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St. Charles IL divorce attorneyIf you have received property through an inheritance from a family member or close friend, it is likely something that you hold very dear. You may see it as a representation of that person’s legacy, and in many cases, it also has substantial monetary value. The thought of losing your inheritance or having to divide it in a divorce can be concerning. Fortunately, Illinois law often allows you to protect inherited property during the divorce process, but there are some possible exceptions that you should be aware of.

Inherited Assets Are Usually Non-Marital Property

According to Illinois law, most property that either spouse acquires during their marriage is considered to belong to the marital estate, and this means that both spouses have the right to a fair share of it in the event of a divorce. However, the law lists several forms of property that are considered non-marital assets. One example is “property acquired by gift, legacy, or descent,” which includes assets acquired through a will, trust, or intestate succession. Provided that you alone are the named or qualifying beneficiary, you will likely be able to keep all inherited property in the divorce. If your spouse is willing, creating a postnuptial agreement after receiving an inheritance can provide additional protection for your assets.

When Can an Inheritance Become Marital Property?

However, under some circumstances, property received through inheritance is subject to division in a divorce. This may be the case if:

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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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St. Charles divorce lawyersWhen two people get divorced, the court typically issues a final judgment that documents the terms and conditions of the divorce. However, it is not uncommon for there to be changes to the original divorce settlement or agreement. Sometimes these changes are necessary due to lifestyle changes or if they are in the best interest of a couple’s child. Post-judgment order modifications can include a change in the child support payment amount or allocation of parental responsibilities if one parent loses his or her job or moves to another state. 

Steps to Take for Enforcing an Order

Post-divorce decree issues can often become hostile and expensive. It is ideal if everyone involved can resolve these issues without taking actions such as contempt of court. If possible, negotiating an amicable resolution saves all parties time and money. However, this is not always the case if one party does not follow an order. If one party is not willing to cooperate, someone can pursue enforcement through the courts by filing a contempt of court motion. In the majority of divorce cases, contempt of court actions are typically filed for reasons such as:

  • Non-payment of child support;
  • Non-payment of spousal maintenance;
  • Failure to adhere to parental responsibility and parenting time agreements; and
  • Sale of property that violates property settlement agreements.

The Illinois Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) has the authority to implement certain enforcement procedures. For example, if one parent is behind on child support payments, they can garnish wages from his or her paycheck. Sometimes, the DCSS gets overloaded with a lot of cases, and a lawyer can file a contempt of court motion on a parent’s behalf to help recover any money that is owed.

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