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Kane County family law attorneysOne of the least discussed topics before couples marry is usually finances. One of the most discussed topics when a couple decides to end their marriage, however, is usually finances. It is critical to discuss finances before marriage, and a prenuptial agreement opens the door for this very important discussion.

What Is a Prenuptial Agreement?

A prenuptial agreement is a legal document that serves as private agreement between two people who intend to marry. In a prenuptial agreement, the parties define how the couple’s assets and property will be divided in the event of divorce or death. A prenuptial agreement may be narrow or broad in its scope, depending on the individual needs of the couple. The issue of spousal support may be included in the agreement, but there are no specific requirements. Without a prenuptial agreement, the couple will be required to reach an agreement later on, or their assets will be divided by the Illinois state laws governing divorce if the couple elects to terminate their marriage.

Understanding Emotions Around Prenuptial Agreements

In popular culture, prenuptial agreements are often seen in a negative light. They are generally viewed as an uncomfortable topic of conversation that indicates one person is either planning for the marriage to fail or trying to gain an advantage over their partner. Unfortunately, these common misconceptions can lead couples down a stressful and detrimental path if they elect to marry without a prenuptial financial plan. 

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St. Charles family law attorney legal separation

People often use the term “separated” to refer to married couples who have decided to end their marriage but are not yet divorced. Many people also use the term synonymously with living separately. However, there is a major difference between living separately and being legally separated. An Illinois legal separation involves a court order that binds spouses to certain terms involving property, financial support, and parental responsibility. Couples that are legally separated are still technically married and may not remarry until they get divorced.

Being Legally Separated Involves Much More Than Living Separately

There are a few reasons why a married couple may wish to be legally separated instead of divorced. Some couples simply want to avoid the finality of divorce. They may have serious marital issues to resolve but are hoping that they will be able to eventually reconcile. Other people choose to avoid divorce for religious or cultural reasons. There may also be certain financial and tax-related benefits associated with staying married. For example, an individual may wish to remain married so that he or she can continue to have access to his or her spouse’s health insurance plan or retirement benefits.

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St. Charles collaborative divorce attorney

Disputes regarding the division of marital assets and debts, allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time, child support, spousal maintenance, and other divorce issues can be legally complicated and emotionally exhausting. If you are ready to end your marriage, you may wonder how you can resolve these issues without your divorce case going to trial. Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods have helped countless divorcing couples reach an agreement about the terms of their divorce outside of the courtroom. One such ADR that may be beneficial to you is collaborative divorce.

Resolving Divorce Issues Using Collaborative Law

If you are like most individuals facing divorce, you probably want the divorce process to be as amicable as possible. Collaborative divorce is a process during which divorcing spouses and their respective attorneys work together instead of against each other to negotiate divorce issues and reach solutions. Every individual participating in the collaborative process signs a Participation Agreement or Collaborative Agreement in which they promise to openly share relevant information and negotiate in good faith. Participants also promise not to take the divorce case to litigation. If the case does end up going to trial, the attorneys must withdraw from the case and the spouses must hire new attorneys. This ensures that everyone is fully motivated to reach a resolution through the collaborative process.

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Kane County divorce attorney child support

When a couple gets divorced, there are many issues that need to be addressed. The amount of child support a parent pays is calculated using the “Income Shares” model in Illinois. Both parents’ net incomes are used to determine a child support payment amount that is reasonably affordable yet still provides the recipient parent with the financial support he or she needs. However, when the parents’ circumstances change, the child support order may no longer be appropriate. If you are interested in modifying the amount you pay in child support, you will need to show that a child support modification is warranted.  

Modifying an Illinois Child Support Order

In order to qualify for a modification, you will need to show that there has been a “substantial change in circumstances” that justifies the change or that the current order does not adequately address the child’s health care needs. You may also be granted a modification if the child support obligation significantly differs from the statutory guidelines in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act.

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St. Charles divorce attorney hidden assets

During an Illinois divorce, spouses are asked to disclose detailed information about their assets, income, and debts. This information is needed to make informed decisions about property division, child support, spousal maintenance, and other concerns. Some spouses attempt to hide assets, underreport income, or otherwise falsify financial information in order to manipulate the divorce settlement in their favor. Uncovering financial fraud during divorce is often challenging and complicated – especially if a spouse owns complex assets such as stock options, real estate, trusts, or a business. In many cases, a forensic accountant may work with a divorce lawyer to investigate a spouse’s finances and reveal any deception.

Common Ways Divorcing Spouses Falsify Financial Information

Whether a divorce is settled out of court or through litigation, the terms of the divorce should be based upon accurate, complete financial information. Unfortunately, some spouses try to gain an advantage by misrepresenting their financial situation. Some of the most common ways that spouses hide assets during divorce include:

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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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In honor of the passing of our founder, Joseph F. Mirabella, Jr., our offices are closed Friday, January 31, 2020.I Agree