Choosing between a legal separation and a divorce is sometimes a matter of personal preference. Some individuals have religious or personal beliefs that do not allow them to get divorced, but a legal separation permits them to stay married while living separate lives. Couples may think that a legal separation is not as involved as a divorce, but it still requires the couple seeking it to address certain issues, as well as follow the proper legal steps. 

Benefits to Separating Versus Divorcing

A divorce can be the right option for many spouses who are in dysfunctional relationships. However, there are scenarios where a legal separation is a more appropriate alternative. This option leaves the door open in case a couple decides to reconcile. It is important to note that a legal separation does not mean the spouses can remarry other people; that is only possible after obtaining a final divorce decree. A few instances where obtaining a legal separation might make more sense include the following:

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Kane County divorce attorneysDepending on the couple and their circumstances, a divorce can take weeks or months to finalize. Once the legal proceedings are complete, a final divorce decree will be issued, which officially documents the terms of the divorce. However, sometimes a significant change in circumstances can warrant a modification of part or all of the original order. When a divorce settlement is no longer relevant for a couple or does not fit the needs of their children, it is possible to alter the terms of it through a post-decree modification. If you or your ex-spouse requests a post-divorce order modification for any reason, it is helpful to know the process and how it affects your rights regarding matters such as child-related issues or spousal maintenance.  

Reasons for Changing a Judgment Order

We all know life can change in an instant, whether it be from a sudden medical event such as a heart attack or stroke to unexpectedly losing a job. For instance, child support payments are calculated based on parent’s income. If the paying parent loses his or her job and cannot afford the payments, he or she may request a modification of the child support order. Some other examples of major life events that would justify a modification can include: 

  • Being laid off or fired from a long-time occupation, which impacts child or spousal support (alimony)
  • Being transferred out of the state or country for work, ultimately affecting the allocation of parental responsibilities and/or parenting time
  • Contracting a serious illness that requires extensive medical care 
  • Suffering a catastrophic injury that results in a disability or lost wages
  • One or both ex-spouses remarrying, which typically requires a reduction in spousal or child support payments

Steps for Amending a Judgment Order

To request a change to an order, one of the former spouses must file a “motion to modify” the divorce judgment. This motion is typically filed with the same court that issued the original divorce decree. The main steps to take when modifying an order are:

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St. Charles divorce lawyerA divorce is likely one of the most difficult events you can go through in your lifetime. Even if you are the spouse who filed for divorce, the full impact of your decision might not hit you until long after the ink has dried on your papers. Additionally, if you did not want the divorce or were blindsided by it, you may feel hopeless and unsure of what the future holds for you.

Many communities throughout the region have divorce and separation support groups, which are offered through churches or local park districts. These groups can be a good forum for people of all ages and backgrounds who are going through a painful period in their lives.   

Types and Benefits of Support Groups

Divorce and separation groups provide a comfortable environment in which you can share your innermost feelings. It can be very therapeutic to talk to other people who understand what you are feeling in order to begin the healing process. You can contact local churches or look online to find the closest divorce support group in your area. The following are some nationally recognized support groups dealing with divorce or separation:

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St. Charles family law attorneyMost couples do not enter into marriage thinking they are going to get a divorce. However, many married people do decide to split up for various reasons. Even if divorce seems unlikely, it is a good idea to make plans for how certain issues will be addressed if a marriage ever ends. A postnuptial agreement is a written agreement drafted between two married spouses or two people who have entered a civil union. This type of agreement functions as a legal contract, and it can outline what will happen to the couple's assets if they separate or get divorced. It may also decide whether either party will receive spousal maintenance (alimony), and it can address what will happen with marital property after the death of one spouse. A postnuptial agreement is similar to a prenuptial agreement (or “prenup”), except it is created after a couple gets married rather than before they tie the knot.

Pros and Cons of Postnuptial Agreements

One of the main reasons a couple creates a postnuptial agreement is to ensure that assets such as property, finances, and even debts are distributed equally after a divorce. Making decisions about ownership of property ahead of time can help avoid conflict during the divorce process. A postnuptial document can also be helpful if children are involved, as it may be used to ensure that they have financial security for their future. For example, if your children want to attend college or a trade school, a set amount of marital assets can be set aside to go toward their tuition, room, and board.   

While a postnuptial agreement can be beneficial, it can also present problems, especially if a spouse signs the agreement without fully understanding the terms. In some cases, a person may even sign an agreement against their will or after being coerced into doing so by their spouse. This can complicate the divorce process later if a spouse tries to contest the agreement.

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Algonquin paternity lawyer

In Illinois, paternity must be established in order for a father’s name to appear on their child’s birth certificate. Also, it is essential in setting up child custody (officially called the allocation of parental responsibilities in Illinois), parenting time (child visitation), and child support if the child’s parents are not married or in a civil union.

By legal definition, paternity is the official, documented relationship between a father and their child. When it is established, it provides a child with eligibility for health insurance, life insurance, Social Security disability benefits if their parent is disabled, veteran’s benefits, and inheritances. While paternity can be a straightforward and quick process, it can be complicated in certain scenarios. Either way, it is important to seek legal guidance from an experienced family law attorney.

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St. Charles family lawer

When a party involved in a family law case receives an unfavorable decision from the court, they can appeal the ruling. When you have initial conversations with prospective family lawyers for your case, make sure you discuss their knowledge and aptitude regarding the appeals process, which could be critical if that step becomes necessary. 

There are a few common mistakes litigators can make. It is helpful for even skilled and experienced lawyers to review these points as a refresher. Here are some areas to cover with your lawyer so that together you can craft the best possible strategy to achieve a favorable result.

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Kane County Divorce Lawyers

Marriage is one of the biggest steps you can take in your life. A couple may think they are ready to be married and later find out they were not prepared at all, or that they are simply not happy being with their spouse anymore. If that happens, divorce may be the best option for both individuals and any children they might share.

While statistics show couples who marry for the first time have somewhere between a 40 and 50 percent chance of getting a divorce, there are programs available that help couples stay married. Data gathered by psychologists indicates these programs are beneficial to the couples who attend. 

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Kane County Prenup Lawyer

When couples decide to get married, they may have a prenuptial agreement prepared before the wedding. A prenuptial agreement (prenup) goes over how a couple will divide their assets and handle other matters if they were to get a divorce. 

Marriage trends in society constantly change over time. A shift in gender roles, lifespan, and expectations of marriage have led to an increase in the prevalence of prenups with the millennial generation. 

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Posted on in Divorce

Kane County prenup lawyerWhen two people get married, they pledge to spend the rest of their lives together. Sometimes it does not work out that way, and they want to get a divorce. Couples who enter into divorce proceedings may worry they will be left with nothing. If that is a concern you have prior to getting married, it may be beneficial to craft a prenuptial agreement.

The need for a prenup can vary depending on the couple and the state in which you live. Illinois law divides property equitably, which does not necessarily mean equally. Equitable division of property looks at numerous factors to determine what is fair to both parties. A prenup can be used as one of the factors which determines how the court will divide property and debts during a divorce in Illinois.

Each couple’s situation is different, so it is a good idea to take stock of your finances if you are considering a prenup agreement. You will need that information for the agreement anyway, and it can be a helpful exercise to fully understand the breadth of your financial situation.

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August is National Child Support Awareness Month

Kane County child support attorneyNational Child Support Awareness Month was established in 1995 by President Bill Clinton, with the purpose of ensuring that all children have the financial support they need. This month is a great time to review Illinois law on this subject as well as the purpose behind child support payments. In the context of a divorce or family law case, child support can be a contentious issue that may require the help of experienced counsel. In addition, Illinois child support laws have recently changed, and an attorney can explain your rights and obligations under the current laws.

Recent Changes to Illinois Child Support Law

As of July 1, 2017, Illinois follows the income shares method of determining child support. The income shares formula considers the average costs to raise a child for a family at a similar income level to what the couple had during their marriage. If there are two incomes, they are added together, and the total child support obligation is based on this combined income. Next, each parent's portion of the obligation is calculated based on the percentage that they contribute to the combined income. Typically, The parent with whom the child resides the majority of the time will receive child support payments from the other parent.

Illinois was the 40th state to adopt the income shares model. Previously, only one parent’s income was used in calculating child support. The income shares model is praised for its fairness by experts. It should be noted that child support orders entered before July 1, 2017 will stay the same unless a parent can demonstrate that a significant change in the family’s circumstances requires a modification.

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