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Kane County family law attorneysPrenuptial agreements, also called premarital agreements or “prenups,” have an undeserved reputation as only being necessary for celebrities or the ultra-rich. However, more and more people are realizing how beneficial a prenuptial agreement can actually be. Prenuptial agreements allow couples to decide in advance how their property should be divided if the marriage ends in divorce, clarify their financial responsibilities and rights during marriage, make sure property is passed down to selected heirs when a spouse passes away, and more.

Survey Shows That More Millennials Are Using Prenups

A study conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers shows that more than half of attorneys surveyed have seen an increase in the number of young couples signing premarital agreements. Many attribute the increase in prenuptial agreements to the fact that, on average, Americans are getting married later in life than they have previously. The average U.S. male gets married at age 29.9 and the average female gets married at age 28.1. Tying the knot at almost 30 years old gives couples more time to accumulate property and debts that require protection through a prenuptial agreement. Many millennials also have a 401(k), stock options, a start-up business, intellectual property or other complex assets which can be protected by a prenuptial agreement.

The Negative Stigma Surrounding Prenups is Decreasing

Another major reason millennials are signing prenuptial agreements at a higher rate than previous generations is because they have realistic ideas about divorce. While it can be a bleak reality to consider, the fact is that between 30 to 40 percent of U.S. marriages do not last. Because many of them are children of divorce themselves, more and more millennials are taking a pragmatic approach to the way they think about marriage and divorce. Just as they purchase car insurance in the event of a car crash, they sign a prenuptial agreement in the event their marriage does not last. People are starting to realize that signing a prenuptial agreement does not mean that you think your marriage will fail. It simply means that you take financial decisions seriously and want to be as responsible as possible when it comes to property and debt.

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Kane County family law attorneysIf this is your first holiday season as a recently separated or divorced parent, you may understandably feel upset and disappointed. Holidays are simply not the same without the familiar sounds of children laughing and having fun. Parents may argue about which parent will spend which holiday with the children because they simply do not want to miss the experience. While there is no way to eliminate the pain of missing your children, there may be a way for you and your child’s other parent to work out a holiday parenting time schedule that works for both of you.

Put Holiday Parenting Time Arrangements in Your Parenting Plan

If you plan to get divorced in Illinois, you will be asked to create a parenting plan or parenting agreement. The agreement must include several provisions that detail how parental responsibilities and parenting time are divided between the parents. You will also want to include information about where the children will spend the major holidays. Some parents choose to split the holidays between them. For example, one parent may have the children on Thanksgiving and the other has the children on Christmas. Other parents decide to make a rotation schedule so that parents spend certain holidays with the children every other year. The most important thing is to decide on an arrangement as soon as possible so that you can avoid having the same argument about where the kids will spend holidays every year.

Change the Way You Think About Holidays

It is completely reasonable to be sad if you do not get to see your children on special days. However, it is important to remember that you can make any day special. Some divorced parents choose to create a new holiday tradition with their kids. For example, you may decide that even if you do not have your children on New Year’s Eve for the midnight countdown, that you will start a new tradition of going on a special trip at the beginning of every new year. Children are very perceptive, and they often pick up on their parent’s anxieties. Being flexible and having a positive attitude about the holiday season will not only lessen your stress, but it will also lessen your children’s stress as well.

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Kane County family law attorneysWhenever a divorce case goes to litigation, the involved parties give up a great deal of control regarding the situation. While a deal could possibly be brokered by the court, contentiousness and acrimony are more likely to develop. In addition, court dates are often set months out in advance, with very little happening in between. Thus, what could have been a relatively simple divorce has deteriorated into a long, drawn-out process causing serious levels of stress and bitterness. For many couples, however, mediation may provide a much more reasonable avenue for reaching a divorce agreement, allowing them to move at their own pace and addressing the issues that matter most.

What is Mediation?

Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution that involves at least two parties and a neutral, third-party facilitator. The parties and the facilitator, known as a mediator, engage in negotiation-oriented discussions aimed at developing a resolution that is agreeable for everyone involved. Mediation is used in a wide variety of legal applications and is very often a part of divorce and family law proceedings. Parties to a mediated divorce may choose to retain their own attorneys, depending on the complexity of the case. The best mediators are also attorneys, allowing them to much better be able to address some of the legal issues that may arise during the process.

Flexible Scheduling

In addition to the cooperative nature of mediation, the method is also very attractive for many couples due to its inherent flexibility. The restrictive scheduling of court dockets often requires both parties to take off work, make childcare arrangements, and spend weeks waiting for the opportunity to be heard. Most mediators, on the other hand, make themselves much more available to meet the needs of a particular couple. Many offer evening or weekend sessions to allow for faster progress and, ultimately, more efficient resolution.

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Kane County family law attorneysFollowing a divorce or break-up, parents go their separate ways, often creating vastly different lifestyles from one another. In most cases, however, each parent still has the right to at least some parenting time with the child, if not significant parenting time through a shared parenting arrangement. For some parents, however, the difference in lifestyles can be particularly troubling, especially if there are concerns that the child is being negatively affected. If you have been questioning the appropriateness of the other parent’s behavior, it is important to know what you can and cannot do about it, and a family lawyer can help.

Your Opinion Might Not Really Matter

Unless otherwise stated in your parental allocation judgment or parenting agreement, how you feel about the other parent’s actions has little bearing on the situation. There are some exceptions, but those will be addressed in a moment. Even if you have been granted full authority for important decision-making in regard to your child, as long as the other parent has not been deemed unfit, he or she is permitted to parent as he or she desires. His or her time with the child is not under your control, and you do not have the authority to tell them what to do or how to do it.

But…

The safety of your child must always remain the top priority for both you and the other parent. By law, parenting time may be restricted if the child’s physical, mental, moral, or emotional health is seriously endangered. However, that is not a determination you are permitted to make entirely on your own. Instead, you must take your concerns to the court and request that restrictions be placed on other parent’s time with your child. Only in the most extreme cases will his or her rights to the child be completely terminated.

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Kane County family law attorneyThe decision to award spousal maintenance following a divorce is one that must be considered very carefully by the court. Sometimes called alimony or spousal support, maintenance is used to lessen the financial impact of the dissolution, and to provide a measure of security for the future. The law in Illinois—and therefore the courts—presume that, if you are awarded maintenance, it should only continue as long as the need for it still exists.

Terminating Factors

When you are receiving spousal support, you probably have some idea of how long the order is scheduled to remain in effect. It may be intended to last a number of years, or indefinitely if you were married for a long time. However, what you may not realize is that the applicable law in Illinois includes provisions that allow maintenance to be terminated early. According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, an order for maintenance may be terminated upon the death of either party, which, of course, is reasonable enough. It also specifies that your support may be ended if you get remarried. Finally, it permits the termination of your maintenance if you cohabit “with another person on a resident, continuing conjugal basis.”

Not Just Roommates

So the real issue then becomes what exactly “resident, continuing conjugal basis means.” Does is simply mean you spend several nights a week with a new romantic partner? What about moving in with a roommate? While the actual law itself does not provide a great deal of clarification, case law around the state has set a precedent for terminating maintenance because of cohabitation.

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1737 South Naperville Road, Suite 100
Wheaton, IL 60189
630-549-0960
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We serve clients throughout Kane County, Illinois including St. Charles, Geneva, Batavia, North Aurora, Elgin, Algonquin, Aurora, Barrington Hills, Bartlett, Big Rock, Burlington, Campton Hills, Carpentersville, East Dundee, Elburn, Hampshire, Huntley, Kaneville, Maple Park, Sleepy Hollow, Wayne, West Dundee as well as throughout DuPage County.

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