Today, most of the families in Cook County are blended families. Most children live with a married mother and father, but typically, at least one of those adults has been married before. In 2015, Illinois lawmakers significantly updated the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Statutes to better reflect this reality. In many ways, attorneys and families are still sorting out these changes.
At The Andrea Heckman Law, our experienced attorneys are familiar with all the issues that blended families face. So, from pre-divorce to divorce to post-divorce, we provide a full array of family law services. We believe in building relationships. So, when we begin working for you, we do not waste time reviewing the file. Instead, we get straight to work.
Pre-Divorce Services in Cook County
This practice area basically revolves around prenuptial agreements. Until recently, only super-rich couples bothered with these pacts because the laws were so complex. But then, Illinois lawmakers adopted the Uniform Premarital and Marital Agreements Act.
The UPMAA streamlined the process and made the results more consistent. So, anyone who has been married before probably needs a premarital agreement.
Premarital agreements can cover a wide variety of topics. In addition to property division matters, spousal support limitations, and perhaps even spousal support elimination, these contracts may also address inheritance and succession matters. That is especially important if you have a family business.
The UPMAA also addresses breaking premarital agreements. Essentially, to overturn one of these pacts, the challenging spouse must establish one of the following:
- Involuntary: A premarital agreement is involuntary if both parties did not know all the facts. These pacts are also involuntary if one party did not have a chance to properly review the agreement and consult with independent counsel.
- Unconscionable: A 60-40 split and probably even a 70-30 property division is uneven but not unconscionable. Furthermore, the agreement must have been unconscionable when it was made. For example, stock options may be practically worthless one day and incredibly valuable the next day.
Most premarital agreements have severability clauses. So, if a Cook County judge overturns one part, the rest remains in full force and effect.
Marriage Dissolution and Modification in Schaumburg
Illinois is a pure no-fault state. Insupportability, or irreconcilable differences, is the only basis for divorce. Things like adultery, cruelty, and abandonment are basically irrelevant. An Illinois divorce also fully resolves all issues, including parenting time and property division.
In terms of custody and visitation, the old every-other-weekend/every-other-holiday format still works well in many cases. But that plan may not provide children with consistent and meaningful contact with both parents. So, an alternative may be appropriate, such as:
- Block Scheduling: Children spend a certain amount of time, perhaps a week or two, with Parent A, another block of time with Parent B, and the cycle repeats. Other than occasional allowances for Christmas and other major holidays, the calendar is basically irrelevant.
- Empty Nest: The parents switch dwellings and the children remain in the same place. The arrangement is very smooth for the children but only works if the parents live close together and get along reasonably well.
Whatever parenting time plan the divorce decree includes must be in the best interests of the children.
Later, if circumstances materially and substantially change, either party can request a modification. It is important to have orders legally modified in family court. Informal side agreements are never enforceable, even if they are in writing. Assuming the modification is agreed, the process is not very time-consuming.
Work with an Experienced Lawyer
Pretty much every family in Cook County will need a family law attorney at one time or another. For a free consultation with an experienced family law attorney in Schaumburg, contact The Andrea Heckman Law We routinely handle matters in Cook County and nearby jurisdictions.