Tag Archives: marital property

What You Need to Know About Prenuptial Agreements in Illinois

DuPage County family law attorney for prenupsPrenuptial agreements are often associated with very wealthy individuals, and people who seek a prenup may be seen as believing that their marriage will not last. Because of this, a stigma was attached to these agreements, but this has changed over time, and prenuptial agreements are becoming more and more common.

When Is a Prenuptial Agreement Appropriate?

Nowadays, it is routine for marrying couples to discuss, agree to, and sign a prenuptial agreement before they exchange marriage vows and seal their marriage. A prenuptial agreement may be appropriate in a variety of situations, including:

  • One spouse has significantly more assets than the other spouse. In this case, it behooves the spouse with significantly more assets to have a prenuptial agreement in place to protect against the incidental or deliberate inclusion of their assets as marital property in a potential divorce. Ordinarily, assets obtained before a couple’s marriage are considered non-marital property and therefore not subject to division or sharing after divorce.

  • One spouse has children from a previous marriage. It would be prudent for the spouse with children from a previous relationship to ensure assets they owned prior to the marriage are preserved for those children in the event the second or subsequent marriage does not last.

  • Either or both spouses wish to preserve their sanity and civility in the event of divorce. The disputes involved in the end of a marriage can become expensive and litigious, especially in high asset and complex divorce cases. One way to minimize these expenses and keep things simple is to have a prenuptial agreement. This can allow a couple to resolve issues ahead of time and avoid the need for litigation in court, saving both parties time and money. This can also provide a couple with peace of mind that they can amicably address these financial and economic issues in a potential divorce.

Is a Prenuptial Agreement Enforceable in Illinois?

Generally, yes, so long as the agreement is signed by both parties. The only exception would be terms related to child support, parenting time, and parental responsibilities. In those situations, the judge will decide the issues based on what is in the best interests of the child, not the parents.

A prenuptial agreement, however, cannot be enforced in Illinois if it is determined that the agreement was obtained by fraud or duress, or if it is unconscionable. Fraud is established if one spouse lied or concealed his or her assets at the time the prenuptial agreement is signed. Duress is established if it is shown that one of the spouses was induced by a wrongful act of the other to sign the prenuptial agreement. Such wrongful act can be found to be something as subtle as the other spouse not having the opportunity to consult with an attorney prior to signing the agreement. Unconscionability is established when the prenuptial agreement is oppressively and unreasonably one-sided.

Contact a DuPage County Prenuptial Agreement Lawyer

It can be difficult for a person to ensure that a prenup is legal and valid without the assistance of an attorney who understands the relevant Illinois laws. If you are planning to create a prenuptial agreement before getting married, our knowledgeable Wheaton, IL family law attorneys are ready to give you legal advice and help you create an agreement that follows Illinois laws and provides you with the protection you need. To schedule a free consultation, call 630-871-1002 today.




How Are a Couple’s Assets Divided in an Illinois Divorce?

Wheaton, IL divorce lawyer for asset divisionWhile some people who get married may be doubtful that the marriage will last, the expectation for nearly all couples who marry is that their marriage will last a lifetime.

However, the reality of marriage in America is that more than 22 percent of first marriages end in divorce within five years, and 53 percent of marriages dissolve by the 20-year mark, according to the latest available data from the government. No matter the length of a marriage, one common issue that often arises during divorce is how to handle the division of marital property.

What Constitutes Marital Property?

The first question to determine when addressing property division is what is considered marital property as defined under Illinois law. The law defines marital property as “all property acquired by either spouse subsequent to the marriage.” Examples of common marital property include physical possessions such as homes, automobiles, and other assets of value. Marital property also includes monetary assets such as retirement accounts like 401(k)s or IRAs, pensions, stocks and bonds, and life insurance benefits.

By this definition of marital property, all property one owns before marriage is non-marital property, and therefore, these assets are not subject to division. Likewise, all property acquired after the marriage ends, including after a legal separation, is considered non-marital property. There are, however, exceptions to this rule. For example, property given as a gift or inheritance to one of the spouses may be considered non-marital property, even when obtained during a marriage.

How Marital Property Is Divided in Illinois

Once the court determines what is and is not marital property, the next issue to address is how the property should be divided. In Illinois, marital property is equitably divided, meaning that the court determines what is a fair and equitable distribution of the property between the spouses.

This means that the combined value of your marital property will largely determine whether the resolution of your marital property division issues will be simple or complex. Even in simple cases that do not involve significant assets or high incomes for either or both spouses, things can get complicated. For example, it may be the case that your spouse has been hiding assets from you, and you may not know this unless you get help from an experienced attorney or financial advisor. On the other hand, your spouse could have racked up debts during your marriage without your knowledge. Such debts are also subject to equitable distribution, and this could complicate what one would assume to be a simple division of the assets owned by a couple.

Contact a Wheaton Marital Property Division Lawyer

Whether you expect to have a simple or complex property division case, the Andrew Cores Family Law Group is here to help ensure you get what you are entitled to under Illinois law. A knowledgeable DuPage County asset division attorney can help you understand the marital property division laws and guide you through the process. We will ensure that you are not saddled with improper liabilities after your marriage and that you do not miss out on getting your fair share of the marital assets. To schedule a free consultation, call 630-871-1002 today.





How Is Student Loan Debt Handled During Divorce?

DuPage County debt division attorneyIn 2017, the average student loan debt for graduates was over $37,000, which would amount to more than $45,000 when paid over 10 years with an average interest rate. This is a considerable amount of money. Graduate degrees are even more costly; the average student with a graduate degree has over $84,000 in debt, while the average medical school student has an astounding sum of $246,000 of debt. Many spouses may wonder what happens to this debt during divorce. This is a good question, because these debts can have a profound impact on a person’s life after finalizing the divorce process.

When the Loans Were Taken Out Before Marriage

If a student loan was procured before a couple was married, it will not be classified as marital property. Only marital property is divided during divorce. Non-marital property, such as bank accounts, real estate property, and debt, which was acquired before marriage remains the property and responsibility of that individual spouse. This means that if your wife took out $100,000 in law school loans before you were married, that debt will not become your responsibility after divorce.

Student Debt Acquired During Marriage

Everything changes when student loans are acquired during a marriage. However, simply because the debt is considered marital property does not mean that both spouses will be responsible for the debt. Many factors are taken into account when determining how to divide student debt, such as the following questions:

  • Which spouse profited from the education?

  • Did the non-debtor contribute to paying for the education or provide assistance in other ways, such as taking care of children while the debtor went to school?

  • How were the loans used? For example, did they cover housing as well as class fees?

  • What is the earning capacity of each spouse?

The spouse who went to school may end up being responsible for paying for all of their student loan debt after divorce based on how the above questions are answered. Depending on the circumstances and the decisions made during the divorce process, the other spouse may end up being responsible for paying off the debt as well.

A Wheaton Debt Division Attorney Can Help With Your Divorce

Distributing student loan debt during divorce can be exceedingly complicated. To ensure that your best interests are put at the forefront, you need an experienced DuPage County divorce attorney on your side. Call the Andrew Cores Family Law Group today at 630-871-1002 to schedule a free consultation.