Recently, Kelly Clarkson filed for divorce from her husband, Brandon Blackstock, after nearly seven years of marriage. Clarkson is worth an estimated $45 million and is stating that she wants her prenuptial agreement enforced. Reportedly, the prenup outlines an arrangement for legal and physical joint custody of their children, and Clarkson is asking the court to terminate Blackstock’s right to ask for spousal support. The case was filed in a Los Angeles court, but would the court approve her requests if she filed in Illinois? How can you ensure that your premarital agreement is enforced in the Prairie State?
What Makes a Prenup Invalid in Illinois?
Generally speaking, premarital agreements in Illinois are enforceable as long as the agreement is in writing and both parties have willingly signed it. However, there are instances in which a premarital agreement may not be enforced. These include:...
No couple gets married thinking that they are going to divorce. Traditionally, the top reasons marriages fail have been considered to be mishandling money, marrying too young and suffering a loss of identity; however, a recent study found that those are no longer the most common reasons for divorce. Below are the three most common reasons why modern couples choose to end their marriage, according to the study:
Lack of Love and Intimacy
No matter how passionate a relationship is at the beginning of a marriage, this passion tends to diminish over time. This is normal and happens to many couples. However, intimacy is still an important part of marriage and includes much more than just what happens in the bedroom. When couples reach the point where they experience fewer acts of affection, including holding hands, kissing or even calling or texting just to express one’s love, this may be a sign that divorce is on the horizon.
Communication is extremely important in a marriage. A couple must be able to not only talk to each other about everyday life, but also the big and small problems that may crop up during their marriage. Although different styles of communication are not necessarily a sign that a couple is going to divorce, each spouse will want to understand the other’s style of communication so he or she can adequately respond to it. In addition, both spouses should understand that talking and listening are equally important....
Sadly, substance abuse is prevalent in the United States and is the cause of many divorces. When one spouse abuses drugs or alcohol, this can make life very difficult for the other spouse. A family may struggle financially because one spouse has used marital funds to buy drugs or alcohol, and the abusive behavior of an addict may cause other family members to fear for their safety. These are just two of the issues that may present themselves in a marriage involving an addicted spouse.
Before filing for divorce, many people only focus on how different their lives will be once the divorce is finalized. However, it is just as important to realize how substance abuse can affect the divorce process.
A judge will certainly consider substance abuse problems when determining how to allocate parental responsibility (formerly known as child custody in Illinois). A judge’s main consideration is always what is in the best interests of the child. If a parent has a substance abuse problem, the judge may feel that he or she is not able to properly care for a child. In fact, when the abuse is significant, it could endanger the child....
A non-custodial parent who is ordered by a judge to pay child support may experience feelings of contempt and hostility toward his or her former partner. These strong emotions do not necessarily occur because a parent does not want to provide financially for his or her children, but they often result from a loss of control over one’s finances. With no way of knowing what those child support payments are being used for, a parent may worry about whether they are actually going toward the daily living expenses of the child or are being used to pay for other costs incurred by the custodial parent. A non-custodial may also wonder why he or she may be required to pay additional expenses as part of his or her child support obligations. So, what does child support actually pay for?
Basic Child Support Obligations
In Illinois, all parents have a legal obligation to provide for their children financially until the time a child turns 18. This support is meant to provide for the basic living expenses of the child, including food, clothing, housing and other basic needs. Essentially, child support payments are meant to provide for the child’s needs in a way that replicates a two-parent household. However, in addition to this basic support obligation, non-custodial parents may also be required to provide additional financial support that meets children’s other needs.
Additional Child Support Obligations
While a basic child support obligation is meant to provide for a child’s daily living expenses, Illinois law outlines four categories for additional child support above and beyond the basic obligation:...
When parents are divorced, the death of a parent can create a number of difficulties. If the deceased ex-spouse was the custodial parent, this will likely mean that the other parent will have more parenting time with their child. However, it is important to understand how Illinois courts address child custody in cases in which a parent dies.
The Courts Are Generally in Favor of the Surviving Parent
When a custodial parent dies, and the courts need to reassign custody of children (known as “allocation of parental responsibilities” in Illinois), they will generally give preference to the surviving parent. The court will typically assume that the surviving parent has a greater interest in the care, custody and control of the child than anyone else. This will generally hold true even when another person, such as a grandparent or stepparent, asserts rights over the child....
When Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker announced a proposal for his new tax plan in Illinois, he sparked debate throughout the state. Some praised what Pritzker called the fair tax law, saying it would only tax the rich and provide more money for low to middle wage earners. However, others have pointed to a major flaw in the proposal, and those opposed to it say it is going to hurt one more group: married couples.
The Marriage Penalty Under Fair Tax Law
Traditionally, when a couple jointly files their state or federal taxes, they file in separate tax brackets from those that file individually, allowing them to take advantage of tax savings. However, whenever two earners of the same household owe more taxes by filing jointly instead of separately, it is considered a marriage penalty. The new tax law proposed by Governor Pritzker does not provide different brackets that allow couples to reap more savings. Instead, couples are likely to owe higher taxes.
Under the proposed new tax law, when filing separately, each of the spouses’ first $10,000 earned is taxed at 4.75 percent. The next $90,000 earned is taxed at a rate of 4.9 percent. However, when a couple is married and filing jointly, the very first dollar made from the second income is taxed at an even higher rate of 4.95 percent....
Divorces can be contentious. The end of a marriage means separating two lives and involves many major decisions, from spousal and child support to property division. There are plenty of issues on which spouses can disagree, but when a divorcing couple can reach a compromise on as much as possible, they can save significant amounts of time and money.
An uncontested divorce means that the spouses reached an agreement on all the issues before beginning the divorce process, including property division, alimony, child support, child custody and parenting time. Uncontested divorces are both simpler and faster than contested divorces....
The divorce has been finalized; the property divided, and you and your ex-spouse have moved on to the next phase of your lives. There may be one thing you forgot though, something neither of you will remember until it is too late: updating the beneficiary designations on your retirement accounts and life insurance policies.
Most people designate their spouse as the beneficiary of retirement benefits and life insurance proceeds, and then promptly forget about it. Or they may think that the divorce automatically revoked the now ex-spouse’s right to receive these assets at death. In Illinois, this could be a costly mistake. Failure to update your beneficiary designations following a divorce, or failure to include specific waiver of these rights in the divorce decree, can result in your ex-spouse getting the assets at your death.
Automatic Revocation of Estate Plan After Illinois Divorce...
Divorce is an unfortunate fact of life. Couples realize they are no longer compatible and agree to go their separate ways. For some couples, however, whether due to religious, health or financial reasons, divorce is not an option. Yet they are still incompatible and can no longer live together. For these couples, Illinois provides legal separation.
What is Legal Separation?
Legal separation is more than what is commonly referred to as a “trial” separation. In a trial or physical separation, couples live apart while trying to decide if they should get divorced. There is no payment of alimony, no child support or custody agreement, no property division, and the Court is not involved....
More than a quarter century ago, George Strait, an American country recording artist, released one of his most popular songs, All My Ex's Live in Texas. What may have been lyrical for Mr. Strait does not necessarily hit the high notes for the rest of U.S. divorcees.
Recently reported by The Huffington Post, Texas did not even rank in the top 10 states that may sway your marital success. The American Community Survey (ACS) ranked the following cities and their respected states as possibly hazardous to your wedded bliss:
|1||Panama City, Florida|
|2||Sierra Vista, Arizona|
|3||Charleston, West Virginia|
|8||Palm Bay, Florida|
|10||Grand Junction, Colorado|
Texas may be off the hook, but for those couples residing in Panama City, Florida, or any of these top 10, perhaps a change in address may be a considerable option. So what about Illinois?...
Despite implementation of tougher domestic violence laws in the past two decades, each year thousands of Illinois residents are victimized. In 2013, Illinois domestic violence programs served 44,318 adults and 8,168 children. Illinois child custody laws consider the presence of domestic violence when making an award of custody. Unfortunately, this means that some parents will make false allegations of abuse in an attempt to gain custody.
If you are in the midst of a child custody case that involves domestic violence allegations (whether you are the victim or the victim of false allegations), you need an experienced Palatine child custody attorney who understands the dynamics of domestic violence and the potential implications on your case.
Domestic Violence as Best Interest of the Child Factor...
While filing for a divorce is never easy, there are several things that you can do to make the process easier. According to Forbes magazine, you can give yourself a significant advantage in a divorce proceeding by filing first.
Being first to file for divorce has a few legal advantages in Illinois. Firstly, if you and your spouse have been separated and live in different counties, filing first allows you to have the divorce decided in the jurisdiction where you reside. Additionally, it allows you to be the first person to present your case at trial, if you should choose to do so.
Choosing to be the first to file for a divorce has several other serious advantages as well. First of all, you can assemble a file with copies of all of your important paperwork, including bank and income statements for both you and your spouse. This may prevent your spouse from attempting to hide assets later. It also allows you the time you need to prepare for the financial impact that divorce will have on your life, as well as save the funds you will need to hire your qualified divorce team....
Filing for divorce is almost always a difficult and time-consuming process for all parties involved. When the parties cannot agree on various terms and conditions necessary to the finalization of the divorce, such as how to divide assets, child support, and child custody issues, emotions can get hot. The “traditional” divorce involves litigating the matter within the court system. The process of traditional litigation ultimately means that crucial decisions are made by a judge, and not by the individual parties. In addition, a litigated divorce is often more costly and time-consuming than one settled through other channels.
As a result of these challenges, many couples are now choosing to turn to mediation to settle the issues that accompany any divorce, including division of marital assets, benefits from pension funds, maintenance, issues regarding child support, custody, and visitation.
Divorce Mediation in Illinois...