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Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C.
630-472-9700Available 24/7

Posted on in Premarital Agreement

IL divorce lawyerPrenuptial agreements are no longer reserved solely for the rich and famous, though it may appear that way through media coverage. A prenuptial agreement, commonly referred to as a prenup, is a legal document that determines how assets, debts, finances, and property will be managed during a marriage or after a marriage if it comes to an end. In the past, prenups have been seen as taboo or damaging to a relationship; however, millennials often request prenuptial agreements, causing an increase in this form of legal documentation.

What Exactly Is a Prenup?

Prenuptial agreements are most commonly known for financial division; however, they cover more than just “who gets the money.” Although prenups are important in regards to officiating financial matters, they can also assist couples in managing prior commitments or obligations like children and ex-spouses. The document can help those with substantial assets or debts avoid conflict later in the marriage. Prenups are important because they take precedence over state laws regarding divorce and marital property, putting control into the hands of the couple requesting the legal documentation.

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Posted on in Family Law

IL family lawyerNowadays, many more couples in Illinois are electing to simply live together or cohabitate, rather than getting married. This suits some much more, as a cohabiting relationship can simply be ended when one or both parties feel like it, without the time and trouble of a divorce. However, there are decided negatives to living together without the protection of being in a marriage. Either way, couples should understand the ramifications of foregoing marriage and/or living in a cohabiting relationship lest they get into a situation where they have no protection.

Property Rights

One issue that can be significant if a cohabiting couple splits up is that of property rights. A married couple who decide to divorce receive the benefit of Illinois’ equitable distribution laws, which hold that upon a divorce, all marital property will be divided “in just proportions” while considering a number of factors, including the length of the marriage, the current and future earning potential of each spouse, and any alleged dissipation of marital assets (not in the sense of punishing for misconduct, but in the sense that it would be unjust to reward any waste of assets). A cohabiting couple has no “marital” property and as such, no real law to fall back on other than the simple axiom that whoever purchased an asset will, in many situations, own it.

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IL defense lawyerIllinois has enacted stringent domestic violence laws designed to safeguard victims from their abusers. However, merely passing a law does not eliminate the problem, and misinformation abounds which can wind up leading victims up the proverbial garden path. If you are in a critical situation, it is imperative to ensure that you understand the truth, lest you neglect a resource that might better your situation, especially if quality of life or safety are at stake.

Myth: “Domestic violence is an entirely private matter.”

Fact: In reality, victims have reported notably higher instances of certain diseases and health conditions, such as strokes, high blood pressure, substance abuse, and heart disease. Productivity losses associated with injuries and violent death due to domestic violence have been estimated at over $1.8 billion. Psychiatric conditions such as PTSD are reported at multiple times higher in domestic violence victims than they are in those who have never experienced such treatment, especially women. This is a crime which affects society in significant ways, at the very least economically.

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IL custody lawyerMany operate under the misconception that only parents and children are affected by a divorce, when in reality, multiple family members will have to adjust their own lives, offer support, and help the family as best they can. In some situations, family members may even seek visitation with children during the divorce proceedings. However, Illinois’ regulations surrounding this particular issue are quite complex. If you are in the position where you would like to seek non-parent visitation, it is possible to obtain that, but it is not easy.

The Process Is Complex

Illinois public policy favors a parent’s right to parent their children in the way they see fit as long as the child is not being endangered. However, certain family members - as of this writing, grandparents or great-grandparents, stepparents or siblings - may try to seek visitation (as opposed to parenting time) if they qualify under certain criteria. The main point that the nonparent seeking visitation must prove is that they have been “unreasonably” stopped from visiting with the child and that this has caused harm to the child (be it emotional, mental or physical).

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Posted on in Child Custody

IL divorce lawyerSome child custody cases can get extremely heated, or sometimes there can be issues surrounding what custody arrangement may truly be in the best interests of the child or children involved. When this happens, the judge in the case may choose to involve a volunteer attorney to ensure that the children’s interests are truly represented. This attorney is referred to as a guardian ad litem (GAL), and their presence in a custody case can confuse and anger parents, though there is no need for it to happen. Understanding what the GAL’s role is can help minimize ruffled feathers and ensure that all are working toward the best possible outcome of your divorce vis-a-vis your children.

Fact Finders

A GAL can be named in any custody case, on the motion of either party or on the court’s own authority (in any county in Illinois). Regardless of who makes the motion to bring in a GAL, one will generally be appointed in a custody case only when there are certain facts at issue that require an impartial observer, as the job of a GAL is to be impartial. A GAL acts exclusively in the best interest of the child, reporting only to the court in terms of their findings.

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