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St. Charles family lawyerNo one likes to imagine the worst-case scenario, but in some cases, it can be helpful. When a couple gets married, they can choose to plan ahead in case the relationship deteriorates and ultimately ends in divorce. A prenuptial agreement (prenup) is a legally binding document that outlines how various marital issues will be handled should a couple decide to terminate their marriage. In order to be valid, the terms must be put in writing and signed by both spouses. It states who gets the rights to what property in case a legal separation or divorce were to occur. Previously thought to be appropriate only for those with significant assets or in second marriages, prenups have gained popularity in the past few years. However, it is important to understand what elements a prenup can include and factors that could make it invalid.  

What Issues Does a Prenup Address?

A premarital agreement can include several issues and it can be modified at any point during the marriage if a couple so chooses. Any amendment to it must also be in writing and signed by both parties. Spouses can revoke the prenup entirely, but both of them have to agree to cancel it by stating their intentions in writing and signing it.

Here are a few of the typical terms that are in a prenuptial agreement: 

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Kane County family law attorneySome people have a tendency to become addicted to certain substances or activities. This can include alcohol, drugs, gambling, or pornography. Addictions to these things can often lead to the demise of a marriage. In many cases, controlled substances can change the addicted spouse’s personality and make him or her physically and emotionally abusive to his or her partner or child. In other situations, a spouse may dissipate assets to sustain his or her gambling problem. If you are considering filing for divorce and your spouse has an addiction, it is important to take certain precautions in order to protect your best interests as well as your child’s during the proceedings. 

Preparation Is Key

Deciding to legally end your marriage takes courage, but it also requires careful planning if your spouse has an addiction. Preparation is key to make the process as smooth as possible, even if your spouse tries to contest the divorce. Here are a few ways to mitigate the stress of divorcing an addict: 

  1. File for an order of protection if you feel like you or your child is in immediate danger. 
  2. Save text, voice, or email messages that show your spouse’s harmful behaviors.
  3. Take photos of any damaged property caused by alcohol- or drug-induced incidents. 
  4. Change your passwords for email, social media, phone accounts. 
  5. Remove your spouse from your joint credit card, bank, or retirement accounts.
  6. Move valuable items such as jewelry or family heirlooms to a safety deposit box.
  7. Confide in people you trust or a therapist. 

If a court decides that it is not in your child’s best interest to spend time with his or her other parent, you will probably be allocated the majority of the parental responsibilities. This may also mean that you receive the marital home as part of the property division to maintain some sense of stability for your child.

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St. Charles Certified Financial LitigatiorRecently adding to his American, Illinois State, and Kane County Bar Association memberships, Attorney Timothy Weiler of Weiler & Lengle P.C. now also holds the title of Certified Financial Litigator (CFL), which further enhances his existing litigation skills in the family law arena. He is the 7th attorney in the state of Illinois to become AACFL certified. As a CFL, he is able to assist clients with greater depth and understanding of the financial issues that so often complicate family law and divorce cases. 

What exactly is a Certified Financial Litigator? A CFL is a law professional who has been granted a financial education certification by the American Academy for Certified Financial Litigators (AACFL), an exclusive recognition granted only to select practitioners who have completed the highest level of financial litigation training and have successfully passed the AACFL’s official examination. The certification demonstrates an attorney’s competence in various financial aspects of litigation, including: 

  • Accounting
  • Taxation
  • Investments
  • Valuation (appraisal or estimation of an item’s worth)
  • Compensation
  • Forensics (litigation involving complex financial accounting)

The Benefits of Working With a CFL

CFLs are valuable in many family law and divorce cases, particularly when money has proven to be a contentious issue. For example, for many couples, signs of divorce due to financial matters emerge as early as during the marriage planning process. Experts say this grim reality can start with a couple’s vision of the wedding budget from day one, which often sets a precedent for the tone and financial dynamic between spouses for the remainder of their union. One spouse may be open and willing to spend a significantly larger amount on the wedding expenses, while the other prefers to save a large portion and put it toward a down payment on a new condo instead. Experts stress that when couples do not talk about money management early on and have very different financial priorities and goals, divorce is very real possibility down the road. Chances are, if money was a problem throughout the marriage, it will likely be a source of conflict during the divorce process.

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St. Charles family law attorneysA postnuptial agreement, or postnup, is a legally binding contract that can be executed after a couple finalizes their marriage. Similar to a prenuptial agreement, a postnup can help two individuals identify marital and non-marital assets following a divorce. Although the introduction of this topic might upset a spouse, a legally binding document may be beneficial for both parties. If a dissolution of marriage were to take place, having an agreement in place could expedite the process and better prepare each individual for the future. 

Why Should I Establish a Postnuptial Agreement?

When the thought of a postnuptial agreement goes through an individual's head, a preconceived notion of a failed marriage can quickly resonate. Although it may be simple to make that connection, it is oftentimes not true. Before a marriage is enacted or if situations start to change, the idea of planning for your future could be favorable for both members. 

A postnuptial agreement may be beneficial if:

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Kane County divorce mediation lawyersChoosing to end a marriage is a difficult decision by itself, so going through the divorce process should be as stress-free as possible. It is always best for a couple to agree to the terms of the divorce on their own, but if the two people cannot discuss things without arguing, then a mediation session is the next best thing.

When going through the court system, the couple getting the divorce have less control over the splitting of assets, allocation of parental responsibilities, and business control because the court will make the decisions. In mediation, the couple is in control so long as they can find a resolution that both can agree on and be happy to accept.

What Is Mediation?

The state of Illinois utilizes the Uniform Mediation Act which says that “mediation” is a discussion between both parties involved in a divorce—or other legal case—and a third-party, unbiased person who is called a “mediator.” This person’s job is to make sure a couple remain civil during the discussion of all aspects of a divorce. 

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