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IL divorce lawyerWhen a couple realizes their marriage is coming to an end, many spouses decide to separate for a period of time before filing for divorce. This has become a social norm and many couples do not even think about getting their marriage annulled. Not only does an annulment mark the end of a marriage, but it also states that the legal union never existed. Annulments are most commonly sought out for religious reasons. For instance, the Catholic church views divorce in a negative light thus requiring its members to obtain an annulment before they are allowed to remarry in the “eyes of the church”. Annulments may be most common for spiritual individuals; however, some decide an annulment is best based on the benefits it provides each former spouse. Continue reading to learn about the details and benefits of annulments.

Eligibility for an Annulment

A couple must meet the following requirements to qualify for an annulment:

  • The marriage was forced on one or both of the spouses.
  • One or both of the spouses were unable to make a clear decision because of the consumption of alcohol, drug use, or mental disability.
  • One or both of the spouses were already married at the time of the wedding or the relationship was incestuous.
  • The spouse(s) was underage at the time of the marriage.
  • Either spouse was impotent at the time of the marriage.
  • Information was withheld from either spouse such as children from a previous marriage, an unwillingness to have children, legal/criminal problems.

Benefits of an Annulment

There are various benefits of an annulment that extend past religious acceptance.

  • Avoiding financial support: One of the typical requirements of a divorce is one spouse providing the other with financial support. This is often unavoidable, especially when one spouse works and the other does not. These payments can include child support, alimony, or spousal support. Those who decide to have their marriage annulled will no longer be required to help their former spouse financially since the marriage no longer exists in the eyes of the court.
  • Debt is determined and divided: Most couples will accumulate some form of debt throughout their marriage. In the case of an annulment, this debt is divided equally between both parties. Any debt that was incurred before the marriage is given back to the spouse that accumulated it.
  • Assets assignments: Property assets are typically split in half during divorce proceedings, but annulments are different. The property is given back to the party who originally purchased it.

Contact a Kane County Family Law Attorney for Help

Whether a couple is filing for an annulment for religious reasons or for personal reasons, it is crucial that you seek out an attorney who is experienced in this particular area of family law. Divorce and annulments are two very different legal processes that should be dealt with as such. If you would like to get your marriage annulled, contact our St. Charles, Illinois family law attorneys at 630-584-5550 for assistance.

 

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Illinois family lawyerWhen the court enters an order, all parties named in the order are required to comply with its terms. Your divorce settlement likely included a few orders, such as a parenting plan, a property division order, a child support order, and a spousal maintenance order. Willfully refusing to comply with one or more of these orders is an act of contempt of court. It is important to note that in order for an action to be contempt of court, the offender must willfully, knowingly violate his or her court order. Failure to comply with a court order for reasons beyond the individual’s control is not contempt of court.

Any refusal to comply with a court order is contempt of court. Following a divorce, the following actions may be deemed contempt of court. Penalties for refusing to comply with a court order include fines, wage garnishment, and the suspension of your driver’s license.

Failing to Make Required Payments

If you are required to pay child support or spousal maintenance, you must pay the amount that your order requires you to pay when you are required to pay it. If you feel your former partner or your child’s lifestyle has changed to the point that your original support amount is no longer necessary, discuss the possibility of having your order modified with an experienced lawyer. This is also what you should do if you can no longer afford to make your required payments.

Failure to Comply with Your Parenting Plan

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Illinois divorce lawyerWhat was once known as legal custody is now known as parental responsibilities. This is the right to make decisions on a child’s behalf that impact the child’s lifestyle and future. Under Illinois law, a parenting plan must touch upon all of the following subjects and state which parent is responsible for making decisions in each subject area. Both parents can be named in one or all subject areas, granting them both the right to make decisions and requiring them to work together in their child’s best interest:

  • Education;
  • Healthcare;
  • Extracurricular activities; and
  • Religious upbringing.

There are many competing philosophies on education and even among married couples, parents can disagree about the best course of action for their child’s education. If you find yourself disagreeing with your former spouse’s thoughts and choices regarding your child’s schooling, keep the following in mind:

If You Share the Responsibility to Make Choices About Your Child’s Education, You Have to Work Together

When you share parental responsibilities with a former spouse, you have to cooperate for your child’s sake. Making decisions about moving a child to a different school, keeping him or her back a year, handling behavior problems in the classroom, and discussing issues related to your child’s learning disability or need for an individualized education program (IEP) can be stressful.

Take yourself and your feelings about your former partner out of the equation and focus solely on your child’s educational needs. Use concrete facts like progress reports and report cards to guide your conversations with your former partner. Remember that sometimes, a parenting plan needs to be altered to give a child the best chance for academic success.

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Illinois divorce lawyerIn an Illinois divorce, the couple’s assets must be divided equitably. This is only possible when both partners are transparent about the assets they own and the assets’ values.

Sometimes, dishonest individuals use their partners’ lack of knowledge about their marital assets to try to keep the assets out of the property division process and leave the marriage with more than their fair share of these assets. If you are thinking about doing this, stop that train of thought. You should not try to hide assets from your former partner in your divorce, and this is why:

Your Former Spouse Can Find the Assets You Hide

If your spouse has a feeling you are hiding assets, he or she can uncover them through some detective work with his or her lawyer and/or a forensic accountant. There is no “safe” way to steal assets from your marital pool – whether you think you can hide assets by transferring them into a custodial account for your child, having a friend “hold” your assets in their account for you, or making cash purchases to liquidate the money in your joint accounts, your spouse can always trace your steps and find the money if he or she is willing to do so.

Your Unwillingness to Cooperate with the Court Can Haunt You Later

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Illinois divorce attorneyWhen one spouse chooses to leave the workforce to care for the couple’s home and children or takes on lower paying work than he or she would otherwise be able to perform in order to do so, that spouse may seek spousal maintenance, once known as alimony, as part of the couple’s divorce settlement. Spousal maintenance is designed to prevent a lower earning spouse from experiencing financial hardship following his or her divorce.

Permanent vs. Temporary Spousal Maintenance

In the past, it was far more common for one partner to stay home while the other provided the family’s sole income than it is today. Divorced individuals who stayed home during their marriages were also less frequently expected to reenter the workforce or enter it for the first time after their divorces. These individuals were frequently awarded permanent alimony, which ensured that they received support from their former partners until they remarried or their former partners died.

Today, dual-income households are the norm. Individuals who opt out of the workforce often do so with some years of working experience and may have vocational or college degrees. Because these individuals can support themselves after their divorces, they are generally awarded temporary spousal maintenance. This maintenance provides a “cushion” for the receiver, permitting him or her to complete an education or secure employment before having to financially support him- or herself completely.

There are some cases where permanent maintenance may still be awarded, such as marriages that lasted 20 years or longer or cases where the lesser earning spouse cannot realistically return to the workforce due to age or disability.

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Illinois divorce lawyer, Illinois alimony attorneyAmong the many questions divorcing spouses have following a separation, questions regarding alimony, also known as spousal maintenance, tend to be a big concern. This is particularly true for stay-at-home parents or spouses who are not the main earners in the household. Taking on greater financial responsibility - or in some cases, any financial responsibility at all - can be a scary thing, especially when one spouse has become accustomed to a certain lifestyle and is suddenly thrust into a new routine.

Alimony’s Nationwide Evolution

As societal roles and career opportunities have changed for both men and women in recent decades, so have the expectations and allowances surrounding spousal maintenance. More women are working now more than ever, and the concept of stay-at-home fathers is far from new. According to Labor Department statistics, nearly three-quarters of women work. In the year 2010, 97 percent of the 400,000 people receiving alimony were women, and that trend has been a continual one.

These statistics have revealed an important fact about alimony and its place in today’s post-divorce world: It seems the majority of alimony recipients continue to be women, but most of those women are actively involved in the workforce during the time of the marriage or become employed following the divorce. As a result, states all throughout the country have been taking these factors into consideration when determining maintenance awards in court rulings.

Is Spousal Maintenance a Sure Thing?

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