233 W. Wilson Street, Batavia, IL, 60510
Parentage Not Presumed for Fathers in Same-Sex DivorceThe same divorce laws apply to same-sex spouses in Illinois as they do to any other married couples. There is the same presumption of the equitable distribution of marital properties and allocation of parental responsibilities. The average same-sex divorce may be slightly different from the average heterosexual divorce because the recency of the same-sex marriage law makes it unlikely that they will be divorcing after a long-duration marriage. Divorcing same-sex spouses are more likely to have unique complications with establishing legal parentage of their children, which can impair one of the spouse’s parental rights.

Establishing Parenthood

The Illinois Parentage Act of 2015 defines four ways that someone is legally presumed to be the parent of a child if they did not give birth to the child:

  • The person is married to the mother at the time of birth, excluding surrogacies;
  • The child was born within 300 days after the mother and person were divorced;
  • The person and the mother were married at the time of birth, but the marriage was later ruled invalid; or
  • The mother marries the person after the child’s birth, and the new spouse agrees to be the parent.

The law establishes a clear path to legal parentage as long as the biological mother is one of the spouses. This works for two married women when one of them uses artificial insemination to have a child. However, two married men do not have the same presumptive parenting rights when one of them uses a surrogate in order to be the biological father.

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Valuing and Dividing a Business in DivorceMarital property in a divorce includes anything that either spouse has bought or contributed marital assets to during their marriage. For business owners, this means that their business is likely included in the division of property, even if they started or purchased the business before their marriage. As with any property, you and your spouse can claim an equal share of the business. However, a business is different from other properties in how you will assess its value and divide it.

Dividing a Business

There are three ways that you can divide your business during a divorce:

  1. One of You Retains Ownership: If only one of you is involved in running the business, the most sensible option may be to give complete ownership to that person. However, the person who receives ownership will need to compensate the other spouse with marital properties of similar value. You are essentially buying out your spouse as an owner.
  2. Both of You Own the Business: Co-owning a business means you will remain financially connected to your former spouse, but you do not necessarily have to work together. One of you can be in charge of operating the business or have a larger ownership share. Even if you are not involved in the business, you may want to maintain an ownership interest in the business if you believe you can profit from it.
  3. You Sell the Business: In certain situations, it may make sense to sell the business and split the money you receive with your spouse. You may be planning to retire or want to pursue another business venture. However, the sale process can delay a divorce as you wait for a buyer and make sure you receive fair value.

Business Valuation

No matter how you decide to divide your business, you will need to assess its value. A business’s value is measured by its:

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How a Parenting Plan Can Combat ConflictNo one can force you to like your co-parent after a divorce, but you need some civility between each other for the sake of your children. Co-parents with a high-conflict relationship struggle to communicate about their children’s needs. Open hostilities and silent tension will upset your children. Your parenting agreement can limit the number of contentious situations that you are placed in. High-conflict co-parents need structure and formal interaction that leaves little room for emotion. A parenting plan can create structure.

Communication

Co-parents need to communicate with each other about their children so there is some consistency in their parenting. You cannot expect your child to be your messenger and tell your co-parent everything he or she needs to know. Your problem is that conversations with your co-parent often escalate into arguments. Your parenting agreement can set communication guidelines for:

  • When you will contact each other;
  • Your means of communication; and
  • What you should talk about.

Scheduling a weekly phone call will make your conversation feel more formal and business-like. Keeping your conversation focused on your children and their needs will decrease the chances of an argument. Your agreement can also define what an emergency situation would be that would require one of you to contact the other outside of your scheduled conversations.

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The Financial Complexities of Gray DivorcePeople 50 and older are the only age group in the U.S. for whom the divorce rate has increased in recent years. Divorce researchers use the term “gray divorce” to categorize older couples who divorce after decades of marriage. There are several theories for why a couple may divorce at this stage in their lives:

  • Empty nesters and retirees no longer have children or careers to distract them from their relationship;
  • The couple may have married because it was expected rather than because they were compatible;
  • A midlife crisis can make people anxious to create a more satisfying life while they can still enjoy it; and
  • People can change after decades of marriage.

Whatever the reason is for ending the marriage, gray divorce can be complicated for everyone involved.

Division of Property

Spouses who have been married for decades will have accumulated numerous marital properties that they must divide in the divorce. They are also more likely to have high-value assets that they were able to purchase after years of saving money. Retirement plans have unique importance during a gray divorce. Each spouse will soon be relying on his or her retirement benefits, which have had time to accrue great value. In most cases, either the whole retirement plan is marital property or the amount that it increased in value since the spouses were married. Spouses must determine how much of the retirement money that they want to protect and what they would give up in exchange.

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Four Ways to Save Time on Your DivorceTime is the variable that is most likely to drive up the cost of your divorce. Having extended negotiations and attending multiple court hearings will increase your legal and court costs. The advantage of creating a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement is that you have already decided how you will divide properties and whether one of you will pay spousal maintenance. If you are entering a divorce without an agreement, there are still ways that you can save time and cost on your divorce:

  1. Start Prepared: Identifying and valuing your marital properties is a time-consuming part of your divorce. Your divorce attorney can investigate this for you, but you can speed up the process by giving him or her a list of marital properties and documents related to their value. This saves your attorney from having to file requests for this information.
  2. Settle What You Can Out of Court: You can minimize your appearances in court by negotiating your divorce agreement in advance. You present the court with a complete divorce settlement, which the court can review and approve. When you cannot reach an agreement on your own, the court must decide on the issues for you. This process takes longer because you each may want to present your argument and the court may need time to reach a solution.
  3. Be Willing to Cooperate During Negotiations: Divorce negotiations are most effective when both sides are reasonable. You must try to separate your feelings towards your spouse from your negotiations. You are past the point of blaming each other for the divorce and must work together to figure out how you will divide your properties and responsibilities. You are ultimately hurting yourself if you approach your negotiations as a chance to punish your spouse.
  4. Set Your Priorities: You will disagree with your spouse about some issues during your divorce negotiations, but there are other issues that you should be able to quickly agree on. Save your arguments for the issues that are most important to you, such as keeping a certain property or receiving an appropriate share of the parenting time. Do not prolong the negotiations by getting into unnecessary arguments.

Contact a Kane County Divorce Attorney

During divorce negotiations, you must balance being cooperative with protecting your interests. You should not accept unfavorable terms in your divorce agreement because you want to quickly finish the negotiations. A Batavia, Illinois, divorce attorney at Van Larson Law, P.C., can help you create a beneficial divorce agreement in a reasonable amount of time. Schedule a consultation by calling 630-879-9090.

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