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Posted on in Adoption

St. Charles IL adoption lawyerChoosing to adopt a child is a truly life-changing decision for all involved, and in order to ensure it goes successfully, it is important that you have an attorney who understands what is at stake. The adoption process can be very complex, even for legal professionals, and there are certain questions that you should ask in order to ensure you get a knowledgeable attorney who is equipped to handle it.

#1: What Is Your Background in Adoption Law

This is perhaps the most important question to ask. The process can be complicated for anyone, even those with experience, especially for certain types of adoption that may require you and your attorney to work with an international agency or biological parents who seek to contest the adoption. These challenges can be significant roadblocks for an inexperienced attorney.

#2: What Types of Adoption Do You Handle?

There are multiple types of adoptions, including related, private, open, agency-assisted, and others. Some attorneys prefer not to work with adoption agencies, and others may not handle adoptions from specific countries. It is important to ask about this upfront, so that you know whether the attorney will be able to handle your case..

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Kane County alimony lawyerIn today’s world, many married couples rely on two incomes to live comfortably. Getting a divorce means you are no longer using two incomes to pay bills, as you will likely have to make ends meet with your paycheck alone. For some, this may not be a big deal, but for others, it can make supporting themselves very difficult. This is where spousal maintenance could be very helpful. 

Also known as spousal support or alimony, spousal maintenance is either established by an agreement between the spouses or ordered by a judge based on the circumstances of the situation. Maintenance is typically used to allow both spouses to continue a reasonably similar quality of life compared to what they had when they were married.

Factors in Determining Alimony

Spousal maintenance is not guaranteed in all Illinois divorce cases. Absent an agreement between the parties, spousal maintenance will only be awarded when it is needed to make a divorce settlement more equitable. When making determinations about spousal maintenance, the judge will examine the marriage and divorce and will use a specific set of factors to make a decision.

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St. Charles IL divorce attorneyWith so many attorneys in practice in the United States, it is important for potential clients to know how to weed out those who will fight for them from those who simply want to look busy. It can be very helpful to come into an attorney’s office with a list of questions to ask and to know which answers you want to hear. Divorce is one of the most stressful events most people will experience, and ensuring you have a quality attorney on your side can make an enormous difference. Some important questions to ask include:

#1. What Is Your Experience Level?

While some people think family law is a “safe” or easy discipline, it is in fact extraordinarily complex. In Illinois, it is arguably more so, as many rules and laws do not necessarily align with those of other states. It can be a game-changer—for the worse—if your attorney does not have significant family law experience, as regulations frequently change and the stakes in these cases tend to be very high. 

#2. Will You Handle My Case Personally?

It is sadly common for attorneys to bait and switch, highlighting the most experienced or reliable member of their firm to land a case, and then delegating most of the work to a junior associate or even a paralegal or other staffer without a law degree. If an attorney is evasive as to whether or not they will be personally handling your case, it is rarely a good sign. 

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St. Charles IL prenuptial agreement lawyerMany people are familiar with prenuptial agreements—or prenups—and the pros and cons associated with them. However, what most do not know is that they can actually be quite complex and address much more than standard asset division. They are also not as ironclad as popular culture paints them to be. It is imperative that before you enter into a prenuptial agreement, you have a good understanding of exactly how they work.

What to Include and Leave Out

Among the primary reasons that couples choose to enter into a prenup are to protect one spouse from the consequences of the other’s debt, or to ensure that provisions are made for the children of a previous marriage. Inheritance laws in most states do not differentiate between the children of a current marriage or a previous relationship, so if there was a promise to, for example, save a personal item for a child of one’s first marriage, it can be advantageous to note that in a prenup. Prenuptial agreements are legally binding, unless it can be proved that the agreement is unenforceable.

With this rationale for entering into a prenup, it is perhaps not surprising that prenuptial agreements, at their most basic, are about money. The provisions you include should almost exclusively deal with financial matters. A prenup is not the place to discuss future child custody or who should take the trash out every day. While asset division is usually thought to fall under the area of divorce law, earmarking certain items in a prenup is perfectly legal and will help to control the situation if there is a question of inheritance. It is also important to note that Illinois and the other states that have ratified the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (UPAA) explicitly ban any provisions being made for child support in the event of divorce, but they do permit most provisions regarding spousal support to stand. 

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St. Charles property division lawyerMost of the decisions you make during your divorce can and probably will affect you for the rest of your life, but one of the most important decisions you and your spouse must come to is how you will divide your marital estate. For many couples, this can be an emotional and highly contentious process because of the importance placed on their belongings and the need to have financial security after the divorce process has been completed. The way marital property is divided can affect a person’s financial stability or even their ability to retire later in life. With so much at stake, Illinois courts urge couples to try to come to an agreement on their own about property division, though, if they cannot, they will have to take the issue to court.

Factors for Consideration

If a couple is unable to reach an agreement about how their marital estate will be divided, they will have to appear before a judge so that he or she can make a determination for them. If this happens, the judge will only make decisions about marital property, which means most property that was acquired after the couple was legally married but before a judgment of legal separation was entered. The judge will consider a variety of factors, including:

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