Kane County family law attorney prenuptial agreementIf you are like most people, you may assume that “typical” marriages do not require a prenuptial agreement. You may even think that premarital agreements are only used by the extremely wealthy. However, prenuptial agreements and other marital agreements can be powerful legal tools. Through a prenuptial agreement, you and your soon-to-be-spouse can define your property rights and responsibilities and start your marriage with a frank and honest discussion about financial concerns.

Differentiate Between Marital and Separate Property

When a couple marries, they combine many of their assets and debts. Assets and debts obtained by either spouse during the marriage are considered marital property. Assets and debts obtained before the wedding and certain gifts as well as inheritances are separate property and not subject to division during divorce. Through a prenuptial agreement, you and your spouse can decide which assets and debts are marital and which are owned by only one of the spouses. This is beneficial in the event of divorce and can also help spouses with estate planning concerns when a spouse passes away.

Determine a Spousal Maintenance Arrangement

Spousal maintenance, referred to as alimony, is financial support one spouse pays to the other upon divorce. Either spouse may petition the court for spousal maintenance during divorce, but Illinois courts typically award alimony to spouses when a spouse is placed in a financial disadvantage by divorce. The amount and duration of spousal maintenance payments are usually determined via statutory formula, but this is not always the case. If you want to have more control over spousal maintenance in the event that your marriage ends in divorce, you can determine a maintenance arrangement now and write it into your prenuptial agreement. The court will uphold your agreement unless there are major issues with the maintenance provisions that make them invalid.

Discuss Financial Matters Before Getting Married

Illinois prenuptial agreements can address alimony payments, the division of assets and debts upon death or divorce, life insurance, estate planning concerns, and other important financial issues. If you ask married couples what they argue about the most, finances are often one of the top answers. By creating your prenuptial agreement, you force you and your soon-to-be-spouse to have a straightforward, transparent discussion about income, property, debts, expenses, and your overall financial future before getting married. This may help you avoid money-related disagreements and problems during your marriage.

Contact a Kane County Divorce Lawyer

A prenuptial agreement allows you and your future spouse to agree on important financial matters in advance and put it in writing. To learn more about premarital agreements in Illinois or to get started in drafting this important legal document, contact a reputable Batavia family law attorney from Van Larson Law, P.C. Call us today at 630-879-9090 to schedule your free consultation.




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Kane County divorce attorneyIf you have ever watched a television show or movie depicting divorce, you may have seen dramatic courtroom scenes depicting divorce lawyers arguing facts in front of a judge. However, the vast majority of divorce cases are settled outside of court. If you are planning to divorce, you may be unsure of what to expect. Educating yourself about the divorce process and speaking with a skilled divorce attorney are two important ways to ensure that you are as prepared for your impending divorce as possible.

Issues that Must Be Addressed in an Illinois Divorce

Undoing the legal marital relationship is often more complicated than people realize. Before the divorce is finalized, the couple must reach an agreement about the terms of their divorce. They will need to determine how to divide marital property and debt, what to do with the marital home, and figure out the ownership of vehicles, furniture, and other personal property. If the couple has children, they will need to fill out and submit a “parenting plan” describing the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time. In addition, Spousal maintenance (alimony) is another issue that may need to be decided on. If the couple can reach an agreement about the terms of their divorce, they may design their own divorce settlement and present it to the court for approval. Once the court approves the settlement, it is formalized into a legally binding court order.

When a Divorcing Couple Cannot Reach an Agreement

Divorcing couples who are unable to agree on property division, child custody, spousal maintenance, and other divorce issues have several options. Many couples are able to negotiate a settlement with help from their attorneys. Others attend family law mediation and discuss the unresolved divorce issues with guidance from a certified divorce mediator. However, there are some cases in which litigation cannot be avoided. Your divorce case may go to trial if you and your spouse are unable to reach an agreement about one or more divorce issues. Litigation may also be necessary if one of the spouses refuses to be honest and forthcoming about his or her income, assets, business revenue, or other financial matters. Issues such as domestic violence, substance abuse, and child abuse may also prevent the spouses from being able to reach a resolution outside of court.

Contact a Batavia, IL Divorce Attorney

The talented Kane County divorce lawyers at Van Larson Law, P.C. are equipped to help clients with issues related to asset and debt division, child custody, alimony, domestic violence, child support, and much more. Our skilled legal team can help you negotiate the terms of your divorce and work on finding a solution on which you and your spouse can agree. If an agreement cannot be reached, we are prepared to zealously represent you in court during divorce litigation. Call us today at 630-879-9090 to schedule a free, confidential consultation to learn more.



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Kane County divorce attorney spousal maintenanceIf you are considering divorce, you may have questions about alimony. Typically called spousal support or spousal maintenance under Illinois law, alimony is only ordered in certain situations. If you and your spouse agreed to spousal maintenance in your prenuptial agreement or another marital agreement, the court will most likely uphold this agreement. However, if there is a question as to the prenuptial agreement’s validity or enforceability, the spousal maintenance agreement may not be legally binding. In the absence of a valid marital agreement, spousal maintenance is awarded on a case-by-case basis.

Financial Support for Divorcing Spouses

Spousal maintenance is usually awarded by Illinois courts when there is a significant difference in the spouses’ financial situations. You may be entitled to spousal maintenance if you sacrificed employment advancement or educational opportunities for the betterment of the marriage or family. You and your spouse have the opportunity to negotiate your own arrangement for spousal maintenance; however, if you cannot reach an agreement, the court will make a decision for you.

When determining whether to award spousal maintenance to a spouse, Illinois courts consider:

  • Each spouse’s current financial circumstances and earning capacity

  • Any impairment to a spouse’s income-earning ability caused by time spent as a homemaker or parent

  • The duration of the marriage

  • The standard of living the spouses’ experienced during the marriage

  • Contributions that a spouse made to the other spouse’s education or career

  • The age and health of the spouses

Amount and Duration of Spousal Support in Illinois

If the court determines that spousal maintenance is appropriate, the amount and duration of alimony payments is typically determined by statutory formula. Illinois law states that maintenance payments are calculated by taking 33.33 percent of the payor spouse’s net income and subtracting 25 percent of the recipient’s net income. Maintenance payments are capped at 40 percent of the spouses’ combined net incomes. The duration of payments is largely based on the length of the marriage. The longer the spouses were married, the longer the recipient may be entitled to maintenance. The payor spouse is relieved of his or her maintenance obligation if the recipient remarries or passes away. The payor may petition the court to terminate the maintenance payments if the recipient spouse begins living with a romantic partner.

Contact a Batavia, IL Spousal Maintenance Lawyer

If you are considering divorce and you want to learn more about spousal maintenance, contact Van Larson Law, P.C. Kane County family law attorney Van A. Larson has more than 39 years of legal experience and is highly qualified to represent and advise clients on a wide range of family law issues. Call our office today at 630-879-9090 to schedule a free initial consultation.




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Kane County divorce attorney order of protectionEnding a marriage is difficult in any circumstance. However, ending a relationship with someone who has physically, emotionally, mentally, or financially abused you may seem impossible. If you have been a victim of domestic violence at the hands of your spouse, you should know that there are legal protections available to you during your divorce. An Emergency Order of Protection is similar to a restraining order and may offer you, your children, and even your pets the legal protection you need when leaving an abusive spouse.

Domestic Violence Often Escalates When a Victim Tries to Leave

Most abusive relationships follow a similar pattern. At the beginning of the relationship, the abuser is generous and kind. However, as the relationship progresses, he or she becomes more demanding and controlling. This control often evolves into physical violence or psychological manipulation. Many abusers become enraged when their victim tries to end the relationship or leave their shared home. In fact, The National Domestic Violence Hotline reports that 75 percent of injuries caused by domestic violence occur when a victim tries to leave the relationship. If you are thinking about leaving your abusive spouse, having a plan in place to protect yourself is crucial.

Obtaining an Emergency Order of Protection

In Illinois, an Emergency Order of Protection may be granted on an “ex parte” basis. This means that the subject of the protection order, or “respondent,” does not need to be present or even aware of the protection order for a judge to grant it. An Emergency Order of Protection (EOP) is a legal court order that prohibits an abusive person from threatening, harassing, or abusing the person who requested the order, or “petitioner.” An EOP may prevent the respondent from coming within a certain distance of the petitioner, his or her children, or his or her home, work, or school. An EOP may also require the respondent to surrender any firearms or move out of the marital home. If the respondent violates any of the terms of the EOP, he or she faces immediate arrest and criminal charges. If you are afraid that your spouse will become violent when you tell him or her that you want a divorce, an EOP can provide legal protection against retaliation. An EOP is also an important step in creating a record of your spouse’s abusive or threatening behaviors. The EOP or any violations of the EOP may be valuable sources of evidence during child custody decisions and other aspects of the divorce process.

Contact a Batavia, IL Divorce Lawyer

If you are planning to divorce and your spouse has been manipulative, threatening, controlling, or abusive in the past, it may be intimidating to file. A divorce lawyer can help ensure that your safety and your rights are fully protected during your divorce. Contact a qualified and compassionate Kane County divorce attorney from Van Larson Law, P.C. to learn more. Call our office today at 630-879-9090 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.



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How Can I Change My Child Support Order?  Child support payments allow divorced or unmarried parents to effectively split the costs associated with raising children. In Illinois, the amount a parent pays in child support is largely based on the difference between the parents’ net incomes. When there is a significant change in a parent’s financial circumstances, the needs of the child, or in the way the parents divide parenting time, a child support order modification may be necessary. However, changing your child support order is not always as simple as it may seem.

Calculating Child Support Payments in Illinois

Illinois child support orders are determined using the Income Shares method. First, the parents’ individual net incomes are added together to find the combined net income. The combined net income is then compared to a chart created by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services to find the “basic child support obligation.” This figure represents the total financial support for which both parents are responsible. The basic child support obligation is allocated to the parents based on their respective shares of the combined net income. In shared parenting situations, meaning each parent has at least 146 overnights with the child each year, the amount the obligor parent pays in child support is reduced by his or her allotment of parenting time.

Do I Qualify for a Child Support Modification?

Illinois courts do not grant child support modifications for just any reason. You will need to show evidence that the modification is warranted. Illinois law states that a child support order may be eligible for modification if:

  • There is a “substantial change in circumstances”
  • A modification is needed to provide for the child’s healthcare needs
  • The child support obligation significantly deviates from the statutory guidelines

A major increase or decrease in the financial resources of either parent is the most common reason parents request a child support modification. Often, an obligor parent requests a reduced child support payment amount because he or she has lost his or her job or experienced a major reduction in income. However, in order for a parent’s job loss or reduced income to qualify him or her for a reduced child support obligation, the change must have been made in good faith. A parent cannot simply quit his or her job or voluntarily take a lower-paying job and expect to pay less in child support. A significant change in the allocation of parental responsibilities may also justify a child support modification, such as if the parenting time is adjusted to make it a shared parenting arrangement.

Contact a Kane County Child Support Lawyer

If you need to change your child support order, establish child support for the first time, or enforce an existing child support order, Batavia family law attorney Van A. Larson can help. Call the Law Office of Van A. Larson, P.C., at 630-879-9090 today and schedule a free, confidential consultation.



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