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IL divorce lawyerPrenuptial agreements have always had some sort of societal taboo on them, but in recent years, society’s opinion of prenuptial agreements, or prenups for short, has evolved and more people have accepted their role. A prenuptial agreement is a document that both people sign before they get married that spells out the terms of their divorce if they were to ever get one. As a legal agreement, your prenuptial agreement is subject to certain standards and rules in order to be enforceable. If the agreement violates any of those standards or rules, those sections may be invalidated, if not the entire agreement. If you are thinking about getting a prenuptial agreement, it is important to make sure your agreement follows the rules, so it will be enforceable if you ever need to use it.

Not Having Full Financial Disclosure From Both Spouses

Before you sign a prenuptial agreement, both you and your spouse are supposed to disclose all of your financial information. This includes any property that you own, inheritances you expect to receive, and any liabilities you may have, such as student loans or credit card debt. Without full disclosure, the argument could be made that you did not fully understand what you were agreeing to when you signed the agreement.

Making the Agreement Extremely One-Sided

Another issue that stems from the previous issue is having an “unconscionable” agreement. While there is no legal definition of “unconscionable” in Illinois, it typically means extremely unfair or heavily favoring one spouse over the other.

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IL divorce lawyerFor many spouses, contemplating the multitude of issues that will need to be addressed during the divorce process can be very stressful. As you consider how you and your spouse will divide your marital property, how you will share custody of your children, and other concerns related to the dissolution of your marriage, you may be preparing for a difficult and contentious battle. However, you may be able to make matters easier by determining how you can avoid conflict and cooperate with your spouse to make decisions about your divorce. Instead of resolving legal issues through a costly and time-consuming divorce trial, you can use alternative dispute resolution. Mediation is one of the most popular and beneficial methods of resolving disputes. Whether you choose this option on your own or are ordered by the court to proceed to mediation, you can realize a variety of benefits.

Reasons to Choose Divorce Mediation

During mediation, you and your spouse will work together to create a divorce settlement that will detail all of the decisions made about the outstanding issues in your case. A neutral mediator will guide you through these discussions, make sure you understand how the law applies to you, and offer suggestions on how you can resolve your differences.

There are a number of reasons why mediation can be beneficial, including:

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IL divorce lawyerIt is difficult to imagine life before the Internet or social media. Information that used to be found in libraries can now be found on a computer or phone with the click of a button. Sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are popular with people of all ages and backgrounds. Many individuals find them an ideal way to keep in touch with family or friends who may live far away since they can post photographs and videos of themselves or their kids. Watching a soccer game or musical performance online can be a good substitution if someone cannot be there in person, especially this past year due to coronavirus restrictions. Although there are many benefits of social media, there can be negatives, too, especially if a couple is going through a divorce. In some cases, posts or comments made on a website can be used as evidence in legal proceedings such as asset division, spousal maintenance, or child custody.

Think Before Posting

Connecting with others electronically has become even more prominent during the COVID-19 pandemic. Virtual visits through video conferencing apps or SnapChat and TikTok allow people who are staying at home the ability to stay in touch with loved ones who they cannot see in person. With more time on their hands, people have turned to social media sites to pass the time. However, it is important to be careful about what is posted if you are going through a divorce, as certain things can be misinterpreted and used against you.

Consider these tips regarding social media use while your marriage is ending:

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IL divorce lawyerAlthough there is light at the end of the tunnel with a vaccine for coronavirus being administered now, the economic impact may be felt for some time. Many non-essential businesses such as bars, restaurants, casinos, fitness centers, and salons were closed to stop the spread of COVID-19. As a result, workers across the country, including Illinois, had to file for unemployment for the first time in their lives. The financial impact of this can be especially difficult for a divorced person.

In some cases, an individual may either pay spousal maintenance (alimony) or receive it as determined in the divorce decree. Spousal support refers to the legal obligation to provide financial support to an ex-spouse in a legal separation or divorce. The purpose of this maintenance is to help the ex-spouse eventually become self-supporting. However, if either spouse loses his or her job, it is important to understand how this unemployment can impact the support payments moving forward.

Spousal Maintenance 101

According to Illinois divorce law, spousal maintenance is intended to help the supported spouse maintain a similar financial situation as he or she had during the marriage. It is often awarded to the lesser-earning spouse or one who did not work outside of the home. Before this type of financial support is awarded, the court will review certain factors, including each spouse’s income, if child support will be paid, and whether one spouse needs financial assistance. A judge can order maintenance for a short or indefinite period with a periodic review depending on the details of the marriage and divorce. For example, if a couple was married a long time and one person has medical issues that prevent them from working, the support may be permanent.

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After a couple finalizes a divorce, they can often go their own separate ways, never having to see each other again. However, if children are involved, they will be co-parenting together. This can be difficult under any circumstances, but even more so during a global health crisis like COVID-19. In an effort to stop the spread of the contagious virus, many non-essential businesses have been closed, while students have been learning remotely and parents working from their homes. Navigating this new normal presents different challenges for co-parents. This means some divorced parents may need to modify their existing co-parenting arrangements or  parenting time orders.

Co-Parenting and Parenting Time Schedules

In Illinois divorces, parents must create a parenting plan that outlines how parental responsibilities (child custody) and parenting time (visitation) will be shared or divided. If spouses cannot agree to the terms of this plan before their divorce is finalized, the court will become involved. In these cases, a judge will make decisions on what is in the best interest of the children. Arrangements can be tailored to fit parents’ work schedules as well as children’s school schedules. Sharing may be in the form of one parent having the kids stay with him or her for one week, then the other parent having the kids the next week. In other situations, one parent may have the majority of parenting time with the co-parent only having the children every other weekend and one night a week.

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