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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 family law attorneyMany divorcing couples consider the option of mediation to help them resolve the issues at hand. Mediation can be beneficial for many reasons, including its general affordability, efficiency, and privacy in comparison to a divorce trial. However, if you are feeling frustrated or hurt by your spouse, the thought of meeting with them for mediation may be unpleasant. It is important to understand how the mediation process works so that you can decide whether it is something you are comfortable with.

The Traditional Mediation Process in Illinois

Traditionally, divorce mediation involves scheduled sessions during which the spouses will meet at a neutral site, with a neutral mediator guiding negotiations to help them find common ground and reach an agreement. This means that for at least part of the process, you will likely be speaking with your spouse face-to-face. However, you may ask to speak with the mediator privately if you have something to say that you would prefer your spouse not to hear. You can also request to have your own attorney present for mediation so that you have someone who can help you protect your interests. Even if you and your spouse are prone to conflict on your own, the structure of mediation may be able to help you civilly resolve your differences.

The Virtual Mediation Alternative

With recent improvements in communication technology, and especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual mediation has become a more popular alternative to the traditional face-to-face process. During virtual divorce mediation, you, your spouse, and the mediator will likely be speaking directly to each other at the same time, but you will not have to be in the same location. This can not only create an additional buffer between you and your spouse, it can also fit more conveniently into your schedule and allow you to be in a place of comfort while it happens.

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St. Charles IL family law attorneyAs a parent, negotiating for a parenting time schedule that allows you as much quality time with your children as possible is a crucial part of the divorce process. Perhaps equally important, however, is ensuring that when your children do stay with you after the divorce, they feel comfortable and welcome in your home. Transitioning from one household to two is often a difficult adjustment for children, and your efforts to make your house feel more like home can go a long way toward making the change less stressful.

Creating a Comforting Home For Your Children

While it is sometimes possible for one parent to stay in the family home after a divorce, in many cases, both parents will need to find a new home. Here are some things to keep in mind that can help you make an unfamiliar location homier for your kids:

  • Give your children a dedicated space. Giving your child their own room, especially one that they can personalize to their liking, can help them feel like your new house is truly their home. If a separate room for each child is not possible given your living arrangement and financial resources, work with your kids to set aside smaller spaces where they can take comfort.

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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. Charles IL divorce lawyerThe process of legally ending a marriage can take many months even after a divorce petition has been filed. However, for many couples who separate before seeking a divorce, the process can be much longer. Some people are separated for years before finally making the decision that divorce is the best option. If this is true for you, you may find yourself dealing with some of the following legal issues during the divorce process.

Demonstrating Irreconcilable Differences

In order for a divorce to be granted in Illinois, the petitioner must demonstrate that the marriage has failed due to irreconcilable differences. This is a minor obstacle for most couples who are in agreement about getting a divorce, but it can be a bigger challenge when one spouse is opposed. However, if you and your spouse have already been living apart from each other for at least six months, with or without a judgment of legal separation, the court will consider this as irrebuttable evidence of irreconcilable differences, meaning that the divorce can proceed despite a spouse’s possible objection.

Revisiting Spousal Maintenance and Child-Related Issues

If you have petitioned the court for a judgment of legal separation prior to filing for divorce, it is likely that you have already reached an agreement with your spouse regarding spousal support, child support, and the allocation of parental responsibilities throughout the separation period. This may help you to simplify the divorce process if this arrangement continues to meet everyone’s needs and you can agree to continue it under the same terms after the divorce. However, if your circumstances have changed substantially during the separation, or if you are no longer satisfied with the agreement, you will have the opportunity to renegotiate the agreement during the divorce process.

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Algonquin divorce attorney litigation

For most divorces in Illinois, it is possible to reach a resolution through a settlement based on a cooperative agreement between the spouses, often with the assistance of attorneys or mediators. However, in some cases, a settlement is not possible, and the terms of the divorce will need to be determined through a trial and court ruling. A trial can be costly, time-consuming, and emotionally draining, but it may be your only option. If you can recognize the signs that a trial may be necessary, you can better prepare yourself with the help of a skilled divorce attorney who can present a strong argument in your favor.

When Is a Divorce Trial Necessary?

A divorce may go to trial if the circumstances surrounding it are contentious. Some signs that you may need to resort to trial litigation include:

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St. Charles high-conflict divorce attorney

The time period surrounding a divorce is often marked by heightened emotions for both spouses as they contemplate what went wrong in the marriage and the many ways in which their lives are about to change. It is only natural that these emotions would lead to conflict over the divorce proceedings and the terms of the settlement, but it is important not to let this contention get in the way of making the best decisions for your future. The more destructive conflict there is between you and your spouse, the more difficult it is to reach a settlement that is mutually agreeable to both parties. Excessive conflict may also mean that your divorce case will have to go to trial, which can be costly, time-consuming, and emotionally draining.

Resolving Conflict Productively

  1. Understand your conflict style. Everyone approaches conflict differently and reflecting on your personal approach before you enter divorce negotiations can help you adapt your style to achieve your goals. For example, if you tend to accommodate the other person’s needs, you may need to make an effort to be more assertive. If you tend to approach conflict competitively, you may need to make a greater effort to listen to the other side.

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Elgin divorce attorneyIf you are going through a divorce, the first thing on your mind may not be taxes or financial issues; however, it is important to know that a divorce does have tax implications. Your filing status, tax consequences of maintenance payments, property transfers, and more are typically decided by your divorce judgment/order and affected by any new tax law changes.

A division of assets agreement should take into account any tax issues so there are no surprises later. If you are ending your marriage, a knowledgeable divorce attorney can help you prepare for any financial consequences.

Asset Division 

When a couple negotiates how to divide marital assets or property during a divorce, it is imperative to consider the areas that may have potential tax implications. Most marital property does not incur a tax liability if transferred, but you should consider the potential tax consequences of considerations such as:

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