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Divorce, family law and appeals representation in Joliet, Illinois

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Joliet Family Law Blog

Abduction and international child custody disputes

When people in Illinois develop international relationships, they may not think much about the complexities that can come with divorce or separation. After all, the dissolution of a marriage can lead to serious legal and financial disputes among couples of all nationalities. For parents, child custody issues are often contentious. This is one area where an international divorce and separation can be most complex. In general, the custody issues will be handled where the child lives, even if that may put one parent at a significant disadvantage.

Child custody disputes are a relatively common cause of child abduction, even when both parents live domestically. While still rare, these abductions are far more frequent than those involving strangers. If a parent takes the child to his or her home country, it can be more challenging to seek their return. The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of Child Abduction addresses these cases. Internationally, 98 countries are signatories of this multilateral treaty, giving it the full power of domestic law in each. Under the agreement, children who are abducted to a member country must be returned to their country of regular residence to handle custody issues.

How a prenuptial agreement can protect assets

Some couples in Illinois may be concerned about creating a prenuptial agreement. They might feel that they do not want to plan for the possibility of divorce, but a prenup can do more than simply protect the two individuals in the marriage. If one or both people have children from previous relationships, a prenup can help ensure that any assets brought into the marriage pass to those children if the parent dies.

Prenups can also help ensure that separate property brought into the marriage remains separate property. Usually, property that a person brings into the marriage is considered separate property. However, that designation can change if marital funds are mingled with the separate property. An example might be if one person owns a home at the time of the marriage. Using income earned during the marriage to pay the mortgage could mean that a portion of the home's value is considered shared property.

What a divorce financial specialist can provide

Some people in Illinois who are going through a divorce might want to consider adding a divorce financial specialist to their professional team. A divorce financial specialist can bring expertise to matters specifically relating to divorce that other financial professionals may not be able to provide.

For example, a divorce financial specialist can work with a couple during mediation or collaborative divorce. The home is often a particular area of contention in a divorce, and a divorce financial specialist can help them explore the ramifications of various options. If the couple cannot reach an agreement, a divorce financial specialist could be called on to give expert testimony on topics such as forensic accounting or what kind of taxes various settlement options might incur. A divorce financial specialist may also work with just one individual during the divorce. If the finances are particularly complex or the individual has not had much input into the marital finances, this could be particularly helpful.

How divorces impact businesses

When business owners in Illinois get divorced, it can take a toll on their companies. This may be true whether a former spouse may become a part-owner of the organization. During the divorce itself, an individual may have to split his or her focus between ending a marriage and running a company. If an enterprise is owned by multiple people, the end of a marriage could be a distraction for everyone responsible for running it.

Businesses with multiple owners may use buy-sell agreements to buy a divorcing partner's share of a company. However, without such an agreement, it may be necessary for a company to go into debt to keep it out of the hands of an owner's former spouse. Three owners of startup company GreenPal had to personally guarantee a $250,000 loan to buy out a fourth owner who was ending his marriage.

Don't wait to get your finances ready for divorce

As much as you may have tried to be a team player during your marriage, if you are heading toward divorce, it's time to start taking steps to protect yourself. Naturally, if you have children, their needs come first. However, you must do everything you can to ensure your financial future is secure.

The longer you have been married, the more complicated your finances may be to separate. You may find it helpful to reach out for professional guidance regarding Illinois laws for asset division. You can also take some practical steps toward separating your financial identity from your spouse's.

Common factors make divorce more likely

There are many reasons why married partners in Illinois decide to divorce. Splitting up can be a major decision that leads to significant emotional, personal and financial disruption in both spouses' lives. Still, divorce can be an important and positive choice for people who have developed truly irreconcilable differences in their relationships. These issues can range from matters like abuse or addiction to a simple process of growing apart over time. There are several common factors that can point to serious problems in a relationship, and these situations can make divorce more likely.

Some indications of growing separation in a marriage may seem superficial but actually point to more serious concerns. For example, spouses who do not eat together are more likely to divorce. Many reasons may lead to this situation, including clashing work schedules. Over time, however, couples can fall out of communication and lose the ties that bind them together. Similarly, couples that abandon date nights, shared hobbies and other fun plans also can lose their romantic connection.

Issues with child custody and parental responsibilities

For divorcing couples with children in Illinois, child custody and allocation of parental responsibilities will likely be foremost in their minds. A key factor is the child's best interests and how to create a situation for the child to thrive with as little disruption as possible. To achieve this, parents should understand the issues a judge will consider.

There are certain questions a judge will ask to come to a determination. Financial circumstances are critical. The judge will want to know about the parents' ability to provide the necessary care, including shelter and food. The desires of the parents will be part of the hearing. Parents frequently want joint custody, and the court might prefer such an arrangement to maintain a close relationship with both parents. However, sole custody could be necessary for the child's safety. Questions as to why the other parent should not have custody will be asked, and evidence may need to be shown as to why that is the case.

Considering prenuptial and post-nuptial agreements

When couples in Illinois are in love and planning for their next steps, divorce may be the furthest thing from their minds. However, these milestone occasions like marriage or pregnancy may inspire people to make plans in case they separate in the future. Prenuptial agreements are contracts that spouses-to-be negotiate with each other before they marry. These can address matters like inheritance or generational wealth, but they can also handle a range of financial and practical matters. They are a form of divorce planning, but they are handled while people are in a happy, loving relationship.

In the past, prenups were considered a matter for only the ultra-rich or celebrities. However, younger people are embracing prenuptial agreements in increasing numbers. If people decide against a prenup or simply never consider it, a post-nuptial agreement is still an option. A postnup can address spousal support and asset division, although it cannot handle matters like child support and custody. Financial planning is a big part of preparing for a baby, and a post-nuptial agreement may be part of those plans. These agreements can help couples decide on serious financial matters that are often contentious long before they consider a divorce.

Making an informed decision about divorce

When couples in Illinois struggle in their marriage and consider divorce, they risk making an uninformed decision on whether to continue in the marriage. Being knowledgeable about the things that impact relationships, how division of property and custody matters are handled in their state and the emotional effects of a split can help them make a clear decision on how to proceed.

For some couples, divorce seems like the only way to end the tension and fights that might have developed in their marriage. But it is Important to remember that many of the things couples disagree on, that often lead to divorce, will still be there once the divorce is final. Another thing is that some people also believe that only one partner is to blame for the end of a marriage. However, just like there are two people in the relationship, the end of it often comes due to actions, words and feelings from both partners.

Divorcing at the end of summer? You are not alone

If you are choosing to move forward with a divorce in the near future, you are probably not the only one. Many people choose to go ahead with the decision to file at the end of summer, and there are many factors that play a role in this trend. Regardless of why or when you opt to initiate this process, you will find it beneficial to keep your eyes on fighting for terms that allow you a strong future.

Summer is a fun time for many Illinois families, but it can also be a difficult time as well. This season can often exacerbate problems that exist in a marriage or make it clear why a person wants to divorce in the future. Before you move forward, you may want to think about ways you can protect your interests, focus on your long-term interests, and intentionally pursue a fair and sustainable final divorce order.

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