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DuPage County divorce attorney financial hardshipGovernor Pritzker has extended the Illinois Stay-at-Home Order through the end of May, and it could potentially last even longer. While some states are phasing into opening more parts of their economies, Illinois remains focused on the safety of its residents, only allowing essential workers to work outside of their homes. As the unemployment claims keep rolling in, it might be easy to feel like the country, or at least the state, is in the midst of an economic recession or depression. How might this new economic reality in Illinois affect divorce rates?

The Many Potential Effects of a Recession on Divorce Rates

Will an economic recession decrease or increase divorce rates? While a strong case could be made for either outcome, the truth is that this is a nuanced issue. In studying divorce rates before, during, and after the last major recession over the last 10 to 15 years, researchers have found that there is no clear, substantial, and overwhelming data that supports either outcome. In many cases, the likelihood of divorce is dependent upon each family’s living situation. For example, divorce rates might increase as a result of a recession because:

  • Foreclosures, bankruptcies, and other financial stressors have taken a tremendous toll on the marriage.

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Wheaton cohabitation agreement attorneyThere are all sorts of reasons that couples may decide to live together without getting married. They might be opposed to marriage on some moral grounds, they could just want to try living together first before they officially “take the plunge,” or perhaps they simply do not want to deal with all the complications that come with marriage—from an overwhelming wedding to an array of legal and religious considerations. Whatever the case may be, there are plenty of people out there who cohabitate as unmarried partners. Unfortunately, living together does not grant you the same rights you would have as married spouses. In order to have some similar legal protections as you would if you were married, you would need to develop and sign a cohabitation agreement.

Cohabitation Agreement: Defined

A cohabitation agreement is a legal arrangement agreed to by both parties who live together. Couples who feel strongly enough about each other that they decide to live together may run the risk of losing some of the things that are protected through marriage. By signing a cohabitation agreement, a couple can receive similar protections for their property and finances that marriage offers.

Reasons to Get a Cohabitation Agreement As more couples are cohabiting before or instead of marriage, the idea of cohabitation agreements is becoming more appealing. Here are some major reasons to consider getting a cohabitation agreement if you live with your romantic partner:

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spousal support, DuPage County family law attorneysAs a general rule, when a couple gets divorced in Illinois, spousal support payments are ordered if one spouse’s income is significantly higher than the other’s, in the interest of equity. However, most of the time, these support payments are not intended to last forever. There are several different ways that spousal support is granted to a husband or wife, and modifications may be made after certain criteria have been fulfilled by the obligor or the obligee (or both), or in certain situations which are provided for in statutory law.

Rehabilitative Maintenance

One situation where spousal support is granted with the express intention that there will come a point when payments will slow or cease entirely is when one spouse requires temporary aid. It is still fairly common for Illinois couples to adhere to the old model of marriage where one spouse is the primary breadwinner and the other stays home with the children. As such, upon divorce, many homemakers have no income and outdated skills, and they cannot just jump back into the workforce. In these types of situations, a court may grant rehabilitative maintenance, also known as reviewable maintenance. This will last for a fixed period, determined by a number of factors, including the size of the income disparity, the length of the marriage, and whether or not any children were born of the marriage.

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Posted on in Cohabitation

cohabitation, Wheaton family law attorneysIt has been a source of confusion to the older generation that many young people in the United States have chosen either to not marry or to wait on marriage until later in life. It is true that there are some advantages to marrying aside from the obvious ones, such as streamlined tax preparation, but for many, there are perks to remaining single. Besides, many argue that they can obtain the best of both worlds via cohabitation, as long as an appropriate cohabitation agreement is signed and executed, so that both partners’ assets and rights are protected.

Do I Need A Cohabitation Agreement?

Not every cohabitating couple needs an agreement. Some do quite well without any kind of legal documentation of their relationship. The tradeoff, however, is that no assets of any kind may commingle, and one has no legal recourse regarding their partner’s assets if they predecease the other. Illinois does not recognize cohabitating couples as having any kind of legal relationship unless they have a valid cohabitation agreement. While being married may not be a couple’s first choice, if they want any legal rights to the fruits of their relationship, they must take definitive action.

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Posted on in Spousal Support

cohabitation, Wheaton divorce attorneyIn most cases, spousal maintenance is used as  a tool to help newly divorced people adapt from a two-income household to two single-income households. Eventually, maintenance ceases, usually after a financial goal or time limit is reached - however, in Illinois and a handful of other states, it can end earlier. Cohabitating after your divorce is final, in particular, can have unintended consequences.

A “Substantial Change in Circumstances”

Generally in Illinois, maintenance is ordered by the family court or agreed upon between the spouses. It will be granted to the spouse the court deems to be in the most need of it, based on a number of factors. Some of the most important include:

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