Category Archives: Family Law

b2ap3_thumbnail_hinsdale-divorce-attorney_20220513-133824_1.jpgWhen they are written well, prenuptial agreements are legally binding contracts that specify how a couple’s finances, at least in part, will be handled in a divorce. While most people have signed arbitration clauses in contracts like user agreements (often included in the fine print that nobody reads), those same people may be surprised to learn that arbitration agreements can also be included in an Illinois prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. 

Arbitration can be beneficial for many reasons, most of which are similar to the purpose of the pre- or postnuptial agreement itself: Avoiding protracted courtroom hostilities and ensuring parties can reach a resolution on important financial issues in the event of a divorce. If you are considering a prenup, continue reading to learn more about how an arbitration clause may benefit you. 

What is Arbitration and How is it Different from Mediation? 

While arbitration and mediation have some things in common, they are not the same. Arbitration is a process through which facts that are under dispute are investigated and judgment is rendered by a neutral third-party arbitrator. The arbitrator has the power to decide the outcome and his or her judgment is legally binding. Divorcing spouses involved in arbitration present evidence and testimony under oath, with very little room for emotional venting or creative problem-solving. 

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Couples deciding to get divorced in Illinois have generally thought through the impact that separation will have on their own lives. But it is also important to carefully consider how divorce will impact your children, who do not have the maturity to understand why parents separate and what these changes mean. While all divorcing parents must create a parenting agreement that describes parental responsibilities and parenting time, attention must also be given to helping children make the major adjustment to visiting parents in different homes. Here are a few tips that can help. 

Treat Your Co-Parent With Respect 

You may resent your ex and even hate them, but this is not your children’s fault and it should not be their burden to bear. Parents who cannot respect each other in front of their children leave the children feeling guilty, confused, and sad. Even when it is hard, treat your co-parent with respect and avoid badmouthing them to other adults when your children are present. 

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Some Illinois couples get divorced because of financial disagreements; other couples get divorced because of differences in how they want to raise their children. Still more couples get divorced because of abuse, adultery, or neglect. These issues can make pursuing a divorce a fairly straightforward, if difficult, decision to make. 

However, some people find they absolutely cannot stand their spouse - but for reasons they might feel embarrassed or nervous to share with friends and family. If the way your spouse eats, blows their nose, breathes, fidgets, or snores in their sleep makes you want to tear your marriage certificate in half, you may have a condition known as misophonia. 

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DuPage County Divorce LawyerWhen a couple who shares children and owns property wants to get an Illinois divorce, they will need to draft a marital settlement agreement (MSA) before the divorce can be finalized. A marital settlement agreement, or divorce agreement, is the contract that details exactly how a married couple will divide their marital assets and debt and handle child-related issues. Once the MSA is drafted, a judge can approve it and include it in the Judgment of Dissolution, which is handed down when the marriage ends. So, do you need an MSA? And, if so, what does an MSA need to contain? Read on to find out. 

Do We Need a Marital Settlement Agreement? 

Not every couple needs an MSA. Couples who share no children and have no significant or complex assets or debts do not usually need a marital settlement agreement to allocate a few possessions, waive alimony, and end the marriage. Spouses who have been married for a very short time often do not need an MSA. 

What Should a Marital Settlement Agreement Include? 

While each couple’s MSA can vary depending on the relevant issues that must be addressed, MSAs can include: 

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DuPage County Divorce LawyerCouples in Illinois often live together for many years without considering or pursuing marriage. Cohabitation without marriage may be preferable for many different reasons, including partners who come from very difficult cultures, couples who want to save the money and hassle of planning a wedding, or people for whom marriage is just not a priority. Although these reasons are legitimate, the truth is that marriage in Illinois gives partners rights and protections during divorce that do not exist for cohabitating couples, no matter how long they have been living together. 

Partners who have owned property and shared a home for many years may suddenly find themselves surprised when they end the relationship and find they have no property rights. If you are in this situation, you may be wondering if there is such a thing as “common law marriage” in Illinois or any other way to prove you were in a serious enough relationship to protect your financial interests. 

Illinois Does Not Have Common Law Marriage, But Other States Do

Most states, including Illinois, do not have common law marriage laws, but a handful of states do. If you were in a common law marriage in a state that does recognize these types of relationships, Illinois will recognize it. However, the definition of what is considered a common law marriage varies from state to state and you will need to prove you were in one. Consult with an attorney for help doing this. 

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