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Posted on in Family Law

Lombard family law attorneysThere are many reasons that a couple may choose not to marry. Some have become disheartened with the increasing prevalence of divorce and, therefore, do not see the point in marrying. Others want to maintain their single status for political, religious, or personal reasons. Some same-sex couples live in parts of the country where same-sex marriage was not legal until very recently. Only the individuals in a relationship can decide if marriage is right for them, but it is important to know that there are steps unmarried couples can take to protect their rights and assets.

A Cohabitation Agreement Can Protect You in the Case of a Breakup

Common law marriages have not been legally recognized in Illinois since 1905. This means that two people can share their lives together, live in the same house, help each other pay bills, and raise children together without being considered legally married. Couples that live together but are not married do not have the same rights and protection under the law as those couples that are married. Those who split up after sharing a life together may find themselves in a legal mess. For example, if the couple has brought property, real estate, expensive home goods or vehicles together, it is difficult to establish how this property should be divided following a breakup.

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Posted on in Family Law

Lombard family law attorneyAfter retirement, many people feel that their time for making huge life decisions are behind them. They have completed a career, raised families, and now is the time to enjoy the life they created. Many by this point in time are single due to divorce or the unexpected death of their spouse. The option of marrying late in life is often overlooked, but in the right situations may be just what is needed.

Cohabitation vs. Marriage: The Great Debate

A growing trend in the population of those over 65 years of age is cohabitation rather than marriage. These couples still may wish to marry, but due to their reasons, they have made the decision not to do so. For many, the decision stems from the financial benefits of staying single along with a variety of other factors. Those who choose to take the plunge again, or perhaps for the first time, are in a portion of the population that is reducing each year. However, those who do often find marriage to be much more straightforward with less outside influence.

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Posted on in Family Law

Lombard family law attorneyMore couples are choosing to live together without being married than ever before. In fact, cohabitation is being called the "new normal," when it comes to living arrangements for younger couples. Three out of four women will have lived with a male partner before turning 30, according to one study. Whether you are considering marriage in the future or have decided to forego marriage altogether, it is still important to protect yourself and your rights while living together with a partner. A family law attorney can help you craft a cohabitation agreement and answer any other questions you may have.

Cohabitation Facts

A government study spanning the years 2006-2010 reported that nearly half of all women - 48 percent - in so-called first-unions, or long-term relationships with men, chose to move in with their partners prior to or in place of getting married. The figure represented a five percent increase from a similar study conducted in 1995. Roughly 40 percent of those cohabitants studied married their partner within the next three years, and another 32 percent continued to live with their partner without getting married.

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baby before marriage, divorce, Illinois divorce attorneyConsider a common scenario: a young couple, dating but not engaged, suddenly discovers that they are going to have a baby. They certainly have options, but depending upon their age, maturity level and decision-making skills, they may not be able clearly think through the various possibilities. So, they inform their families.  Just a few generations ago, and to an extent, probably even now, the families were likely to respond with some variation of "I assume you are going to do the right thing," heavily implying that marriage should obviously be the plan. This type of social pressure and the stigma of having a baby before marriage has, for many years, led to an increase the risk of divorce for such couples. Recent studies suggest, however, that this is not the case anymore.

Long-Term Research

Using data from the National Survey of Family Growth, researchers at Cornell University and the University of Michigan conducted a study published last month in the journal Demography. Led by Kelly Musick, associate professor of policy analysis and management at Cornell’s College of Human Ecology, the team closely examined child-bearing couples in two separate periods, from 1985 to 1995 and from 1997 to 2010. What they found was that the landscape of marriage, relationships, and childbirth has drastically changed in a relative short span of time.

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ending payments, spousal maintenance, Illinois family law attorneysIf you are divorced or are in the process of getting divorced, it is understandable that you might feel lonely and desire the companionship of a romantic partner. New relationships are exciting and often rejuvenating, especially for an individual coming out of an unhappy marriage. However, if you are receiving spousal maintenance or have asked for maintenance in your divorce, it is important to understand the potential impact of a new relationship, especially if you are considering moving in together.

Spousal Support

The law in Illinois recognizes that, after a divorce, it is sometimes necessary to assist a lower-earning spouse in regaining his or her independence. Based upon a consideration of a number of factors related to the marriage, a court may order one party to provide spousal maintenance to the other for a period of time—or permanently, if the marriage was long enough. The specific calculations are expected to follow a standard set forth in the law, but the original determination of necessity is left to the court.

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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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cohabitation, marriage, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois family law attonreyCohabitation before marriage is becoming more common than in the past. Nearly 50 percent of all women have chosen cohabitation, often putting off marriage for up to two years, according to US News & World Report.

Studies have shown that for some, this living arrangement has proven to be a better option. Today Health reported that cohabiting couples appear happier and hold greater self-esteem than their married counterparts. Why? It is believed that cohabitation allows for increased independence and personal growth while in a committed relationship.

Of course in any relationship, ground rules are important. If you are opting to cohabitate, these quick tips may establish your personal boundaries, leading to a healthy and happier existence.

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cohabitation, cohabitation agreement, lawyer, attorney, divorce, divorce rate, cause of divorceIn the past, cohabitation before marriage has often been linked to couples filing for divorce. New information, however has shown that this is incorrect. In fact, in certain cases, living together before getting married may actually improve the chances of a marriage succeeding.

New research conducted by Dr. Arielle Kuperberg, Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro has shown that for women who have personal circumstances that may, in many cases, indicate a higher risk for divorce, cohabitation can actually improve their chances at a successful marriage. This includes:
  • Women who have had a premarital birth;
  • Women who have had more than the average number of sexual partners;
  • Women raised in single parent families;
  • Women raised in stepparent families.
Dr. Kuperberg’s research found that previous studies linking cohabitation and divorce consistently overstated the risk, ignoring other issues that may have also increased the risk of an unsuccessful marriage. For example, poorer couples have a tendency to cohabitate, and a lower economic status often leads to divorce. These studies also compared couples by the ages at which they married, instead of their ages when they moved in together. When Dr. Kuperberg compared these couples at the age when they moved in together, she found no difference in the divorce rate. Instead, couples who married or cohabitated at ages younger than 23 were the ones at a higher risk for divorce. Of course, the cause of a divorce is rarely simple. In most cases, the reasons behind a divorce cannot be traced to a single factor. If you are considering filing for divorce in Illinois, your first step should be to obtain the services of a qualified attorney. The professionals at A. Traub & Associates have years of experience, and will do their best to ensure that your divorce moves as smoothly through the system as possible. Contact us today for your initial consultation, and let us help you get started on your way to a new life.

KerryFor couples who make the decision to live together and not legally wed, the end of the relationship can be costly, whether the relationship ends because they decide not to live together or because one person dies. The state of Illinois does not recognize common-law marriage, leaving both parties unprotected.

There is no property division for separately owned property and no palimony. If one of the couple becomes a stay-at-home parent to care for children of the relationship, there is no law defining loss earning capacity. If one person becomes sick and is hospitalized, their partner has no legal say in their care. And there is no right to inherit the estate if one person dies.

Unless a couple is married or has entered into a civil partnership, the law does not recognize the living-together relationship. That’s why it’s important for unmarried couples to work with an attorney to prepare documents which will protect both parties. A cohabitation agreement should have the following:

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Not so many years ago, in an American society that was arguably much more conservative than that of today, cohabitation before marriage was considered a recipe for marriage disaster. Despite the fact that the rate of cohabitation before marriage has steadily increased in recent decades, the idea that cohabitation before marriage can directly result in divorce is still prevalent today. 

According to an Op-Ed published in the New York Times, "cohabitation in the United States has increased by more than 1,500 percent in the past half century. In 1960, about 450,000 unmarried couples lived together. Now the number is more than 7.5 million." In more than half of all modern American marriages, the couple has lived together before the wedding.

In 2001 the National Marriage Project conducted a survey that found that two-thirds of 20-somethings surveyed believed that "moving in together before marriage was a good way to avoid divorce." Yet according to the Times, "couples who cohabit before marriage (and especially before an engagement or otherwise clear commitment) tend to be less satisfied with their marriages—and more likely to divorce—than couples who do not."

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