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Posted on in Divorce

marriage rights, Illinois family law, Illinois divorce attorney, St. Charles family law attorney, Marriage bestows certain rights and responsibilities upon spouses. These marriage rights can vary based on where you marry and whether or not your jurisdiction even allows you to marry (for example, while same-sex marriage is now legal in Illinois, it is not allowed in numerous states). Illinois sets forth a couple’s rights in the Rights of Married Persons Act, including:

  1. Right to sue and be sued: A married person may sue or be sued without joining his or her spouse as a party in the lawsuit. Spouses may also sue one another for any tort (a civil wrong) committed during the marriage.
  2. Defense in own right or for the other: If the spouses are sued jointly, either party may defend in his or her own right. Furthermore, if one spouse decides not to defend himself, the other spouse may defend for them both.
  3. Spouse desertion: If either spouse deserts the family, the other spouse may prosecute or defend, in the deserting spouse’s name, any action that the deserter might have prosecuted or defended.
  4. Recovery of damages: If one spouse commits a civil injury, damages are collected from that spouse alone. The innocent spouse is only responsible for the damages if he or she would be held jointly responsible if the marriage did not exist.
  5. Debts incurred before marriage: Neither spouse is liable for any debts or liabilities that the other spouse incurred before marriage. They are also not liable for the other spouse’s separate debts.
  6. Earnings: A married person may receive, use and possess his (or her) own earnings and sue for those earnings in his (or her) own name, free from his (or her) spouse’s interference or interference from his spouse’s creditors.
  7. Property: Not all property held by a married person is considered marital property (belonging to both spouses). For example, if a married person obtains real or personal property by descent or gift, that property belongs to the individual and not to the marriage.
  8. Unlawful possession of non-marital property: If a spouse unlawfully obtains possession of the other spouse’s non-marital property, the property owner may initiate a legal action against that spouse.
  9. Attorney in fact: A spouse may consider the other spouse to be his or her attorney in fact in order to dispose of property for their mutual benefit.
  10.  Removal of children: Generally, neither spouse can remove their children from the home without the other spouse's consent. (“Removal” does not apply to routine comings and goings, such as running errands or going to school.)  If one spouse abandons the family, however, the abandoned spouse gets custody of the minor children and does not need the other spouse's consent to move the family elsewhere.
If you have questions pertaining to marriage rights – whether the question concerns a joint or separate legal battle, the disposition of marital property or something else entirely – contact one of our experienced St. Charles family law attorneys today.
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prenuptial agreement, prenup, premarital agreement, Illinois family lawyer, marriage“The Other Woman,” an upcoming Hollywood feature about infidelity, stars some of America’s most celebrated celebrities. The film’s cast includes Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann of “This is 40” and “Knocked Up,” supermodel Kate Upton, and pop singer and rapper Nicki Minaj.

In a recent interview promoting the film and discussing its subject matter, Diaz made some controversial comments when she stated, “Everyone has been cheated on, or everyone will be cheated on.” Her remarks were taken by some to be another Hollywood denunciation of monogamous relationships. However, though Diaz has never been married and has no children, she has been involved in long-term relationships before. Now in her 40s, she says she is open to marriage. The comments also spurred discussion about changes in long-term family planning, particularly among women. Compared with past generations, many women today have chosen to start careers rather than settle down and start families. Additionally, advances in medicine have contributed to success with late pregnancies, and it is common today for women to wait until their mid 30s before thinking about having children. Ultimately, this means that many women have amassed more personal wealth and property by the time they get married. In these situations, prenuptial agreements can prove crucial. Consider Getting a Prenuptial Agreement A prenuptial agreement, or a prenup, may be the answer for people who wish to maintain their financial independence but who also want to commit to a partner in marriage. Many people already own real estate and have built significant savings by the time they decide to settle into a marriage. Others, who may be getting married for a second or third time, have now become more established in their finances, and may want to protect what they have earned. For example, when one spouse already owns a home that the new couple will move into, and that spouse wants to dedicate that home to the new family unit, an agreement could be reached where the home is to be considered marital property rather than pre-marital property. It would be divided as such in the case of a divorce. In another instance, if a spouse wants to start a business that he or she will operate independent of the other partner, then an agreement could be reached establishing the business as non-marital property. Thus, in the case of divorce, the other spouse will not be able to claim ownership. Strengthen a Prenup With Professional Legal Advice A prenuptial agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties. As with any contract, it can be voided if a court finds duress or undue influence. To ensure enforceability and to make sure you have considered all angles, it is helpful to consult with professionals who regularly deal with contracts and domestic relations. Better planning can lead to a better marriage, or a better life after marriage. Contact family attorneys at Goostree Law Group for such professional advice throughout the Chicago suburbs.
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Posted on in Family Law

child abuse, Illinois family lawyer, Kane County, child abuse, lawyer, attorneyA heartbreaking story of child abuse broke early this year, on January 21st 2014, when 6000 pages of allegations against 68 Chicago priests were released to the public. Of course, the problem of abuse in the Church did not just recently surface. Accounts of child abuse date back 500 years; one of the reasons cited for the Protestant Reformation includes Martin Luther’s dismay at questionable conduct he witnessed at the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church on his first pilgrimage there. In 1517, he traveled to Rome a devout follower of the Catholic faith, and he left determined to start a movement against it. Despite the sordid side of its history, the Catholic Church is certainly not the only institution involved in such indignity – other churches, schools, daycares, colleges, residential care facilities, and private homes have all had instances of abuse.

Legal Ramifications Even where abuse cases are reported years later, brave victims may receive some solace in the public acknowledgment of the crime, and the resulting formation of better practices to reduce the number of new victims. The allegations surrounding the Chicago incidents were published online as part of a settlement agreement between the Chicago Archdiocese of the Catholic Church and attorneys of the victims. Most of these cases of abuse occurred prior the 1990 and apparently all of them were eventually reported to authorities. Part of the outrage in Chicago, similar to the scandal surrounding Jerry Sandusky at Penn State, was based on how various authorities – specifically the hierarchy in the church – handled, or mishandled, reports as they came in. In order to protect individuals and the reputation of the church as a whole, officials chose to transfer offenders to new churches as a temporary solution, and cast a blind eye where possible. Friends and family members of victims have responded strongly to this organizational conspiracy however, and the criminal laws punishing perpetrators of child abuse are significant.

In addition to being registered in the sex offender registry, convicted sexual abusers of children in Illinois can receive considerable penalties, including:

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Posted on in Divorce

best interest of my child, family law, divorce, children of divorce, family lawyer, IllinoisThe 1990s sitcom “Married With Children” popularly spoofed how some parents act once they have dropped their dreams and started raising children. The caricatures in the Bundy cast resonated and the show lasted over 10 years, longer than many modern marriages.

Raising children is one of the most rewarding yet demanding parts of many marriages. The stresses of parenthood are often at the root of conflicts between spouses. At times, primary caretakers may feel robbed of their opportunity for a career or of the opportunity for at least one happy hour with friends again. Alternatively, a primary breadwinner may feel nagged or burdened by an unfulfilling job under the pressure to provide more and more security for a growing family. Both parents may feel guilty spending any time or money on something that does not involve the kids or other spouse. When these problems grow to seemingly unmanageable proportions, you may start to want out. At the same time, dissolving a marriage is proportionately harder when you have children. You do not want to hurt your kids, and you may dread the thought of splitting custody. Regardless of your specific situation, keep in mind that the underlying principle of all legal matters related to these issues is “the best interest of the child.”

 Who Gets To Decide What Is In The Best Interest Of My Child?

 The law in Illinois, in determining child custody after a split, involves a standard regarding the best interest of the child. But who gets to decide? Naturally you may not want the state telling you how to raise your own kids. Fortunately though, you and your spouse will have the first opportunity to come up with a plan.

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 marital home IMAGEOne of the most important issues facing spouses in a divorce involves their living arrangements.  Homeowners, unsurprisingly, must consider their legal rights upon the division of marital property such as the house and furniture.  However, renters must also consider their legal rights under their current lease for their rented home.

The Lease Is Marital Property

The home that spouses or families share is typically called the marital home or residence.  Types of marital homes can include, but are not limited to, single-family houses, attached homes, apartments, mobile homes, boats, and trailers. When the marital home is a rental property, spouses’ rights in that property are called a leasehold.  The leasehold, rather than the rented property, is what courts consider marital property to be divided upon divorce.  Accordingly, divorcing spouses may have to address lease rights in their divorce settlement documents that discuss the current lease and or future rental leases.

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