prenuptial agreement, Illinois family law attorneysPrenuptial agreements, or “prenups” for short, have long been misunderstood. Some people incorrectly believe that signing a prenuptial agreement with your fiancé means that you are destined to get divorced. This is no truer than saying that buying car insurance destines you to a car accident. Prenuptial agreements not only protect each spouse’s property rights in the event of divorce but they can also help engaged couples effectively communicate about property and debt before getting married. This can be tremendously beneficial to the relationship and help prevent unexpected financial issues during the marriage.

There are certain things that can invalidate a prenuptial or premarital agreement. If you plan to create a prenup, make sure to follow Illinois state guidelines so that your prenuptial agreement is not set aside by the court in the future.

What Should Be Included in an Illinois Prenuptial Agreement

Prenuptial agreements most often address the following issues:

  • What property each spouse will own if the couple divorces;
  • Provisions regarding alimony (called spousal maintenance in Illinois) in the event of a divorce, including the amount to be paid and duration of payments;
  • Each party’s right to sell, use, or dispose of property;
  • Provisions regarding the execution of wills, trusts, or other estate planning instruments;
  • Each party’s rights regarding the other spouse’s life insurance policy upon their death; and
  • Other relevant financial concerns.

What Cannot Be Included in an Illinois Prenup

There are certain issues which a prenuptial agreement cannot address. Couples cannot include provisions relating to issues of child custody, visitation, or parental responsibility. Because access to financial support from both parents is considered the right of a child, a prenup also cannot address how much child support a parent will pay in the event of a divorce.

Furthermore, a prenuptial agreement cannot include unreasonable terms, often called unconscionable provisions, which are irrational or unfair. A prenuptial agreement which assigns one spouse all the property and the other spouse all the debt, for example, would not be allowed in most cases. Lifestyle clauses are also usually not permitted. For example, a prenuptial agreement could not contain directions about a spouse’s weight gain.

Problems Which Make Prenuptial Agreements Unenforceable

In Illinois, directions regarding the enforcement of prenuptial agreements are contained in the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (UPAA). The UPAA requires all prenuptial agreements to be in writing and signed by both spouses. A prenup can be invalidated if a party was incapacitated by drugs or alcohol at the time of agreeing to the contract. A prenuptial agreement can also be thrown out if one spouse was coerced into signing it or was not given the chance to actually read the document before signing it. If it is discovered that the prenuptial agreement contains fraudulent information or does not include pertinent financial information, it may not be legally enforceable.

Contact a Rolling Meadows Family Law Attorney

For help with drafting a prenuptial agreement, contact a knowledgeable Arlington Heights prenuptial agreement lawyer from Cosley Law Office. Call 847-253-3100 to schedule your free initial consultation today.



Posted in Illinois Family Law Attorney, Prenuptial Agreements | Tagged , , , ,

marital property, Rolling Meadows divorce attorneysOne of the most contentious issues during many divorces is the division of marital assets. In Illinois, marital property and debt is divided though a method called equitable distribution. Some states simply split the marital estate in half during divorce, but Illinois takes a more fine-tuned approach. Illinois courts will consider many factors when determining how property will be divided during divorce including each spouse’s financial circumstances, employability, health, and more. Before the marital estate can be divided, however, courts must determine what property is marital and subject to division and what property is separate property not subject to division.

Marital Property is Property Acquired During the Marriage

According to equitable distribution laws, only shared property or marital property is divided during a divorce. Separate property is not divided and is instead assigned to the owner of that property. Determining which property is marital and which is separate can become quite complex.

Generally, any funds or assets which either spouse acquired during the course of the marriage is considered marital property. For example, wages that a spouse earned while married, items which were purchased during the marriage, and debt which accumulated while the couple were married are typically considered marital property. However, certain gifts and inheritances do not count as marital property – even if a spouse acquired them during the marriage.

Separate Property is Property Acquired Before the Marriage

Separate property generally includes property or funds which a person already owned at the time of marriage. Separate property also includes purchases made with separate funds, as well as any income generated from separate property. However, if the other spouse’s personal efforts helped generate the income, the other spouse may be entitled to part of this income.

For example, if a husband owns a rental property before getting married, the house is likely separate property. However, if his wife helps with maintaining the property and finding suitable renters, she may be entitled to some of the income that rental property generates. Another way that separate property can be transmuted into marital property is through comingling. If separate funds are used to purchase the family home for example, those funds will likely lose their separate property status and will be considered marital property for the purposes of property division during divorce.

Contact a Schaumburg, Illinois Property Division Attorney

For help with your Illinois divorce, contact a knowledgeable Rolling Meadows divorce lawyer at the Cosley Law Office. Call us at 847-253-3100 today to schedule your free initial consultation.



Posted in Division of Property, Divorce | Tagged , , , , ,

parenting agreement, Arlington Heights family law attorneyMany parents who get divorced choose to co-parent their child. If you plan on sharing custody—formally called the allocation of parental responsibilities—with your child’s other parent, you will be required to create a parenting agreement. This agreement is used by the courts as a way of establishing how parental responsibility of a child is shared between two unmarried parents.

There are certain elements of the parenting agreement which you must include, but you are free to include as much additional information as you want. A parenting agreement can become more than just another piece of paperwork which you must fill out; it can form the foundation of a healthy, productive, and cooperative co-parenting relationship.

What Must Be Included in an Illinois Parenting Agreement

Certain information is required to be entered into an Illinois parenting agreement. These items include but are not limited to:

  • The child’s residential address for school enrollment purposes;
  •  Transportation arrangements;
  • The residential address, employment address, phone number, and employment phone number of each parent;
  • Directions for how parental responsibility and parenting time will be allocated;
  • A determination of who the primary custodian, or parent with the majority of parental responsibility, will be;
  • Directions about decision-making regarding the child’s upbringing;
  • When and how the parent without parenting time will communicate with the child;
  • Provisions regarding each parent’s right to access the child’s medical records, school reports, and other important records;
  • The obligation of each parent obligation to notify the other of any emergencies, health care concerns, travel plans, and other important information about the child;
  • The obligation for a parent to give 60 days’ written notice if he or she moves addresses;
  • Whether the right of first refusal applies and details about how it will be exercised.

How You Can Maximize the Benefits of a Parenting Agreement

Instead of simply filling out the parenting agreement like you would any other document, make the parenting agreement an opportunity to discuss your co-parenting plans with your child’s other parent. Include discussions about how you plan to raise the child, any religious or cultural events you want the child to attend, and the rules you want the child to abide by.

Children have a much easier time adjusting to a two-house family when there is a certain level of consistency between the two houses. You can even use this opportunity to discuss possible future concerns such as how and when to introduce a new dating partner to the child. While only certain elements of your agreement will be legally binding, putting these agreements in writing will encourage both parents to follow through with the promises they made.

Contact a Rolling Meadows Family Law Attorney

If you need legal assistance with issues related to parental responsibilities, child support, or other family law matters, contact an experienced Arlington Heights family law attorney from Cosley Law Office. Call us today at 847-253-3100 to schedule a free consultation



Posted in Family Law, Parental Responsibilities, Parenting Time | Tagged , , , , ,