Posted on in Postnuptial Agreements

DuPage County family law attorneyPrenuptial agreements are becoming more common in Illinois marriages. However, many people have never heard of a postnuptial agreement. Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are actually quite similar; the main difference is that a prenuptial agreement takes place before a wedding, and a postnuptial agreement happens after the wedding has already happened.

If a couple is already married, it may seem odd to write a postnuptial agreement. But often, engaged couples are so busy planning the wedding that the less exciting financial elements of their relationship take a backseat. A postnuptial agreement is a way to address those issues that may have been overlooked during the honeymoon stage.

What is the Purpose of a Postnuptial Agreement?

Just like a prenup, a postnuptial agreement is a legal contract wherein spouses agree ahead of time on the way certain things will be addressed during the marriage and in the event of a divorce. One way postnuptial agreements do this is by determining what was “premarital property” – assets owned by only one spouse before the marriage – and what is “marital property” – assets acquired by both spouses during the course of the marriage.

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DuPage County child custody attorneyMost parents who get a divorce in Illinois settle on a schedule for sharing parental responsibilities for their child. When the divorce first happens, courts will help parents draft a parenting plan known as a Parental Allocation Agreement.

These agreements outline the duties and responsibilities of each parent, including which home a child will spend some or all of their time in, special arrangements for holidays and other occasions, and decision-making for things such as the child’s education, religious instruction, and healthcare.

Parenting plans can also contain a provision regarding a concept called “the right of first refusal.” In this post, we will discuss what the right of first refusal is, how it is meant to help children, and how it will affect your responsibilities as a parent.

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DuPage County child support attorneyOnce an Illinois divorce decree is final, child support payments become a legally binding obligation. In addition to the devastating consequences a lack of timely payments can have on a family’s financial needs, there are serious legal consequences for failing to pay child support. Spouses cannot simply agree to re-negotiate child support themselves; any modifications to child support must be made by a court order.

The paying parent may fall behind on child support payments because of a change in their financial situation, or because they simply stop paying. Regardless of the reason, recovering unpaid child support can be a frustrating and time-consuming endeavor. Fortunately, there is legal recourse available for parents who need to recover past child support payments.

Legal Consequences

The State of Illinois takes the welfare of children very seriously. There is a specific law, called the Non-Support Punishment Act, that lists several behaviors for which a non-paying parent may face criminal charges. According to this law, a person can be held accountable for failure to support if he or she has the ability to provide the support and does one of the following:

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b2ap3_thumbnail_fathers-child-custody-parental-responsibilities-illinois.jpgIn our last post, we discussed some common issues unmarried fathers confront when they are trying to obtain custody of their child in Illinois. Whether they were previously married to their child’s other parent or not, all fathers seeking custody will have to show that they can act in the best interests of their child.

Research on the benefits of fathers being involved in the lives of their children is overwhelming, and Illinois courts are more willing than ever to allow both parents to have a presence in the life of a child, as long as it will be in the child’s best interests. Here, we look at some things you can do to increase your chances of winning custodial responsibilities for your child.

Build a Relationship with the Child

Building relationships with children takes time and effort. After divorce or separation, children may be angry or withdrawn. Stick with your child and make a sincere, ongoing effort to connect with them in a loving and supportive way. If you have a clear record of communicating with your child, you will not only be more likely to get custody, you will be more likely to have a positive relationship with your child.

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Wheaton IL child custody attorneyIn Illinois and America in general, the legal system has a tarnished history of awarding child custodial rights to mothers more than to fathers. In the past, a legal principle known as the “tender years doctrine” assumed that, especially during a child’s youngest years, the mother should automatically have custody. As a result, it has often proved difficult for fathers to get full custody of their children, even when the mother’s caregiving capabilities are compromised.

Fortunately, courts and society at large have gotten much better at recognizing how important of a role fathers play in the nurturing and well-being of their children. The “tender years” doctrine has been replaced by the “best interests of the child” doctrine when deciding which parent should have custody. Social research supports the idea that a child’s interests are best served when both parents are involved in his or her life.

Unmarried Fathers Must Establish Parentage

Fathers still face unique challenges in obtaining full or partial parental responsibility for a child, and this is especially true when a father is not married to a child’s mother. Of course, establishing who is the biological mother of a child is easy to do. And when fathers are married, they are legally assumed to be the father of a child.

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