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Cook County legal separation lawyerWhen a married couple knows their relationship is on its way out, divorce often seems like the only logical option. Legal separation is another type of separation you can file in court to recognize that you will now be living apart, but it does not have quite the same final effect as a divorce.

Legal separation can be particularly helpful for married couples who have important health insurance benefits dependent upon the couple remaining married. It can also benefit people who may belong to a religion forbidding divorce or who are just not sure whether divorce is quite right yet.

Divorce Issues During Legal Separation

A person begins a legal separation by submitting a petition establishing that they are living separate and apart from their spouse and supplying information similar to a dissolution of marriage petition. The person will be required to file for legal separation in the county where either their spouse resides, they both resided as husband and wife, or if a spouse cannot be located in Illinois, the county in which the person petitioning for legal separation resides.

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Chicago postnuptial agreement lawyerYou may be familiar with prenuptial agreements and their role in keeping assets separate as a couple enters marriage. Less well-known is the postnuptial agreement. Like a prenup, it can be an excellent way to protect individual assets, including property, life insurance considerations, and financial responsibilities. For a postnuptial agreement to be enforceable, it should be something that both spouses agree on. Working with a family law attorney before entering into any postnuptial agreement is also recommended.

What Are the Benefits of a Postnuptial Agreement?

A postnuptial agreement can:

  • Protect significant individual wealth - For partners who brought considerable wealth into a marriage, such as a business, real estate property, or retirement savings, those assets can be kept separate from the marital estate in the postnuptial agreement. A postnuptial agreement may also be a smart move for you and your spouse if one of you has recently experienced a significant financial change, including a large inheritance or gift, or has recently acquired valuable property.
  • Protect a spouse from the risks of the other spouse’s business venture - If one spouse starts a new business during the marriage, they may want to insulate their marriage assets from any debt the new business occurs. If the company were to fail, the agreement could protect the marital assets of the couple from being put at risk.
  • Safeguard assets if you are considering divorce - For couples who are having marital difficulties but who have not yet begun the divorce process, a postnuptial agreement can be used to safeguard certain assets that were brought into the marriage by each individual. However, you cannot make arrangements for child custody or child support in the agreement. Those decisions can only be made during the legal divorce proceedings.

How Is a Postnuptial Agreement Used in an Illinois Divorce?

If your marriage does end in a divorce, the judge will use a postnuptial agreement as the basis for property division as long as it is fair and both parties entered into the agreement in good faith. Since Illinois is an equitable distribution state, marital assets and property will be divided fairly, not evenly, between the spouses. Therefore, any prenuptial or postnuptial agreement will set a framework for the judge’s decision, but the final division of property is up to their discretion.

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Park Ridge paternity lawyerBeing a parent comes with its own array of practical, financial, and sometimes, legal difficulties. If you are a mother or father in Cook County, you may have questions and concerns about paternity. Paternity is the legal relationship between a father and his child. In some cases, paternity is presumed by law and no further action is required to establish the legal father-child relationship. Other times, the parents will need to take certain actions to establish the rights and responsibilities that come with being a father.

You May Need to Take Action to Establish Paternity

If the mother and father were married when the child was conceived and/or born, paternity is presumed. This means that Illinois automatically assumes that the mother’s husband is the father of her baby. However, if the parents are unmarried, paternity may need to be established through a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP). Paternity can also be established through a court order or administrative order through the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS). Sometimes, DNA paternity testing is needed to confirm the father’s biological relationship to the child.

You May Not Be Able to Get Child Support Until You Establish Paternity

Raising a child is expensive. Illinois expects both parents to contribute to a child’s financial needs even if the parents are unmarried or divorced. If you are a parent who is not currently receiving child support but you want to get an official child support order, you will need to make sure paternity is established. Once paternity is established through one of the means listed above, you can petition the court for child support. Child support is calculated based on both parents’ net incomes.

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Des Plaines Child Visitation LawyerIf you are a grandparent, you know just how special the grandchild-grandparent relationship can be. Unfortunately, sometimes, grandparents are not able to have a close relationship with their grandchildren because of conflicts with their own children. If you want your grandchild to be a bigger part of your life, you may have questions about your rights as a grandparent. Can grandparents be prohibited from seeing their grandchildren? Do grandparents have a right to visitation? Read on to learn more.

Illinois Law Regarding Grandparent Visitation

You may be able to get court-ordered visitation with the kids. To do so, you will need to file a petition with the court for grandparent visitation. The court will consider your request if:

  • The parents are divorced and at least one of the parents agrees to grandparent visitation

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Cook County Family Law AttorneyChildren need adults to keep them safe and help them grow up to be happy and healthy. Typically, a child’s parents are the primary caregivers in a child’s life. However, modern families come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes a child’s grandparent, stepparent, aunt, uncle, or another responsible adult takes on the primary caregiver role. Legal guardianship allows a person other than a child’s parent to assume responsibility for child-related decisions and caretaking.

What Is A Guardian of a Minor Child?

As a non-parent, you may occasionally babysit a child, help make decisions about the child’s education, or assume roles typically assigned to parents. However, being an informal caretaker and a legal guardian are very different things. When you become a child’s legal guardian, you assume certain legal rights and responsibilities not expected of non-guardians.

There are several different types of guardianship in Illinois. If you are the “guardian of the person,” you assume responsibility for major decisions in the child’s life, including where he or she will go to school or what types of medical care the child will receive. “Guardian of the estate” allows you to manage the child’s financial assets. Sometimes, one person will act as both the guardian of the person and guardian of the estate.

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