233 W. Wilson Street, Batavia, IL, 60510

Factors That Can Invalidate a Premarital AgreementPremarital agreements are vitally helpful documents to have in case of divorce. The agreement can settle some of the more contentious aspects of a divorce negotiation, such as the division of property and spousal maintenance payments. However, the document does no good if the divorce court determines that it is invalid. Problems with premarital agreements often originate from mistakes made during their creation. Illinois law states that a premarital agreement is unenforceable in the following instances:

  1. Unofficial Agreement: Both parties must read and sign the premarital agreement in order for it to become official. The parties are not required to have witnesses to the signing or to file the agreement with a government agency. However, there does need to be a formal document outlining the agreement, with proof that both parties understood and agreed to the terms.
  2. Signed Under Duress: One party cannot force or coerce the other into signing an agreement. This includes presenting the agreement shortly before the marriage. One party may feel pressured to sign the agreement without having the chance to properly review the document with his or her own attorney.
  3. Invalid Provisions: A premarital agreement is not allowed to make decisions about the allocation of parental responsibilities or child support. Those issues must be settled during the divorce, adhering to state laws. The agreement also cannot include provisions that are blatantly in violation of state divorce laws.
  4. Deception: A court may invalidate a premarital agreement if it determines that one party was hiding valuable assets in an attempt to gain an unfair advantage in the agreement. There is some responsibility for each party to not overlook premarital assets that they can easily discover. However, a party may be liable when failing to disclose an asset that the other party had no reasonable way of knowing about.
  5. Unconscionability: Even if both parties approved of a premarital agreement, a divorce court may not enforce an agreement that is blatantly unfair to one party. The court may also alter the terms of spousal maintenance if it believes the payment agreement would put undue hardship on one party for reasons that could not have been foreseen when the agreement was created.

Valid Agreements

When creating a premarital agreement, it is important that you and your future spouse each have your own legal representation to review the agreement. An attorney can also look over the agreement at the time of your divorce to determine whether it is valid. A Kane County divorce attorney at Van Larson Law, P.C., can help you with the creation and enforcement of premarital agreements. Schedule a consultation by calling 630-879-9090.

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Five Ways You Can Help Your Divorce AttorneyYou hire an attorney during your divorce in order to handle much of the busy work that comes with the process. An experienced divorce attorney can complete the work in a quicker and more comprehensive manner than you could on your own. However, your attorney still benefits from your help and cooperation during the process. Clients and attorneys are most successful in their divorce cases when they are able to work together. Here are five ways that you can help your divorce attorney obtain the best result for you:

  1. Have a Clear Goal: From the first meeting, you should have a basic idea of what you need from your divorce agreement. Most clients want financial stability and parenting time with their children. However, it helps to determine what your specific priorities are in the divorce so you can focus on those issues. Which properties are most important for you to keep? Are there properties you are willing to give up in exchange? Do you want a majority of the parenting time? These are just a couple of the questions you need to answer before starting negotiations.
  2. Disclose Prior Agreements: You should immediately tell your attorney if you have a pre- or postnuptial agreement with your spouse. The agreement may already determine how your property will be divided and whether one of you will pay spousal maintenance. Your attorney can examine the document to determine whether its terms adhere to Illinois divorce laws.
  3. Share Information: Your attorney can do a lot of the investigative work for your divorce on his or her own. However, you can save your attorney time and yourself money by collecting important information in advance. You can assume that your attorney will need to know your current income, financial savings, and properties, as well as the same information for your spouse.
  4. Be Candid: Your working relationship with your attorney should be based on honest and open communication. Do not hide embarrassing information that your spouse may try to use against you during the divorce. Letting your attorney know in advance will allow him or her to prepare a counterargument.
  5. Ask Before Acting: You should immediately talk to your attorney if you have any questions or doubts during your divorce. Do not make any important legal decisions without consulting your attorney first. Your attorney has a strategy for your divorce, and acting on your own may undermine it.

Working Together

A successful divorce settlement relies on both attorney and client being on the same page with each other. A Kane County divorce attorney at Van Larson Law, P.C., will work with you to achieve your divorce goals. To schedule a consultation, call 630-789-9090.

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Alternatives to Traditional Parenting Time ArrangementsIllinois replaced the term “child custody” with “allocation of parental responsibilities” because parenting after a divorce involves more than who has custody of the children. Each parent has a role in raising and making decisions for their children. Parents must form a parenting plan that defines their individual responsibilities to their children. The parenting schedule is only one part of the plan, but it is probably the most important part. Nothing replaces the value of time spent with a child. Most parents use a traditional schedule that splits parenting time between weekdays and weekends. This is often the most practical and least disruptive schedule for both parents and children. With the more flexible definition of the allocation of parental responsibilities, some parents have created alternative schedules that work best for them. While these alternatives may not be your best options, it is worth knowing that these options exist.

Alternatives to Weekends

Weekends are usually the best time to exchange children because it is when children and parents are most likely to have free time. If parents do not live near each other, weekends may be the only practical time. However, weekday or evening visits may work if:

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Budgeting Changes After Your DivorcePersonal finances after divorce can be a difficult adjustment, especially if you are unfamiliar with handling your own finances. You are individually responsible for budgeting your finances and planning for the future. Making financial decisions as an individual requires different considerations than when you are married. Your divorce settlement can set you up for financial stability after divorce, but you will also need to make several adjustments that reflect your individual status.

Budgeting

Your living expenses will change after your divorce because your individual income must pay for costs that you once shared with your spouse. You may also have new expenses, such as if you are responsible for paying spousal maintenance. Even if you receive monthly maintenance payments, your budget will likely be tighter than when you were married. You may need to reconsider how you budget your expenses, such as whether you:

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A Father's Role After DivorceBetween the two parents, a father is generally in greater danger of seeing his relationship with his children diminish after a divorce. Mothers more often receive a majority of the parenting time during the allocation of parental responsibilities. Because mothers are more likely to be the caretakers during the marriage, courts often choose the mother as the primary parent. However, children’s relationships with their fathers are also important in their happiness and development. Fathers who see their children less often after a divorce must work to remain an active part of their lives:

  1. Advocating for Parenting Time: A father has an equal right to be the primary parent of his children after a divorce if he can prove that living with him is in their best interest. If a court grants the mother primary responsibility over the children, the father can still fight for a greater share of parenting time. A 60-40 division of parenting time would give him an additional day each week with his children as opposed to a 70-30 division.
  2. Taking on New Roles: The father no longer has the mother to rely on when he has his time alone with the children. He is both parents in one and has parental duties that he may be unfamiliar with performing, such as being a caretaker, nurturer, disciplinarian or playmate.
  3. Being a Father Figure: A father can teach his children lessons that the mother cannot. Most importantly, a father defines what a grown man is to his children. Sons learn what kind of man they should be when they grow up. Daughters learn what qualities they should look for in the men they allow into their lives as adults.
  4. Being Present and Available: Fathers should treat their time with their children as more than an obligation to look after them. They should find ways to interact with their children, such as planning fun activities. Fathers can extend their roles when they are not with their children by encouraging electronic communication.
  5. Staying Positive: A father’s time with his children should not involve complaining about the mother or trying to pump the child for information about the mother. The father should instead focus on his relationship with his children and only talk about their mother in as far as how it relates to what is happening in their lives.

Protecting Fatherhood

No one can replicate a biological father’s importance in his children’s lives. A Kane County divorce attorney at Van Larson Law, P.C., can protect your rights as a father during your divorce. Schedule a consultation by calling 630-879-9090.

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