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Kane County spousal maintenance lawyerThe years after a divorce can be a difficult transition period for many people. You may still be tied to your former spouse through elements of your divorce order, while at the same time trying to move forward with your life. Often, your past and future can influence each other in complicated ways, including when it comes to the legal terms of your divorce resolution. One situation to pay close attention to is starting a new romantic relationship during an active spousal support order.

Effects on the Spouse Who Receives Support

In Illinois, spousal support orders usually last for a limited time, so as the receiving spouse, you will need to prepare for the payments to end eventually. However, a new romantic relationship can lead to the end of spousal maintenance sooner than you expect. Spousal support will not end simply because you start dating new people, or even because you enter a committed relationship with someone new. However, if the court determines that you are in a cohabiting relationship, the maintenance order can be terminated effective on the date the cohabitation began.

Defining a cohabiting relationship can be complicated, but in general, the court will consider things like the length of the relationship; the amount of time the partners spend together, including overnight stays; how they spend that time together; and whether they share property, expenses, or joint financial accounts. If the partners legally marry, the case becomes much more straightforward, and maintenance obligations will end on the date of marriage.

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Kane County parenting time attorneyThe summer months are a time when children often have less structure to their schedules because of the extended break from school. This can come with many benefits, including time to relax, participate in other activities, spend time with family, and take trips. However, it can also be a source of stress for parents, especially those who are recently divorced, as they try to adapt to the changes that summer brings. If you are going through a divorce, planning for summer break in your parenting agreement can help you prepare for many of the challenges you might encounter. Here are some things you may want to address in your parenting plan.

Shifting the Balance of Parenting Time

During the school year, it may be in a child’s best interest to spend the majority of the time during the week with one parent, so as to minimize interruptions to their daily routine. However, this may not be as important during the summer when children do not have as many schedule commitments. With this in mind, you might consider allocating more summer parenting time to the parent who has less time throughout the rest of the year. This arrangement often works especially well when parents live far apart, making regular travel between homes more difficult.

Setting Expectations for Travel

Many parents plan family vacations or trips during the summer, and it may be a good idea to address this directly in the parenting plan. For example, you could specify certain weeks when each parent can travel with the children, perhaps taking into consideration a fair allocation of summer holidays when parents have time off work. You should also include expectations for notifying each other about travel plans, as well as communication with your children while they are on a trip with the other parent.

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Kane County divorce attorneyGetting a divorce is not a decision to take lightly, and in many cases, it is a good idea to try to work out your differences with your spouse, possibly with the assistance of couple’s counseling or therapy, before resorting to ending your marriage. However, you may find that despite your best efforts to save the relationship, divorce is still your preferred solution.

At this point, you may have the question: Is there anything my spouse or the court can do to stop the divorce from moving forward? Fortunately, the short answer is no, but in some cases, you could find yourself having to go through additional steps to demonstrate that ending the marriage is the best option, including attending a court-ordered conciliation conference.

Understanding the Grounds for Divorce in Illinois

Since 2016, Illinois divorce courts no longer take fault into consideration in a divorce resolution. Instead, the only legally recognized grounds for divorce are irreconcilable differences. In transitioning to a “no-fault” divorce state, Illinois has recognized that couples may have any number of personal reasons for wanting to end their marriage. Irreconcilable differences are much easier to demonstrate than other possible grounds for divorce in the past. However, before granting a divorce, the court still may want to ensure that the couple has made all reasonable efforts to reconcile.

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St. Charles adoption lawyerAdoption can be a wonderful way of expanding your family. Some people may legally adopt a child who is related to them or they may choose to adopt someone unrelated to them, either domestically or internationally. Through a legal process, a person who is 18 or older can become the legal parent of an individual who is not his or her biological child. There are several types of adoption in Illinois. Related adoption occurs when at least one of the adoptive parents is related to the child who is being adopted. For example, the adoptee can be a niece or a nephew, or it can be a stepchild in a second marriage. Although this kind of adoption is typically not as complex, there are still procedures you must follow. An experienced family law attorney can help you successfully navigate this life-changing endeavor. 

Steps to Becoming a Family Unit

Besides organizing the necessary paperwork and forms that adoptive parents must submit, they should also make sure their homes are in order before their child arrives. In addition, soon-to-be parents must prepare themselves emotionally and mentally. If a couple has other children, there will be a period of adjustment for them as well. 

Here are a few practical ways that prospective parents and siblings can help make the adoption transition easier:

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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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