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Peoria Family Law Blog

Considering debt during asset division

Whether taking out an auto loan, applying for a mortgage or purchasing something with a credit card, it often seems as if debt is an unavoidable part of life. But what happens to that debt during a divorce? This is an issue that many Illinois couples will have to address during asset division.

Like with marital assets, both parties should have a thorough understanding of all marital debt. This includes identifying who is actually liable for which debts. Understanding legal liability is key for making sensible decisions during property division, because one might still be responsible for missed payments even if his or her partner took on that debt during divorce. In general, anyone who signed or co-signed a debt is still responsible for things like late fees and missed payments regardless of marital status.

Fathers' rights for unmarried dads

Societal expectations for unmarried dads in Illinois are sadly not very high, which may influence how successful they are at securing time with their children. But regardless of marital status, men who were never married to their children's mothers can still seek visitation and even child custody. However, this means that they must be vigilant in asserting their fathers' rights.

The first step to securing time with a child is to establish paternity. This is sometimes done shortly after a child is born, when both parents sign an acknowledgement for paternity. This may also be done some time after the birth. When paternity is disputed, a father can turn to the court system to formally establish paternity, typically by getting a court order for DNA testing.

Prenuptial agreements preserve property interests

Protecting one's personal interest is important throughout every stage of life. However, this is often overlooked when heading into marriage. While it is admirable that many couples feel strong and secure in their relationships when saying "I do," it does not erase the fact that many divorcees started out in happy marriages. This is why Illinois couples may benefit by considering how prenuptial agreements can protect their property interests.

When one person brings considerable wealth into his or her relationship -- particularly if he or she comes from a wealthy family -- a prenuptial agreement may be appropriate. It is often more than just a person's inheritance that is on the line. For example, a family business that generates wealth could be at risk during a divorce, because a soon-to-be ex-spouse could possibly go after some of those assets in property division.

Understanding the division of retirement assets in a divorce

During the property division phase of a divorce, some people draw a blank when the subject of dividing retirement accounts takes center stage.

The process can become complicated, so it is a good idea to brush up on your understanding of retirement accounts that are marital property and learn how the division of those accounts occurs.

Mothers still favored for child custody of young children

During divorce, parents must think of both their own needs as well as those of their children. Each family will have their own unique needs, but there is usually one common thread that generally weaves through everything -- that children have two loving, involved parents. Child custody agreements might more readily meet this need for older children, but many courts in Illinois overlook just how important it is for younger children.

For decades, the prevailing standard was for children younger than six to almost always sleep at their mothers' homes. Most people believed that sleeping at two different homes throughout the week would be too difficult for a toddler or an infant. Instead, only allowing moms to have overnight custody can actually hurt children's abilities to form secure, lifelong bonds with parents.

Why are women more likely to divorce after a promotion?

The manner in which people view marriage, child rearing and divorce have all evolved over recent years. An increasing number of women in Illinois are now earning more than their husbands, turning an old standard of marriage on its head. This new standard might be harder for some people to accept. When women receive promotions, their marriages are much more likely to end in divorce than when men advance in their careers.

Researchers determined that women who are promoted to prestigious positions such as CEO are the ones most likely to divorce. The same holds true for women who are elected to serve in public office. Earning a high-ranking position is not the only factor, either. Women working in law enforcement and female physicians face an increased chance of divorce any time they are promoted.

What judges consider when creating child support orders

Raising a child is expensive, and divorce certainly does not make it any cheaper. Child support is one way to make sure that both parents keep providing important financial stability regardless of what else is going on in life. Here is how Illinois family law deals with child support.

Both parents' incomes factor into child support payments, not just the parent who is paying. It is about a lot more than just who earns what, though. A judge will consider a parent's net pay, meaning everything that he or she takes home after taxes and other financial obligations, including money used for child support for other kids. Net income also includes any types of benefits from assistance programs.

Your parenting plan, caretaking functions and Illinois law

If you and your spouse have decided to divorce, the welfare and upbringing of your children will be top priority.

Illinois law requires that divorcing couples develop a parenting plan that includes “caretaking functions” for the benefit of their children.

Why is figuring out child custody getting so difficult?

Societal expectations have changed quite a bit over a relatively short period of time, especially when it comes to family and parenting. Fathers in Illinois now play much larger roles in their children's lives than their own fathers did. This shift has also nudged more and more families toward joint child custody, with each parent taking on 50% of parenting time. Unfortunately, some experts believe that shared custody, social media and even mistruths are causing conflict between divorcing parents.

Social media has become a place for airing grievances, venting and sharing a little too much information. While this might be the new norm for a lot of people, parents who are going through a divorce should avoid posting about their ex-spouses as much as possible. This is partly because kids today are pretty tech savvy and can easily access that information. The non-profit organization Kids In the Middle recently reported seeing a big increase in how many families they are helping through high-conflict transitions, and social media is just one of the reasons why.

Marital property, Social Security benefits support retirement

No one wants to just get by during retirement, but establishing a secure financial footing for the future is not always easy. Divorce in particular can complicate plans for one's later years. Making sound, informed decisions regarding the division of marital property is one way to protect that future, but it is not the only approach.

Many people in Illinois use Social Security benefits for at least some of their retirement income. These benefits are essential even to those who have spent decades carefully setting aside enough money to support themselves even without Social Security, which is true even for those who are divorced. Should someone not have any Social Security benefits of his or her own, then claiming benefits based on an ex-spouse's work history is possible.

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