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DuPage County family lawyersA discussion with your fiancé about the settlement of financial matters in the event of a divorce or death, through a premarital agreement, may not be romantic, but it can be a great idea. Some people choose to enter into premarital agreements in order to protect a wide range of property and assets. In other cases, if there are children from a previous relationship involved, the natural parent can request a premarital agreement to protect these children in case of the parent's death.

What is a Premarital Agreement?

Illinois law defines a premarital agreement as an agreement that is entered into by two people who expect to get married and is effective only if the couple marries. Many people refer to premarital agreements as prenuptial agreements, or prenups.

In a prenup, the couple can agree on how to deal with the following matters in case of divorce, or death:

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DuPage County family law attorney guardianship

Grandparents are often a valuable source of love and guidance in a child’s life. In some cases, grandparents may need to take on the role of the parents in their grandchild’s life. The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services reports that there are currently more than 100,000 Illinois grandparents caring for their grandchildren on a long-term basis. If you are a grandparent who is concerned about your grandchild’s well-being, you may be interested in obtaining guardianship of your grandchild. The process of gaining guardianship of a minor child is not always easy, but it can make a big difference to a child in need of a loving home.  

Grandparent Guardianship

There are several types of guardianships recognized by Illinois law. If you acquire “guardianship of the estate,” you will be authorized to manage your grandchild’s assets and make financial decisions on behalf of your grandchild. This type of guardianship may be necessary if the child’s parents have passed away and left him or her a substantial inheritance. “Guardianship of the person” allows you to take on a parenting role in your grandchild’s life. You would be responsible for your grandchild’s daily care and authorized to make decisions about his or her education, living arrangements, and healthcare. “Plenary guardianship” authorizes an individual to make decisions about the minor’s estate as well as his or her personal care. Guardianship may be permanent or temporary depending on the child’s needs and the circumstances of the case.

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DuPage County family law attorneysIn Illinois, divorcing parents who wish to share parental responsibilities and parenting time of their children must draft a document called a Parental Allocation Agreement or parenting plan. This agreement describes the official allocation of parental responsibilities, formerly called custody, and parenting time, formerly called visitation, between the two parents.

Typically, parenting agreements also contain information about how the child will be raised, how major decisions about the child’s life will be made, and provisions regarding any future proposed changes to the shared parenting arrangement. All Illinois parenting agreements must include a provision describing how “the right of first refusal” will apply to the parents. Read on to learn about this important provision as well as how the right of first refusal can affect the way you share parenting time of your child after an Illinois divorce.

Maximizing Each Parent’s Parenting Time

Except for in cases involving child abuse or other special circumstances, Illinois courts encourage parents to spend as much time with their children as possible. Many studies show that children are healthier and happier when both of their parents are actively involved in their life. In order to help parents maximize their parenting time in situations involving divorced or unmarried parents, Illinois parenting agreements include a provision called the right of first refusal. This provision states that when a parent cannot fulfill his or her parenting time obligation, they must contact the other parent to see if the other parent wishes to have the child stay with them.

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Wheaton family law attorneyIn Illinois, when a married couple has a baby, the husband of the woman who gave birth to the child is presumed to be the father of that child. However, when an unmarried couple has a child together, this presumption is not made. The process through which an unmarried father becomes the legal parent of a child is called “establishing paternity” or establishing parentage. If you wish to establish paternity of your child in Illinois, read on to learn how.

Benefits of Establishing Paternity

There are a multitude of benefits to establishing paternity. A father who has become the legal parent of his child gains the right to pursue parenting time, or visitation, with the child and develop a loving parent-child relationship. In some situations, the father may also be able to obtain legal custody or parental responsibilities of the child. While courts rarely take custody or parental responsibilities away from an established parent unless that parent has shown to be abusive, neglectful, or otherwise unfit to parent, a legal father could start by asking for a share of the parenting responsibilities.

Establishing paternity also ensures that the father is the first point of contact for the child if a tragedy occurred, such as the mother’s death or serious accident. Fathers who are established as the legal parent of their child are usually obligated to pay child support. If an unmarried mother wishes to pursue child support from the child’s father, he must be formally established as the child’s legal parent first.

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Wheaton divorce lawyersDespite the romantic notion of “love at first sight,” a happy, healthy relationship does not develop overnight. It takes years of love and commitment by both partners. Likewise, very few marriages and long-term relationships fall apart all at once. Instead, in most cases, the partners begin growing apart over time as the health of the marriage deteriorates. In some situations, there may be a precipitating event—such as an episode of infidelity—that leads to a divorce, but, according to relationship experts, a struggling marriage is likely to be the result of much less dramatic, but just as serious, interpersonal issues.

Marriage and family therapists have a fairly good grasp of the problems facing unhappy couples. Some of the most common issues that ultimately lead to the breakdown of a marriage include:

Dying Curiosity

When you first dated your spouse, every conversation was exciting. You could hardly wait to learn more about him or her, what things they liked and did not like, and who they were as a person. As time goes on, couples begin to get bored, and each partner may feel like they are losing their unique identity. Experts suggest continuing to ask questions and to explore one another’s feelings and perspectives, no matter how long you have been together.

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St. Charles, IL 60174
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From our law office in Wheaton, IL the family law and civil litigation law attorneys of Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick and Mirabella, represent businesses and individual clients throughout the western suburbs of Chicago, Illinois including Wheaton, Naperville, Oak Brook, Glen Ellyn, Carol Stream, Lombard, Downers Grove, Burr Ridge, Lisle, Elmhurst, Oakbrook Terrace, Winfield, Woodridge, Warrenville and throughout DuPage, Kane and Kendall Counties.

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In honor of the passing of our founder, Joseph F. Mirabella, Jr., our offices are closed Friday, January 31, 2020.I Agree