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

Posted on in Child Support

Illinois family attorneyStatistics from the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS) show that approximately 62 percent of Illinois high school graduates go directly to college in the following year, with that number on the rise. If your children decide to go to college, you may have an obligation, even if you are divorced, to help contribute to that fund. Being armed with the relevant information can help you understand the extent of your responsibility to contribute, if any, versus anything you may personally elect to contribute.

Illinois Law on “Non-Minor Support”

As with most aspects of family law, an Illinois court will usually only get involved in the issue of college expenses if the two divorcing parents cannot agree on the obligations (or lack thereof) of each party during their divorce itself. If a court does have to get involved, the relevant Illinois law is fairly specific about obligations in some aspects, but others are left almost entirely up to the interpreting authority. It is referred to as the law of non-minor support (even though some college freshmen may be under the age of 18 when they begin school).

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Posted on in Division of Property

Illinois divorce lawyerAsset distribution in divorce is almost never easy. However, in some cases, it can be made more complex if there is suspicion that your spouse is hiding something. Whether information or assets, if your spouse is not being honest, it is a problem. Fortunately, there are remedies available under Illinois law.

How to Spot Irregularities

As a general rule, couples in the U.S. can be less than honest with each other regarding financial affairs. A 2016 poll from the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) showed that as many as 40 percent of married people hid a major purchase from their spouse or took money out of joint accounts without discussion. During a marriage, this may be able to be solved with discussion or counseling - but during a divorce, or if the purchase is not disclosed during the divorce, it can be a significant issue.

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Illinios custody attorneyDuring a divorce or custody proceeding, a phrase that comes up with regularity is the “best interests of the child.” This is the standard used by the court to arrive at final decisions on issues like parenting time, but it can sometimes be defined in confusing ways, especially because the same standard can be used for multiple different issues. If you are going to court to discuss custody issues, having an idea of what this standard actually means can be a big help to you.

Parents’ Decisions Usually Honored

First and foremost, it helps to know that the court will only become involved in custody-related questions in some cases, not all. Generally, a court will honor any agreement that you and your spouse come to regarding parenting time, support, and any other issues like healthcare or education unless that agreement can be shown to be manifestly unreasonable. For example, the court will not permit a couple to put all the financial burden of care for a child onto the spouse who makes less money. If you cannot agree or the agreement is unconscionable, the court will step in.

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Illinois divorce lawyerWhen two people with significant assets decide to divorce, they may encounter issues that do not appear in a divorce involving very little marital property, not least of all with asset division. People who marry with high-value assets in their possession will understandably want to take steps to ensure that they retain them, rather than having them be part of the equal distribution that makes up a marriage. There are multiple ways to do this under Illinois law.

Prenups in Illinois

Prenuptial agreements are the most common way to protect assets for most couples. Illinois law is fairly straightforward regarding them, holding that they are enforceable unless made under duress, or if one party’s signature was obtained through fraudulent means. There must be a full accounting of each party’s financial information before it can be deemed that both spouses have enough information to properly execute the agreement. Coercion is also sometimes an issue, and a court will look at the timing of the agreement and of both signatures - for example, if a wife is only given one week before the wedding to examine and sign a prenup despite having extensive assets, coercion on the part of the husband may be indicated.

It is permissible to contract under these agreements regarding almost anything that is not against the law, or against the public policy of the state of Illinois. However, there are issues that spouses will try to contract for that the court will not allow. For example, child support may not be contracted for, because it is a right that belongs to the child, not the parent - thus, any child of the marriage is not technically born at the time of the agreement’s creation, so their rights cannot vest.

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Posted on in Spousal Maintenance

Illinois divorce lawyerIn many Illinois divorces, spousal support, also called maintenance, is granted to one spouse, usually the one in a lower income bracket. However, contrary to perceptions in popular culture, it does not last until death. There are multiple occasions when spousal support can legally end before the ex-spouse’s passing, and if you or your spouse may be in one of these situations, it can save you time and money in the future.

Types of Maintenance

In determining what type of maintenance should be awarded (if any), the court will examine a laundry list of factors, intended to accurately assess the needs of the spouse with less capital against the potential cost to the spouse with more assets. Some of these factors include the present and future earning capacity of both spouses, the length of the marriage and the standard of living established during that time, and any previous agreement made by the spouses, such as a prenuptial agreement, that might affect any part of marital asset division. The cessation of spousal support payments depends mostly on the type granted, as depending on which type is awarded, sometimes support may end on its own.

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