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Lake County and Cook County Divorce Law Blog

Late-life divorce: What has caused the increased rate?

Long ago, if your marriage was in trouble, you may have confided in a close family member or friend. On the other hand, chances are, especially if children were involved, you would simply keep your problems to yourself and do your best to endure the situation, hoping things would eventually improve between you and your spouse. Nowadays, rather than stay in an unhappy marriage, many Illinois spouses are more comfortable and confident seeking divorce.  

Numerous factors have prompted an increased rate of divorce for those who are age 50 or over. Ending a marriage late in life is colloquially known as "gray divorce," and the number of petitions older spouses have filed in court has reportedly doubled in the past 20 years. If you're among those who will seek a late-life divorce in 2019 or beyond, you may want to talk to someone you trust who has already navigated the process because gray divorce often presents challenges that younger couples don't necessarily encounter.  

Experienced Illinois attorneys help with property division

Many couples in Illinois often come to the decision that their marriage is no longer functional for all involved, including any children of the relationship. Often, a divorce is the best choice for a happier, more fulfilling life. However, the process and separating the financial lives of two people can be complicated. As such, many turn to Lois Kulinsky & Associates, Ltd. for guidance with property division.

First, a couple must determine what is marital property and what is considered non-marital property. Marital property is any wages or assets accumulated during the marriage; it is subject to division. Non-marital property is assets gained before the marriage but can also include gifts and inheritances that were not combined with marital property. These assets are not subject to divisions.

Low conflict resolutions to child custody, divorce issues

When divorce is portrayed in movies and television, it is often a dramatic hearing in a courtroom. While such a scenario does happen in Illinois in real life, litigation can ultimately complicate the process of creating a child custody plan and settling other divorce-related issues. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce the conflict in such proceedings.

When two people end their romantic relationship, they will continue to be linked if they have children together. While many people may think that litigation is the only option to settle such questions, the process often requires a person to attempt to provide potentially damaging information about their spouse. Unfortunately, this can make it difficult for parents to co-parent together in the future.

High asset divorce: Couple must sell high-dollar art collection

The end of a marriage in Illinois and across the country is almost always difficult. If that end is contentious, the negotiations that ensue can be even more challenging to resolve. This could especially be the case in a high asset divorce where stakes are much higher. Often, a judge must intervene as one has recently done in the highly contentious divorce of Harry and Linda Macklowe.

The couple married in 1959 when they were 20 and 21, respectively. At the time, neither one of them had assets that were considered significant. However, over the years, Harry invested in real estate to great success. From the beginning of their marriage, reports claim that the couple began collecting art. While estimates of their collection vary, some say that it is now worth $700 million.

Property division: Dividing a business during divorce

Many people in Illinois work hard to make the businesses that they own a success. This often involves a great deal of sacrifice -- of both finances and time. If a business owner is married, his or her spouse may also have to sacrifice even if not directly involved in the business. As a result, a business is an important and sometimes complex consideration as part of the property division process if a couple decides to divorce.

In some divorces, a spouse may be entitled to a portion of a business if the business is considered a marital property. The business owner may have to pay the estranged spouse for his or her interest. In some cases, a business might have to be sold to divide it or both spouses may stay involved with the business operations.

When your child custody arrangement no longer works

Divorcing the mother or father of your children was difficult, but you did it. A child custody order was issued and the plan put into action right away. At the time, it was a good fit for your family. Now, however, you feel it is no longer working. What can you do?

In Illinois, it is possible to seek a child custody modification. There are two ways to go about doing that. Both require court approval, though, before you can put a new custody plan into action.

Easing property division with a valid prenuptial agreement

Many people in Illinois considering matrimony have many things under consideration as their wedding date approaches. While it may be difficult to think of the relationship ending, creating a prenuptial agreement can often significantly ease the process should a divorce occur. This may be especially important for those who own their own business or expect a large inheritance and want to protect their interests during the property division aspect of a divorce. However, in order for a prenup to be valid, there are several considerations.

First, couples must consider whether the agreements included in their prenup are valid. While this document can include a variety of different financial aspects, it can not determine child support obligations. If unlawful provisions are included, it is possible that the illegal clauses only would be stricken without invalidating the agreement in its entirety.

Information on child custody in Illinois

Parenting with another person is difficult enough when the parents remain in a committed, romantic relationship. When that relationship ends, some parents in Illinois may have difficulty. Though both parents likely want only what is in the child's best interests, they may struggle to agree on what that is. Fortunately, the law firm of Lois Kulinsky & Associates, Ltd. is ready to help you fight for what is right for your child and is aware of how recent changes in state law may impact your child custody claims.

Recent changes in Illinois state law modifies many of the terms associated with child custody. The Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act focuses on how parental responsibilities are allocated rather than legal and physical custody. Visitation is now discussed as parenting time.

Pets considered in property division?

There is an understandable concern about ensuring the best interest of children during a divorce regarding their living arrangements and a visitation schedule. However, until recently, similar concern has not been extended to family pets. In fact, in the past, pets would more likely be considered more a part of the property division process in Illinois and other states rather than concern about their overall well-being taken into consideration.

The precedent for the treatment of pets was reportedly established in 1995. In a case, a judge ruled that pets are personal property. As such, the judge ruled that courts do not have authority to determine a visitation or custody schedule. However, in the last two years, three states have enacted laws that give judges more discretion in making determinations regarding the best interest of a pet.

Birdnesting: An alternative child custody arrangement

Parents in Illinois often spend a great deal of time considering what is in the best interests of their children. Often they must balance what is best for their children with maintaining their overall mental and physical well-being. While many parents may be tempted to stay together for their children, some ultimately come to the decision that children are better with two happy parents living separate lives than two unhappy parents living together. As such, they are left to explore child custody arrangements that could ease their children into their new normal.

One such arrangement that many parents turn to is something called "nesting," or "birdnesting." In this arrangement, the children remain in the family home with one parent living with them at a time. Often, the parents will maintain an apartment that they share but stay in separately when not with the children. Benefits of this arrangement include that children can stay in their school with their friends and do not have to move back and forth between two different homes. Additionally, it gives the children a chance to have a smoother transition after receiving life-changing news.