IL divorce lawyerPrenuptial agreements, also called premarital agreements or “prenups,” are some of the most misunderstood legal documents in all of family law. The media often presents prenuptial agreements in a negative light. Television shows and movies can also add to the confusion and misinformation surrounding prenuptial agreements. The truth is that a prenuptial agreement can benefit both members of a marriage in a wide variety of ways.

Prenups Protect the Financial Interests of Both Spouses

The main purpose of a prenuptial agreement is to determine in advance how property and debt would be divided if the couple gets a divorce. Without a prenuptial agreement, assets are divided according to equitable distribution rules in Illinois. It is very possible that one or both spouses will not end up with the property that they wanted when the court makes property division decisions on behalf of the spouses.

  • A prenuptial agreement is especially important if:
  • There is a large difference in the spouses’ income or assets.
  • Either spouse has substantial debt.
  • The spouses have a blended family.
  • One of the spouses owns their own business.
  • One of the spouses has or plans to have long-term investments, vesting opportunities, or stock options from their employer.

In addition to financial protections, many couples find that the process of creating a prenuptial agreement itself is hugely beneficial. As part of drafting a prenup, you and your partner will need to list your assets and debts as well as make decisions about how finances will be managed during the marriage. Having an open dialogue about finances before the marriage can help reduce marital conflict in the future.

Getting a Prenuptial Agreement Does Not Mean You Believe the Marriage Will Fail

The number one falsehood about prenuptial agreements is that signing one means you have doubts about the success of the marriage. Some people falsely assume that a person would only get a premarital agreement if they do not trust their partner. This is simply not true. Just as getting car insurance does not increase your chances of getting into a car accident, getting a prenuptial agreement does not increase your chances of getting a divorce. Most couples enter into a prenuptial agreement because they take their financial responsibilities seriously and understand that all marriages have a possibility of ending. It is better to have a prenuptial agreement in place and not ever need it than to need one and not have it.

Contact a Kane County Family Law Attorney

To learn more about how a prenuptial agreement can benefit you and your partner or for other family law needs, contact Shaw Family Law, P.C. Schedule a free, confidential consultation with an experienced St. Charles family lawyer by calling our office today at 630-584-5550.

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IL divorce lawyerWhen two people marry, many of their possessions change from “yours” and “mine” into “ours.” Couples may share a home, vehicles, property, bank accounts, and more. When a married couple gets divorced, deciding which spouse should retain which assets can be quite difficult. There are many factors that can complicate the already complex process of property division. If you are planning to divorce and need help with asset division, contact an experienced family law attorney.

Complex Assets

Illinois couples have the option to make their own decisions regarding the division of the marital estate. However, couples who disagree about asset division may require court intervention. If a couple owns complex or high-value assets, it is likely that the process of property division will be much more involved. Assets which can complicate the property division process include but are not limited to:

  • Family businesses
  • Trusts
  • Stocks, bonds, and other investments
  • inheritances or gifts
  • Real estate
  • Pensions and 401ks
  • Deferred compensation
  • Royalties
  • Executive bonuses
  • Offshore accounts

Duration of Marriage and Age of Spouses

You may be surprised to learn that the divorce rate for people over 50 years of age has doubled since 1990. More and more older Americans are getting divorced. Many individuals over the age of 50 have accumulated a significant amount of money in a term life insurance, 401k plan, or retirement account. They may also be receiving Social Security benefits. The duration of a marriage can influence several aspects of divorce as well including asset division, child custody, child support, spousal maintenance, and more. When a marriage of 20 years or more ends, the process of untangling the spouses’ intertwined financial lives can be especially difficult.

Dissipated Assets

Property or funds which are wasted near the end of a marriage are referred to as “dissipated assets.” Examples of dissipated assets can include funds lost to gambling or drug addiction, money spent on a secret affair, and property which was destroyed by another spouse in an act of retaliation. In order to be considered dissipation, the frivolous spending must be “for the sole benefit of one spouse and for a purpose unrelated to the marriage.” Furthermore, the spending must take place “when the marriage is undergoing an irreconcilable breakdown.” Generally, an “irreconcilable breakdown” refers to the time when a couple stops making attempts at reconciliation. If you and your legal team can prove that your spouse dissipated significant assets, you may be given a larger share of the marital estate to compensate for the lost property or funds.

Contact a St. Charles Property Division Lawyer

If you are getting divorced and have questions about property division, contact Shaw Family Law, P.C. to get the answers you need. Schedule a free, confidential consultation with a knowledgeable Kane County divorce attorney by calling us at 630-584-5550 today.

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IL divorce lawyerMany people have heard of prenuptial agreements; however, few know what a postnuptial agreement is. The two are similar but have different time frames when creating them. A “prenup” is a legal document that lays out every part of your marriage and has legal guidelines in the case of divorce. In the past, prenups were reserved for those with extremely high assets, but overtime prenups have become more common. “Postnups” have also begun to rise in popularity. These legal documents are constructed after marriage rather than beforehand. To some, this may seem like a bad omen, but for many, this is reassurance for an unpredictable future.

Common Reasons People Sign a Postnup

The idea of signing an agreement after the wedding is not for everyone; however, there are many situations that warrant it. One of the primary reasons individuals sign postnups is because they did not sign a prenup in time. Prenuptial agreements must be signed three months before the wedding day to verify that both parties signed it willingly. This time sensitivity exists to avoid having wedding jitters as the motivation for the document. Waiting to sign the documents until after the wedding celebration can be a good way to ensure that a postnup is in the best interest of both parties.

Postnups can also help relieve financial stressors that may be causing issues in a marriage. High assets or a large amount of debt incurred by one spouse can quickly replace the loving emotions with those of anger and stress. Creating a postnuptial agreement can help each spouse see their assets and debts in front of them, dividing them where they see fit. Giving a spouse full responsibility for their financial habits can also be a good motivation to improve.

Questions Addressed in a Postnup

The following are common issues that are addressed within a postnuptial agreement:

  • What will you do with debts? Many couples’ biggest fear is getting bogged down by their spouse’s debt that they were never apart of. The document will label both joint and individual debt. Postnups will “assign” debt payment responsibility in the case that any is incurred.
  • How is money divided in a blended family? Most second marriages will prompt the signing of a nuptial agreement to specify “who gets what”. It can be confusing and difficult to determine how things will be divvied up with blended families. These include financial support for children from previous marriages or special needs kids.
  • What about business relations? If spouses are involved in business together, it is crucial that they have legal documentation in the case of a divorce. The postnup will address what the roles of both spouses are in the business and how the business should be divided in a divorce.

Contact a St. Charles Attorney

Being prepared for a possible future is the best way to reduce stress and truly be in the present. Formulating a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement is one way to put your mind at ease. At Shaw Family Law, our attorneys are experienced in drafting both types of agreements to ensure all possible scenarios are addressed. If you or your spouse are looking to protect yourselves against a possible difficult divorce in the future, contact our experienced Kane County postnuptial agreement attorneys at 630-584-5550 for a free consultation.

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IL divorce lawyerGetting divorced is stressful on many levels. It is emotional and can be financially burdensome at the time of the divorce and in the future. Young couples filing for divorce are not often thinking about retirement; however, properly preparing for the future should be on the mind of divorcees throughout the proceedings. One of the best ways to secure your future financially is to obtain a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO). This is an order that ensures the recognition of a second party in receiving a portion of the retirement benefits from their former spouse’s plan. While you may believe that you are entitled to your ex’s retirement benefits, the only legal way to secure this money is through a QDRO.

Who can receive money through a QDRO?

This legal document has limitations regarding who is considered eligible to receive financial assistance. The recipient is known as the “alternate payee” while the plan holder is known as the “participant”. Alternate payees can include spouses, former spouses, children, or other dependents of the participant.

What should be included in a QDRO?

Each retirement plan has individual requirements; however, there is certain information that must be included on every QDRO request. These include:

  1. The name and address of the participant and alternate payee
  2. The name of each plan to which the order applies
  3. The dollar amount or percentage of the benefit to be given to the alternate payee
  4. The number of payments or time period of the order

Can I get a QDRO after my divorce?

QDROs can be filed at any time. Whether you are in the middle of the divorce process or have been divorced for a decade, QDROs do not have a time limit. This is done in part because financial situations can change over time. While some may have a retirement plan with their job at the time of their divorce, they may change jobs later on and find themselves in need of financial support. QDROs can also be filed for after the former spouse’s death; however, it must be consistent with the terms of the retirement plan. QDROs can be filed for long after the divorce is finalized but it is best to obtain one and file the QDRO with the retirement plan as quickly as possible.

Obtaining a QDRO with the Help of a Kane County Attorney

All legal processes go much smoother with an experienced attorney by your side. If you are in the middle of your divorce, you should notify your attorney that you may need the financial assistance later in life. You may also need to contact the plan for information about your spouse’s plan if your spouse is not willing to provide you with that information. At Shaw Family Law, we draft QDROs during or after divorce to ensure that you receive the proper allotment of finances later in life. If you are considering divorce or need assistance drafting a QDRO from a divorce that happened years ago, contact our experienced St. Charles, IL divorce attorneys at 630-584-5550 for a free consultation.

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Posted on in Property Division

Il divorce lawyerFamily businesses can be difficult to successfully maintain. Some believe that mixing family and business is a recipe for disaster; however, family businesses often become the pride and joy of the owners. Because the businesses are often built from the ground up, it is much more difficult to let them go. This is often a problem that divorced couples who own a family business face. Not only do they have a personal connection to their workplace, but those involved in family businesses often have often invested a lot of time and money into their business. Continue reading to learn about the various options divorced couples have when deciding what to do with their family-owned business.

Your Options

There are a variety of options available to those trying to figure out what to do with the family business while going through a divorce. Every couple’s divorce is different, some being a mutual decision while others happen by surprise. Regardless of the situation at hand, sometimes one has to separate emotions from business no matter how much time and energy they have put into their job.

  1. Continue Owning the Business Together: Though this option does not work for everyone, some choose to continue running their family business in a similar manner. This is more common in couples that are mutually ending their marriage amicably. While you may decide to work different schedules and keep business meetings to a minimum, keeping the family business within the family is an option for some.

  2. Buy Out Your Ex-Spouse: For most couples, working together post-divorce is unhealthy and unreasonable. An option for those who no longer want to be tied together personally or professionally is to have one spouse buy out the other. This will require legal assistance on both sides but is often a relatively quick and easy solution.

  3. Sell the Business: Family-owned businesses are more than just a business to those involved. Memories become tied to the building and the business as a whole, making it extremely difficult to continue working in the environment. Many decide to sell their family businesses and have a fresh start. This can be due to the personal connection or financial burden that the business has once a marriage comes to an end.

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