Naperville Law Blog

Postnuptial agreements may help couples reset their finances

Some married couples in Illinois have used a postnuptial agreement as a way to reset their finances and protect their assets in case of a divorce. This document is similar to a prenuptial agreement. The main difference between the two documents is that a postnuptial agreement is signed during marriage and a prenuptial agreement is signed before marriage.

Postnuptial agreements have been useful in helping couples where one partner isn't good at handling money. Some have seen it as a way to address the problem and help the couple work together to get a fresh start in the way they handle their money. Another situation where this document may be beneficial is where one individual may receive a large inheritance and wants to protect it.

Postnuptial agreements may be a smart financial choice

In the past, many people in Illinois considered prenuptial agreements to be limited to those with generational family wealth or major celebrities. However, a growing number of people have chosen to negotiate a prenup before they marry, especially as more people choose to wed later in life or after developing a burgeoning career. More people bring property and children of their own to their marriages and may want the additional preparation and planning that a prenup provides. Some of the issues addressed by a prenuptial agreement may also arise after a couple has already married, however.

There are options to negotiate the financial aspects of a potential future separation even for people who are already married. Even more than prenups, postnuptial agreements may simply feel like divorce negotiations in advance or a sign of a troubled marriage. However, there are very practical reasons why some couples may want to consider a postnup. One partner may be in line to receive a substantial inheritance or family heirloom. While they want to share the benefits of their inheritance with their partner, their family may want to ensure that the assets remain protected in case of a divorce or separation.

Tips for handling contentious child custody situations

Child custody cases are often contentious because both parents want to have their own way. This can make it challenging to come up with mutually agreeable terms for the parenting plan. When parents are going through a challenging divorce, they need to make sure that they are putting the children first.

There are several things that can happen when determining how to set up the custody arrangements. Thinking about these ahead of time might benefit you because you will be mentally prepared to handle situations that come up.

Last year's calendar might help in divorce court

As January begins, many people in Illinois throw away their old calendars without a second thought. If a person is involved in a child custody case, however, last year's calendar can be a key piece of evidence that shouldn't be discarded. Calendars contain evidence of a child's schedule, which may include vacations, sports trips, appointments and birthday parties.

Custody cases can be stressful for divorced parents. They often require assembling a lot of hard-to-quantify information. However, a calendar can help a parent to jog their memory if they are experiencing brain fog. Notes on a calendar that might seem like small details could become very important when trying to show how much child support is needed and how a custody schedule should be arranged.

Why January experiences an increase in divorce filings

Couples in Illinois and other states are more likely to file for divorce in the month of January. In fact, those in legal circles have started calling January "Divorce Month." Not only do statistics reveal that divorce filings go up in the month of January, but even search engines see more queries for things related to divorce.

One reason why divorces may be more common during the month of January is because people are thinking about turning over a new leaf. They want to make improvements in their life, so it may mean ending a marriage that they feel unsatisfied with or that is riddled with problems.

Not all prenuptials are created equal

Although prenuptial agreements are becoming more common in Illinois and throughout the country, there remain misconceptions regarding some of their basics. Initially, despite what once may have been the reality, prenups are not now exclusively a tool to be employed by the affluent. People are typically marrying later in life than they once did, which often corresponds with either or both of the partners owning a home or business before marriage. However, for whatever the reason a prenup is proposed, there are rules of construction that must be followed if it is to be considered a valid, binding legal document.

A prenuptial agreement can address a wide range of topics but a favorite issue involves one partner agreeing to accept less in the event of a split than would otherwise be likely to be awarded by a family court. It's important to remember that despite the fact that a prenup is a very specialized type of contract, it is a contract that must comport with contract basics. A seminal factor if the prenup were to come under judicial scrutiny is whether the parties were in equaling bargaining positions as they hammered out the specific contract details.

Understanding your rights to spousal maintenance in Illinois

If you have recently gone through a divorce in Illinois or you are contemplating filing for a divorce, you must understand your rights when it comes to spousal maintenance. Maintenance, which was once called alimony, can determine the lifestyle that you will likely be able to enjoy in the years to come.

The purpose of maintenance is to ensure fairness between divorcing spouses. It acknowledges that some spouses earn significantly more than the other while taking advantage of the non-financial services of their partner. For example, if one spouse acts as a homemaker and takes care of children, that person may have a lower earning potential than an ex after divorce. However, they would have helped to facilitate the earning potential of their spouse by providing their services during the marriage.

Using a prenup to prepare in case of divorce

Some couples in Illinois may want a prenuptial agreement to protect them in case they get a divorce. This should not be a decision they procrastinate on making because preparing the prenup shortly before the marriage can make the document more vulnerable to challenges. It can appear as though one individual was coerced into signing it.

Both individuals will need to fully disclose their finances. A prenup is a good opportunity to get a thorough understanding of how the other person feels about money, and this is an important conversation for any couple to have. The prenup can establish what property will remain separate, including income, inheritances and real estate, and what will be considered shared. It will also outline how they will divide any shared property in a divorce. It can establish rules for spousal support as well.

How fathers can address bias in custody situations

Some Illinois fathers may be concerned that they will be at a disadvantage in a divorce when it comes to child custody. In the past, in a divorce, mothers nearly always got custody. It was assumed that the father was primarily responsible for earning money and that the mother would stay home and care for the children. Courts assumed that the mother would be the best caregiver if the parents separated.

Fathers are more likely to be granted joint custody or even sole custody today, but they may still face bias in the courtroom. A judge may assume that a father doesn't know how to care for children or is too busy. Courts may assume that it is the mother and not the father who has the ability to nurture.

Advice for women going through a divorce

Women in Illinois who are going through a divorce and have children are likely concerned about the impact the divorce is going to have on their children. In a recent poll, almost three in four women said that they were concerned about their children's welfare after divorce and about their ability to provide financially for their children.

There is a train of thought that says that in order for woman to be able to look after her kids, she also needs to look after herself. What looking after oneself means can vary from person to person. It could entail talking to a therapist or working with a financial planner in creating a budget that allows a person to live within their means while planning for their child's future. Another part of caring for oneself after divorce could be keeping social connections alive and engaging with friends and family.

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