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Elmhurst family law attorney for postnuptial agreementsA prenuptial agreement is a contract that spouses sign before getting married that describes property rights, differentiates marital property from separate property, and defines a spouse’s entitlement to spousal maintenance or alimony. Most adults are familiar with prenuptial agreements. However, fewer are familiar with the benefits offered by postnuptial agreements. If you are already married, a postnuptial agreement or “postnup” can provide you with the opportunity to gain the legal protections offered by a prenuptial agreement.

Provisions Typically Included in an Illinois Postnuptial Agreement

The issues addressed in a postnuptial agreement are often similar to those addressed in a prenuptial agreement. The main difference is that a postnuptial agreement is signed after the couple is married. Postnuptial agreements typically address:

  • How property and debt will be allocated to the spouses if the couple gets divorced

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Oak Brook divorce attorney for litigation and trialsWhen a couple decides to divorce, they do not simply agree to end their marriage and walk away. They must address various legal issues, including asset and debt division, child custody, spousal support, and child support. These issues often become contentious. If spouses disagree on the terms of the divorce and cannot reach an agreement via alternative dispute resolution methods like mediation, the case may go to litigation. If you are planning to divorce, and you suspect that disagreements will arise, it is important to know what is involved in divorce litigation.

Resolving Divorce Issues Through the Court

Divorce dissolves a legal partnership, so every divorce involves a certain amount of court involvement. If a couple can reach an agreement on how to divide their property, assign parental responsibilities and parenting time, and resolve other divorce-related issues, the court involvement may be minimal. The couple must submit their agreements to the court and, unless there are major issues or the agreements are unconscionable, the court will approve the agreements. These agreements then become legally binding.

If the couple cannot reach an agreement about one or more issues, they will need to turn to various legal processes to reach a resolution. At this point, the case is said to be in litigation. The attorneys will gather evidence to use to support the spouses’ claims through a formal fact-finding process called discovery. This often involves “interrogatories” or formal written questions that a spouse is required by law to answer honestly.  Requests for production are another discovery tool that may be used to obtain financial documents such as tax returns or retirement account statements. Discovery may also involve “depositions,” which are formal interviews that take place under oath.

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Elmhurst child custody attorney for GAL investigationsChildren are not capable of advocating for themselves the way that adults can. Whenever children are involved in a legal dispute, courts are very concerned with how possible resolutions will affect the children’s well-being. Illinois courts make decisions about child custody, adoption, parental rights, and other child-related issues based on what is in the child’s best interests. To determine what is in the child’s best interests, the court may assign a guardian ad litem (GAL).

The Aim of a Guardian Ad Litem

A GAL is often an attorney, but some GALs are social workers or other types of professionals. The GAL’s job is to investigate the case, gather information about the parents’ relationships with their child, and use this information to make a recommendation to the court about what is in the child’s best interests. The court does not have to follow the GAL’s recommendations, but their opinion does carry substantial weight. GALs are neutral third parties who do not choose one person’s side or represent one of the parties in the dispute. The GAL represents the child’s best interests. Either party in the dispute may request a GAL, or a GAL may be assigned to the case if a judge deems it necessary.

When gathering information to form an opinion about the child’s best interests, the guardian ad litem may:

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