Tag Archives: marital debt

Contested Divorce – Two-Part Process

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois child custody attorney,When you think of how divorce is portrayed publicly, you may imagine bitter fights between two people who no longer can stand each other. There are many kinds of divorces, and this particular type is called a contested divorce.

Every state has different requirements for what entails a contested divorce, but it typically describes a situation when two people want to get divorced but do not agree to the terms. Under Illinois law, however, the following situations are considered contested divorces:

  • When one party is contesting the very attempt to divorce (i.e. one wants the divorce and the other does not);
  • When there is a disagreement over custody and a child’s living arrangement;
  • When the parties have differing views on spousal support or child support; and
  • When the parties disagree on how to divide the debts and assets.

To account for the fact that individuals may agree to some aspects but disagree to other aspects of the divorce, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act has created a bifurcated process in which to handle contested divorces. This means the divorce proceedings/trials are divided into two main parts. The first part deals with grounds or the reason for the divorce itself, while the second part addresses issues such as custody, alimony, debt allocation, etc.

Bifurcated Divorce Process

During the first part of the bifurcated divorce process, the parties have the opportunity to prove or disprove the grounds for divorce. If the court determines there is a grounds to divorce, it will move forward. Grounds for dissolution of marriage include mental or physical abuse, habitual drunkenness, excessive drug use, adultery, willful desertion for over one year, STD transmission, and attempted poisoning/harm.

Once the grounds for divorce are determined, the court will move onto the next set of issues, which typically entails child custody, spousal support, and asset/debt allocation. This can be an understandably heated process because it gets into the specifics of a separation and how it will practically impact you and your children’s lives for years to come. During this process you can request discovery from your spouse in order to investigate any and all financial issues that may be at issue. You can also call on individuals to testify at the divorce proceedings on issues such as custody.

Because contested divorces often take months or years to resolve, a court will frequently issue a temporary order that governs such pressing issues as child custody until the divorce is finalized. While this can also be subject to disagreement, typically the judge will limit time spent arguing on a temporary order because it is just that, temporary.

Our Attorneys Can Help

Contested divorces can be extremely messy. You will need an experienced DuPage County divorce lawyer who can represent your interests while moving the process along as quickly as possible. Do not hesitate to reach out to our office today to discuss your divorce.

Postnuptial Agreements May Help Your Marriage

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, marital tips,Many individuals have heard of a prenuptial agreement, but many couples are unaware of an arrangement known as a postnuptial agreement.

Postnuptial agreements are written and signed after you are married. A postnuptial agreement is a way for couples to look over their financial, family, and economic situation without the awkward pre-marital conversation that many recently engaged couples fear having. A postnuptial agreement provides an avenue in which to establish ownership of financial obligations and goals and how the couple will share the burden in the event of a death or divorce.

A postnuptial agreement can be a way of addressing concerns a couple may have once they are married. It helps the couple establish a concrete framework to divvy up the mortgage, savings, business, and household expenses. For example, if one spouse is burdened with heavy student loan or business debt, while simultaneously juggling a mortgage, a postnuptial agreement can create confidence in the marriage by entrenching a financial agreement.

What Can a Postnuptial Agreement Cover?

A postnuptial agreement often addresses or analyzes the following financial and legal issues, amongst others:

  • What property is jointly or individually held?
  • Who is paying off what debt?
  • How are job earnings allocated, especially if one party makes more than the other?
  • What will happen in the event of a death, disability, or divorce?
  • What are the priorities of the marriage?
  • How will the couple save up for a child’s education?
  • In the event of a death or disability, what is the estate plan?

 A postnuptial agreement is not the end all plan for a couple nor is it immune from a legal challenge in the event of dissolution of marriage, but it provides a strong foundation moving forward.

We Can Help You Today

The joy of getting married is an unforgettable experience, but making a marriage long-lasting is the challenge. The use of a postnuptial agreement may help in that effort. You will need an experienced attorney to help you draft and execute a fair and sustainable agreement. Please contact our experienced DuPage County family attorneys today to discuss your case and to learn how we may be of assistance.

Marital Debt in Divorce: Who Gets the House, Who Gets the Mortgage?

Illinios divorce attorney, Illinois family law attorney, asset division, debt division,One of the biggest questions that often comes with a divorce is “Who gets to keep the house?” Houses are often one of the most substantial assets a couple has, so it is understandable that the dispute over it gets a lot of focus. However, there is an aspect of dividing up the house that often gets overlooked, the mortgage. Marital property division also includes dividing up the marital debt, so couples going through divorce should be aware that the mortgage will need to be divided up as well. There are some general concerns people going through a divorce should be aware of, as well as special issues in the case of an underwater home, a problem plagues millions of U.S. households.

General Concerns

One of the most important things to understand with a mortgage division is that divorce does not actually affect a person’s contractual obligation to pay a debt. This means that when the court makes the mortgage one spouse’s obligation, the creditor can still pursue the other in the event that the first spouse fails to pay. Although, it is important to note that the spouse the court did not make responsible would have a recourse against the responsible spouse in court. Of course, if the responsible spouse is not paying their debts in the first place, that right may not be of much practical use.

One way of dealing with this problem is through a mortgage refinancing. Although not all people may qualify for a refinancing of their mortgage, it can help lower a person’s interest rate, and it can also take one spouse’s name off the mortgage in order to better reflect who is actually responsible for paying off the debt.

With a Home Underwater

In the event that a couple has a mortgage that is more than the value of their home, they have special things to think about in a divorce. One of the major questions is whether to keep the house or to simply sell it to pay down the debt. Of course, if the couple cannot afford the debt service, that decision may be made for them. If the couple can afford to keep paying the mortgage, there may be good reasons for one of them to keep the house. For instance, if the couple has children in a public school, keeping the house can help minimize the disruption in the children’s lives. Additionally, if the couple keeps the home, it is possible that its value may rise again, and it could turn out to be profitable. That possibility also necessitates determining how to divide up any proceeds of a future sale during the divorce.

Divorce proceedings often have many issues like this that people do not always think about. If you are considering filing for divorce and want to learn more about how it works, contact an experienced DuPage County divorce lawyer today.