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Posted on in Divorce

Wheaton IL divorce attorneyFor many people, their name is a crucial part of their identity. Recently, it has become more common for women to keep their birth name when getting married to maintain this part of their identity. Those who do take their spouse’s name in marriage may wish to change it back if the marriage ends in a divorce.

Legally changing your name after a divorce is a valid option. However, there may also be disadvantages to doing so; for example, if you are professionally known by your spouse’s last name, or if you share the name with your children from the marriage. It may be easier to wait on changing your name legally until after you are retired or your children have started lives of their own. It is important to know that there are no legal requirements to change your name when getting married or divorced; it is a matter of personal preference.

Including a Name Change in the Divorce Process

To return your name to what it was before, the easiest way is to include the name change request in your divorce filing. This is then signed by the judge as part of the final divorce agreement. You may be asked to explain why you wish for a change of name to ensure there is no malicious intent in regards to fraud. An amendment to your divorce petition can be filed if you decide to change your name after your initial filing.

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Wheaton family lawyerMost people have heard of prenuptial agreements, but many consider them something that happens in Hollywood or with other wealthy couples. However, there are quite a few ways in which an “ordinary” couple could benefit from drafting and signing a prenuptial agreement. While you may think that you will never split up, the reality is that a substantial number of all marriages—up to 40 percent or more, according to some estimates—end in divorce.

What is the Purpose of a Prenuptial Agreement?

A prenuptial agreement is primarily a formal way for a couple to decide how their property and assets should be split up in the case of a divorce. As such, it is somewhat like a property settlement that is agreed to before anyone is even thinking about filing for a divorce. It is important to keep in mind that a prenuptial agreement can also address concerns, such as investments and life insurance, that may be applicable during the marriage as well.  

Individuals with property, a business, or a potential inheritance often want to make sure these assets do not become marital property. A prenuptial agreement is one way for both spouses to keep the property they bring into the marriage separate. In a prenup, you can also choose to designate certain assets as marital property, even if they would otherwise be considered non-marital.

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Posted on in Divorce

attorney, DuPage County family lawyersWhen you are preparing for a divorce, parental responsibilities proceeding, or any other matter of family law, the attorney you choose can absolutely affect the outcome of your case. You need a lawyer who is not only knowledgeable and well-versed in the law, but also shares your values and who can incorporate them in advocating on your behalf. To find the right attorney, you will need to consider a number of factors. Before making a final decision, interview several potential candidates and do not be afraid to ask lots of questions such as:

What is your experience?

Does the attorney practice primarily family law or is he or she a personal injury lawyer that sometimes handles divorce cases? The level of commitment you can expect is often evident in the answer to this question.

How many cases do you handle and how many go to trial?

Some attorneys thrive on litigation, while others see the courtroom as a battlefield of last resort. A high rate of litigated cases can mean one of two things: the attorney accepts a large number of clients who stubbornly refuse to negotiate; or the lawyer may struggle with finding mutually acceptable solutions.

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prenuptial agreement, DuPage County family law attorneyThere was a time when many thought prenuptial agreements were only for rich celebrities or those who did not have faith in the longevity of their marriage. Today, people realize that prenuptial agreements are not only vital assets in the unfortunate event that a couple splits up or a spouse passes away, but are also tools which can help married couples manage their financial responsibilities while they are still married as well. When creating a prenuptial agreement, one must be careful to draft it in such a way that it holds up in court. Making certain mistakes within a prenuptial agreement can cause it to be considered invalid. In this case, the mandates set forth in the document will not be followed and the document will have been created in vain.

Dishonesty Regarding Assets

One of the major requirements of a valid prenuptial agreement is total transparency with regard to all assets, properties and debts. If a person enters into a prenuptial agreement but does not disclose all of his or her financial information or attempts to hide assets, the document may become useless. If a couple is divorcing and one spouse proves that the other was fraudulent in his or her financial reporting, the prenuptial agreement cannot be used to make decisions regarding spousal maintenance, property division, or family-owned businesses.

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QILDRO, Wheaton Family Law AttorneysPensions are big money in the state of Illinois. Virtually every public sector employee contributes to one of the state’s 17 pension funds, and almost all police and fire departments have locally administered pension funds. Illinois courts have long held that, in most cases, a pension is marital property that can be distributed to a former spouse in a divorce. However, merely stating that a former spouse is entitled to half of a pension is legally insufficient. The parties must enter a Qualified Illinois Domestic Relations Order (QILDRO) with the court.

What is a QILDRO?

A QILDRO can be incorporated into a marital settlement agreement, or may exist as a separate document. The QILDRO must contain the caption of the divorce case and the name of the pension systems to which the public sector employee belongs. QILDROs can contain either exact dollar amounts or percentages. If the parties opt to include percentages, a separate QILDRO calculation order must be submitted to the court that determines what share of the pension the former spouse will receive.

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