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Kane County family law attorneyIf you are preparing to get married to someone who has children from a prior relationship, it is important to understand what may be in store for your future, especially if you do not have children of your own. While you may have taken on certain responsibilities and been accepted as part of the family while you and your partner dated, marriage is a very serious step. When you say, “I do,” you will become a stepparent, and, from that day on, you will have a very real impact on the lives of your spouse’s children.

A Package Deal

It may seem obvious, but many new stepparents seem to downplay or outright ignore the role that a child plays in his or her parent’s life. It is easy to get caught up in the euphoria a new romantic relationship with your partner and to only think about the children on occasion. You must remember that, no matter how much you love your partner, you are not just marrying him or her. For better or worse, you are also marrying into a pre-existing family unit. If you are not prepared for this reality, the new family dynamic could quickly spiral out of control. This means that you may not get as much one-on-one alone time with your partner as you would like, at least while the child is fairly young. Instead, you are likely to have a wider variety of family experiences

Kane County family law attorneyWhen you are embroiled in a difficult divorce, it can be nearly impossible to work cooperatively with your soon-to-be ex-spouse. Every aspect of the proceedings may seem like a fight with almost zero chance of reaching a negotiated resolution. While fighting over money and marital property is certainly bad enough, the problems get even worse when there are children involved. That is why the law in Illinois provides the court with the authority to appoint an attorney specifically to protect a child’s best interest in any matter related to parental responsibilities (child custody), parenting time, non-parental visitation, child support, or any other child-related legal proceeding.

Protecting the Child’s Best Interests

The court may appoint an attorney to serve in one of three roles: an attorney for the child, a child representative, or a guardian ad litem. Of these, the child representative and the guardian ad litem are the most commonly used and the guardian ad litem is usually the most appropriate for younger children.

Geneva family law attorneyThe American Institute of Family Law Attorneys has recognized the exceptional performance of Illinois’s Family Law Attorney Douglas B. Warlick, Esq. as 2016 10 Best Family Law Attorney for Client Satisfaction. 

The American Institute of Family Law Attorneys is a third-party attorney rating organization that publishes an annual list of the Top 10 Family Law Attorneys in each state. Attorneys who are selected to the "10 Best" list must pass AIOFLA's rigorous selection process, which is based on client and/or peer nominations, thorough research, and AIOFLA’s independent evaluation.  AIOFLA's annual list was created to be used as a resource for clients during the attorney selection process. 

One of the most significant aspects of the selection process involves attorneys' relationships and reputation among his or her clients. As clients should be an attorney's top priority, AIOFLA places the utmost emphasis on selecting lawyers who have achieved significant success in the field of Family Law without sacrificing the service and support they provide. Selection criteria therefore focus on attorneys who demonstrate the highest standards of Client Satisfaction.

Before entering marriage, some couples choose to establish prenuptial agreements. These agreements are written contracts that set out the terms of possession of assets, treatment of future earnings, control of the property of each, and potential division if the marriage later fails. Prenuptial agreements are generally common amongst couples in which both parties have substantial assets, children from a prior marriage, potential inheritances, or high incomes. While not for everybody, prenuptial agreements do offer some potential benefits that are worth taking a look at.

prenuptial agreementSome of the most basic advantages of prenuptial agreements can include the following:

  • Protecting your separate property;
  • Supporting your estate plan;
  • Defining what property is considered marital or community;
  • Reducing conflicts and save money if you divorce;
  • Clarifying special agreements;
  • Establishing procedure and ground rules for future matters.

In many cases, prenuptial agreements can strengthen relationships. Clear communication about money matters can improve the quality of your marriage and support good communication in general in your relationship. Even just sitting down and discussing money and property, without signing a written agreement, can help to eliminate future disagreements between you and your spouse. At one point or another, you and your future spouse will eventually need to sit down and discuss money; the sooner the better.

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