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inheritance in divorceFor the majority of people who get married, the assumption is that it will be "’til death do us part." Despite the high rate of divorce, most couples think they will beat the odds and live happily ever after. Typically, all the assets a couple acquires during the marriage are pooled – income, gifts, inheritances, etc. are all shared between the two spouses. The reality is, however, that at least half of marriages do end in divorce, with an even higher rate if the marriage is a second or third marriage.

Most divorce negotiations involve how finances and property will be divided between the couple, but what happens with the inherited assets? Unfortunately, in many circumstances, unless there was an agreement in place before the divorce, those assets just may be included in the marital estate. A person may be able to keep that expensive piece of jewelry their grandmother left them, but the value of that piece becomes part of the marital estate and the other spouse is entitled to receive something of equal value in their share of the marital estate. The same may be true for inherited real estate property, stocks and bonds, and cash.

There are ways a person can protect those inherited assets in the event their marriage does not work out. The first step is a prenuptial agreement. Engaged couples should consider prenuptial agreements for many reasons, and this certainly is an important one. A prenup can clearly outline that in the event of a divorce, inherited assets go to the spouse they were intended for and not considered part of the marital estate.

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child custodyA recent survey revealed that more and more Americans are not waiting to get married before they begin to have children. This trend is especially growing among college educated adults. But having a child out-of-wedlock may raise several legal issues that could need to be addressed.

Out of 9,000 adults between the ages of 26 to 31 years of age, more than 50 percent of the women were mothers. Of that number, 64 percent had at least one child out-of-wedlock, and almost half had all of their children out-of-wedlock. The statistics for men in the group were very similar to the women.

Unmarried parents who have children together may find themselves facing several family law issues that they did not anticipate, including paternity, child custody and support. In this state, Illinois Parentage Act of 1984 established the rules for children born to unwed parents.

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retirement age marriageStatistics show that gray divorce – divorce for people who are 50 years old or older – has doubled since 1990. 60 percent who will decide to give marriage a second try will not have any better luck than they did the first time.

Legal and financial advisers say there are steps that older couples can take to help their chances of having a successful marriage the second time around, including communication and a prenuptial agreement.

Especially of concern for people who are close to or already retired are finances. According to some studies, the majority of couples who are engaged fail to discuss their present and future financial situations with each other before they are married. Communication before marriage is essential. This can be especially critical for older people who have been saving all their lives for retirement, only to find out their new spouse has serious financial obligations they knew nothing about.

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signs of marriage troubleIs your marriage in trouble? There are signs that marriage and family therapists say can be indicators that a marriage is headed for divorce court. They are also good indicators if you have been struggling with the decision to divorce of where exactly your marriage is at.

  • Do you find yourself no longer consulting or valuing your spouse’s opinion or input? From serious topics, such as work issues, to plans for the weekend, making decisions on your own without even broaching the subject with your spouse, especially if this is something you always did in the past, is an indicator of a breakdown in communication.
  • Another sign there could be serious problems is if you do not consider ever putting your spouse’s needs or wishes ahead of your own anymore. As one therapist put it, making yourself "king or queen of the castle" is a sign something is wrong.
  • Has the ebb and flow of giving in the relationship now been replaced by a scorecard of what you do and what your spouse does?
  • Do you feel like you are living with a partner or with a roommate? Partners work together, making plans for the future and achieving goals together. Roommates share the same space but live singular lives. They pick up after themselves, cook their own dinners and buy their own food, etc., without considering or including the person they live with.
  • Do you purposely hit your spouse’s "hot button" to try to get a reaction from him or her? In healthy relationships, we learn what things are upsetting to our spouse and try to avoid those actions. That’s not always the case in marriages that are breaking down.
  • Do you still date? Even married couples need to court and woo each other, just like they did when dating. Love notes, little gifts, and wanting to look good for your spouse are all things that help keep the romance in a marriage.
  • Do you still talk? Not just talk about problems or issues that come up, but do you and your spouse enjoy conversations with each other about anything? If you barely communicate with your spouse, unless it is about who needs to pick up the kids or take the dog to the vet that can indicate a marriage in trouble.

Do you think a lot about what life would be like without your spouse in it and envision it as a much happier and better life than it is right now? If you are thinking about divorce, contact an Arlington Heights family law attorney to find out what legal options you may have.

prenuptial agreementYour wedding day is quickly approaching, but you are wondering if you and your fiancée will maintain composure while discussing your mutually agreed upon premarital agreement.

The Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (750 ILCS 10) was enacted in Illinois to provide financial and property protection for those entering marriage. The statute also lays the guidelines of the anticipated union. More often than not, financial protection is the primary reason couples enter into a prenup.

It sounds fairly simple: each individual legally seeks financial protection of real property or financial interests. The prenup is to be drafted in writing and signed by both parties involved. What else do you need to know?

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Illinois State Bar Association DuPage County Bar Association Northwest Suburban Bar Association American Inns of Court DuPage Association of Woman Lawyers National Association of Woman Business Owners Illinois Association Criminal Defense Lawyers DuPage County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association
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