Blog

Posted on in Divorce

geneva famly law attorneyIn Illinois, if you want to get your marriage annulled, you can petition the court for a Declaration of Invalidity. Many people assume they can easily get their marriage annulled. However, it is more difficult to receive an annulment than a divorce, contrary to the commonly held belief that divorce is more difficult to achieve. 

A Declaration of Invalidity of Marraige deems a marriage invalid. Divorce ends a marriage. Annulment, on the other hand, states that a marriage was never valid to begin with. 

To get a marriage annulled in Illinois, there must be proof of impotence, bigamy, or proof that one party was unable to consent at the time of the marriage. This may be due to coercion, force, or the influence of alcohol or drugs. If an individual was underage at the time of marriage commencement, that is also proof of invalidity of marriage. Though these examples may seem simple enough to prove, it is often difficult to provide sufficient evidence. This is demonstrated in the court’s seldom practice of granting Declarations of Invalidity outside of the circumstance in which one spouse was under the age of consent. 

illinois legal separation lawyerIllinois offers two options for spouses who want to split up - divorce or legal separation. Legal separation allows the court to step in and help determine matters like allocation of parenting time and parental responsibilities, or even spousal support. Property division in legal separation can only be handled by a court if both spouses agree to the terms of property division. However, a legal separation does not end the marriage. Spouses who legally separate are still spouses. Divorce is final and allows the court to determine all issues related to the termination of your marriage. There are a number of reasons that spouses may want to separate without fully divorcing. A family law attorney can help you decide which option is better for you, your spouse, and your children. 

Reasons Spouses May Legally Separate Without Divorcing

Some reasons that you and your spouse may wish to get a legal separation instead of a divorce include: 

  • Benefits - Many spouses need to remain married in order to keep benefits like health insurance, pension funds, or social security. Divorcing may mean that one or both of you will lose out on important benefits. Legal separation allows you to live separately without terminating the benefits you rely on. 
  • Possibility of reconciliation - A legal separation is much easier to undo than a divorce. If you get divorced, you would have to remarry. Remarrying an ex-spouse after divorce can be complicated, as each of you now has significant separate property that you were awarded in the divorce. If you legally separate, it is easier to undo the separation, move back in together, and go back to living as a married couple. 
  • Taxes - Some spouses wish to avoid getting divorced so they can continue filing taxes jointly. 
  • Religion - If your religious beliefs or culture does not allow for divorce in normal circumstances, a legal separation may be a good option. It allows you to live independently from your spouse and divide parenting duties without getting divorced. 

Disadvantages of Legal Separation Over Divorce

There are of course, a few downsides of legal separation, such as: 

geneva divorce lawyerEven if you know that getting a prenuptial agreement is always a good idea, figuring out how to bring it up to the person you are about to marry can still be tricky. Talking about a prenuptial agreement may not be the most romantic discussion you have ever had, but it is extremely important for all couples who plan to marry. Contrary to popular belief, signing a prenuptial agreement does not mean that you are preparing for divorce. These contracts can do everything from requiring you both to name each other in your respective estate plans to establishing whose separate property is whose. Prenuptial agreements can be helpful in a variety of circumstances other than divorce. Of course, if you were to get divorced, having a prenuptial agreement can drastically simplify the process. 

3 Tips for Raising the Subject of a Prenuptial Agreement With Your Future Spouse

You might be afraid that if you bring up the idea of a prenuptial agreement, your fiance might think that you are not committed to the marriage. While some people will initially balk at the idea of making a prenup, almost all come around when they hear about the benefits these agreements can provide and why they are used. Some helpful tips for talking about getting a prenuptial agreement with your future spouse include: 

  • Framing the discussion - A lot of people think that couples who get prenuptial agreements are likely to divorce fairly soon. This is far from the truth. You can think of a prenuptial agreement as a contingency document - one that everyone should have - but most will not need. Anyone who has gone under anesthesia for even a simple and routine procedure like wisdom tooth extraction or a colonoscopy has probably been asked to sign a power of attorney or similar documents in advance. Of course, asking patients to complete these documents does not mean that your doctor thinks something is going to go wrong during the procedure. It is just smart to have a plan in place in case something unexpected does happen.
  • Benefits outside of divorce - If your marriage ends only when one of you passes away, your prenuptial agreement can still serve you well. These agreements often contain terms requiring both spouses to create a will or trust to which the other is a primary beneficiary. They can also work to establish separate property for each of you that can be kept safe from another spouse’s creditors. 
  • Illegal terms - There is a limit to the terms a prenuptial agreement can contain. These agreements may not be drastically unfair to one spouse, so neither you nor your fiance should fear that they will be left destitute should the marriage fail. Terms related to child custody are also not allowed. 

The reasons to get a prenuptial agreement far outweigh the reasons to avoid one. Aside from this, couples who can negotiate a prenuptial agreement show good communication and compromise skills, which may predict a successful marriage. 

Posted on in Divorce

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_488289283-1.jpg Divorces can run the gamut from relatively quick and easy when a couple is amicable to long, drawn-out, and contentious when they are not. If you are expecting the former, it can be tempting for you and your spouse to forego attorneys altogether and attempt to accomplish your divorce without help. Going through a divorce unrepresented can put you at a considerable disadvantage, whether you realize it or not. You may not be fully aware of the rights that you have, and a divorce can go from amicable to disastrous in the blink of an eye. Remember that you and your spouse are splitting for a good reason and strongly consider getting legal help from the start, even if you think you could go it alone. 

What Are Some Things that Could Go Wrong if I Get Divorced Without a Lawyer?

Getting your own legal counsel is extremely unlikely to make your divorce more difficult under any circumstances, but failing to do so could cause problems. Going into a divorce unrepresented is a risky option for reasons like: 

  • Amicability changes - It might seem like you and your spouse are still friendly despite the breakdown in your romantic relationship and will have no issue handling the divorce alone. However, this could change very quickly. You could discover that your spouse’s personality or demands change when they begin dating someone else, or you could experience much more conflict than you initially thought over certain issues. 
  • Secrets emerging - Can you say for certain that your spouse is not hiding any money or assets that you should be entitled to a share of? Probably not - it is more common than you might think. Finding out midway through a divorce that your spouse has a retirement account you did not know about can be a huge setback. An attorney will be able to locate secret assets during the discovery process. 
  • Sticking points - Most couples find that there is at least one issue they simply cannot agree on. Child custody concerns are a common sticking point. When you and your spouse reach an impasse, you may have little choice but to seek help from a lawyer. It is generally easier if the attorney has been representing you from the start as opposed to entering your case at a late stage. 

Divorce attorneys are often quite good at minimizing conflict if that is your goal. Hiring a lawyer is not likely to turn an amicable divorce into a contentious one, but the reverse could be true for some. 

geneva divorce lawyerThroughout history, the typical family dynamic included a husband, wife, and children living in a home together. However, in 2022, blended families have become normalized and accepted into mainstream culture. It used to be standard for a man and woman to marry, have children, and live together. Today, many families live together and share finances, property, and children without being legally married. There are legal protections for unmarried couples living together to ensure their rights are protected. One way partners can protect these rights is through a cohabitation agreement.

Who Can Obtain a Cohabitation Agreement?

Cohabitation agreements are legally recognized documents that outline the rights of unmarried couples living together. These couples include unmarried partners who are in a long-term, intimate relationship. In many states, these relationships are known as common-law marriages. The National Conference of State Legislatures defines common law marriage as a marriage acknowledged by the state without the partners obtaining a legitimate marriage license. Common-law marriages are only accepted in a handful of American states, and Illinois is not one of the states that approve common-law marriages. This is why it is essential for unmarried, long-term partners who share property and finances to create a cohabitation agreement to protect their assets. 

Recent Blog Posts

Categories

Archives

Talk to an attorney now. Call 630-232-9700.
For faster response to after-hours inquiries, please   email us.