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DuPage County family law attorneysFor many individuals, it takes a divorce to highlight just how financially dependent a person may be on his or her spouse. This, of course, may be all the more true if you are also trying to raise children. It is for exactly such reasons that the divorce laws in Illinois include provisions for spousal maintenance and child support. These orders are issued, when appropriate, by the court to distribute the financial burden more equitably between you and your ex-spouse. But, what would happen if your ex-spouse was no longer around to provide support for you or your children? Would you be able to get by? If the answer is no, you may want to speak with family law attorney about including life insurance requirements in your divorce agreement.

Why Life Insurance?

A life insurance policy is designed to pay financial benefits to the named beneficiaries of a insured individual upon the insured person’s death. These funds are often used to cover funeral costs, pay down debts, or to simply maintain a similar lifestyle. Married individuals will commonly name their spouse as the primary beneficiary to help provide a level of security in the event of their death.

Reliance on Your Ex-Spouse

It may not be easy to admit, but if you are seeking spousal maintenance or child support, you are still financially dependent, to at least a certain extent, on your former partner. Your reliance may not be as strong as it once was during your marriage, but you likely count on his or her help to provide for your most basic needs and those of your children. If he or she were to die suddenly, you could face tremendous difficulty as a result of the support payment ending.

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DuPage County child custody lawyersIn Illinois, parents who divorce are asked to create a parenting plan. The plan identifies the parent who has the majority of parental responsibility (formerly called custody), describes how major decisions about the child will be made, provides a schedule for sharing parenting time, and more. If the parents are unable to reach an agreement about the terms of the parenting plan through negotiation or mediation, the court may need to decide on a parenting plan on behalf of the parents. However the parenting plan is put in place, it is an official court order that parents are expected to obey completely. If your child’s other parent is not following the directions contained in the parenting plan, he or she could face serious consequences.

When a Parent Intentionally Ignores a Parenting Plan

If your child’s other parent is occasionally late picking up or dropping of your child or makes other minor mistakes with regard to shared parenting, this is not grounds for court action. However, if the parent is purposefully refusing to follow the terms of your parenting plan, it may be time to do something about it. Notify the court of the other parent’s actions and contact an experienced family law attorney. In some cases, a parent who intentionally disobeys a parenting plan can be held in contempt of court and face certain civil consequences. If your child’s other parent is incapable of following the terms of the parenting plan, you may wish to petition the court for a modified parenting plan. Illinois courts will always make child custody and parenting time decisions based on what is in the child’s best interests.  

Parental Abduction and Kidnapping

In extreme cases, a parent’s actions may be considered parental abduction. If you have legal custody of your child and the other parent takes your child away from you and keeps him or her, the other parent may be committing parental abduction. He or she could lose parenting time privileges and face criminal consequences. Parental kidnapping occurs when a parent knowingly confines the child against his or her will through the use of force, threat of force, deceit, or enticement. This is a felony offense punishable by up to seven years in prison. If you believe your child’s other parent has committed parental abduction or kidnapping or otherwise represents a risk to your child, contact the court immediately. Then, reach out to a family law attorney experienced in handling volatile child custody disputes.

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Naperville family law attorneysYou have probably heard of a prenuptial agreement before. Although they are often misunderstood, prenuptial agreements can be a valuable tool for spouses who take their property and financial rights seriously. Prenuptial agreements protect both spouses’ property rights in the event of a divorce and also provide an effective way for engaged couples to ensure that they are on the same page regarding property and finances before getting married. When a couple decides to address property and debt after they have already gotten married, they may choose to draft a postnuptial agreement.

Issues That Can Be Addressed by a Postnuptial Agreement

Postnuptial agreements are generally used to establish arrangements for how a married couple’s assets and debts should be handled if the marriage ends in divorce. In a postnuptial agreement, a spouse may specify that a certain asset is exempt from asset division during divorce so that they will not risk losing the property.

Spouses may choose to address issues of spousal maintenance in their postnuptial agreement as well. Sometimes called alimony or spousal support, spousal maintenance refers to the payments that a lesser earning spouse makes to the higher-earning spouse in order to mitigate the negative financial effects of divorce on the recipient spouse. Some spouses include a spousal maintenance payment arrangement that would go into effect if the marriage ends in divorce. Other spouses use their postnuptial agreement to waive their right to spousal maintenance entirely. Information about how retirement accounts and the marital home will be managed in the event of divorce are also commonly included in postnuptial agreements.

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