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Wheaton business lawyerA divorce is an emotional undertaking, but it can become even more complicated if it involves business ownership. One spouse could be the owner of a company, or both spouses could own a business together. The matter of business valuation comes into play when deciding how the marital assets will be divided.

A business valuation is a set of processes and procedures for determining the economic value of a person’s interest in a business. This type of valuation is helpful since divorcing couples may not agree on a company’s worth or how it should be divided. It is important to note if the business began prior to the marriage and its profits have been kept separate and from the marital assets, then the business is normally not considered marital property.

Why a Business Valuation Is Important

One of the most time-consuming and stressful parts of a divorce is the division of marital assets since it requires an accurate inventory of everything that is within the marital estate or property. Determining the value of specific assets, such as household items like furniture, cars, or savings accounts, may be easy if a couple kept receipts or bank statements. On the other hand, estimating the value of the marital home, investment properties, and businesses is typically much more complex and may require the help of professionals.

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Wheaton family law attorney

Couples who are experiencing problems may choose to separate for a period of time to see if that improves their relationship. Sometimes, living apart is a better option than divorcing. In Illinois, spouses may choose to create a legal separation agreement approved by the court, allowing them to live independently of each other in both physical and financial terms. However, this legal process does not end the marriage. A legal separation can sometimes be a simpler and less costly process than a divorce, as long as a couple agrees on the terms.

Reasons for Separating

A couple who has been married for a long time may be unsure about getting a divorce, and they may decide to do a “trial separation,” which often means living apart for a certain amount of time. This trial period can lead to a legal separation if both parties are not ready for a more permanent decision such as divorce.

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Naperville divorce and legal separation lawyerMarriage is a legal union between two people, but when one or both of those people no longer wish to be in the marriage, they may feel it is necessary to get a divorce. However, there are other steps couples may take besides divorce, depending on their situation. In some cases, couples may choose legal separation or annulment. If you are considering ending your marriage, it is important to know the difference between legal separation, annulment, and divorce. 

Legal Separation

Couples who are considering a permanent split may separate for a time if they are trying to work through their differences. However, this is not the same as a legal separation. Legal separation is an agreement or decision that is specifically put in place by the court. It outlines the rights and obligations of each person in the relationship until further action is taken. Legal separation is not necessary if couples can agree on their rights and obligations while they are separated, but it can be a helpful step to take in case a disagreement arises over issues such as child custody, visitation, or property rights.

Annulment

Annulment, also known as a judgment of invalidity, is the legal process of declaring that a marriage is not valid, essentially saying that the marriage never existed at all. A marriage may be annulled in Illinois if one partner did not consent to the marriage, was already married to another person, or was under the age of 18.

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Wheaton Domestic Abuse AttorneyDomestic violence in a relationship is a serious issue that millions of people face every day. For many, the warning signs are ignored or rationalized, but nobody deserves to live in an abusive situation. Physical violence does not have to occur to qualify as domestic violence. A pattern of mental or emotional abuse can emerge over the course of time, leading a person to feel unsafe in their relationship. Whatever the form of abuse a person suffers, they can achieve safety by obtaining an order of protection issued by a judge.

The Process of Obtaining an Order of Protection

If you reach a point in time when you feel the need to escape an abusive relationship, the first thing to do is make sure you are safe. The most common time for a victim of domestic violence to be attacked is when they attempt to leave the person who is abusing them or when they reach out to somebody for help. While getting out of an abusive situation and protecting your safety is important, you should also consider what may happen after you leave. If you are in danger, do not hesitate to contact law enforcement.

Once you are prepared, you will need to fill out a form to apply for an order of protection, making sure to include all relevant information regarding the abuse. Once the form has been completed, it will need to be filed. You may be able to file the form online. Instructions for filing an order of protection form online can typically be found on the local circuit court clerk’s website. If not, the form will need to be filed at the courthouse in the county where the abusive party resides or where the abuse occurred. 

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Naperville adoption attorneyOne of the inevitable parts of adopting a child is the requirement that you and your family participate in an adoption home study. Though the process for the home study is different depending on which type of agency you adopt from (public or private), you must complete a home study all the same. Conducting home studies not only allows agencies to gather more information about your family and evaluate the ability of the family to care for the child, but a home study also allows prospective parents and families to learn more about the adoption process and prepares them for the new addition. 

Components of a Home Study

There are many parts to a home study, and they are all included for good reasons. Home studies are meant to be as thorough as possible to facilitate successful adoptions. Prospective adoptive parents should prepare for the following steps:

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Wheaton adoption lawyer consentAdopting a child is an exciting time in many prospective parents’ lives. Making an addition to the family through adoption can be a stressful and tedious process, especially since there are many legal steps that must be taken before the adoption can be finalized. One of those steps is gaining consent to adopt the child. The consent must come from the child’s birth parents or adoption agency and, in some cases, the child themselves. Giving consent means that the parents or agency responsible for the child relinquishes all rights and duties relating to that child to the adoptive parents. If you are planning to adopt in Illinois, it is important to understand how Illinois laws will affect your adoption.

Who Needs to Consent to Adoption?

Illinois law requires that the birth mother and birth father (who has established paternity) consent to the adoption of their child. In some situations, the birth parents no longer have legal rights to their child. In these cases, the legal requirement for consent can fall to other entities, such as:

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Wheaton adoption lawyerMore than 110,000 adoptions took place in the United States in 2014, according to the National Council for Adoption. Making additions to your family is an exciting time, and many Americans are choosing to make those additions through adoption. The adoption process can be overwhelming, stressful and emotionally draining, with long waiting periods and mountains of paperwork. However, the process can be broken down into simple steps, all of which an experienced attorney can guide you through.

1. Choose an Adoption Provider

There are many different outlets through which you can adopt a child in the United States. The most common outlets are:

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DuPage County premarital agreement lawyerWhen a couple is planning to get married, the possibility of divorce is likely the last thing on their mind, and planning for what should happen if their relationship ever ends may seem distasteful. However, it is often a good idea to create a prenuptial agreement which can provide both spouses with legal and financial protections if they should ever decide to divorce. Here are some reasons that you may wish to have a prenuptial agreement before you get married:

  • Income disparity - When one spouse earns a higher income than the other, this may put the lower-earning spouse at a disadvantage if they decide to divorce. A prenuptial agreement can be used to decide whether one spouse will pay spousal maintenance (alimony) to the other if their marriage ends.
  • Ownership of assets - The property that a person owns prior to getting married is considered non-marital property that is not subject to equitable division between spouses during divorce. However, marital and non-marital property can often become commingled, making it difficult to determine what should be divided between divorcing spouses. A premarital agreement can be used to specify how ownership of certain assets will be handled during divorce.
  • Significant debt - If either spouse has a large amount of debt when they are getting married, a prenuptial agreement may specify that the other spouse will not be responsible for paying any of this debt after divorce.
  • Business interests - A business owner will want to ensure that they will be able to continue operating their business, no matter what happens during their marriage or divorce. A premarital agreement can determine how business ownership will be handled if the marriage ends.
  • Blended families - Spouses who have children from a previous relationship will want to be sure their children are provided for. In these cases, they may use a prenuptial agreement to safeguard certain assets and ensure that they are used to support their children.
  • Inheritances - If either spouse expects to receive an inheritance from a family member during the course of their marriage, they may use a premarital agreement to protect inherited assets from division during divorce.
  • Reputation - In today’s connected world, information posted online can have consequences to someone’s personal life and career. Spouses may wish to use a prenuptial agreement protect their reputation by stating that they are not allowed to post disparaging comments, pictures, or videos about each other on social media.

Contact a DuPage County Family Law Attorney

If you are planning to get married, and you have concerns about what will happen if you ever get divorced, the attorneys of Anderson & Associates, P.C. can help you create a prenuptial agreement that protects your rights and financial interests. Contact a Wheaton prenuptial agreement lawyer at 630-653-9400 to schedule a free consultation.

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Wheaton order of protection attorney domestic abuseWhen someone is the victim of domestic violence or domestic abuse, they can obtain an order of protection which provides them with safety. However, victims often struggle to achieve independence from their abusers, since their lives are closely linked both personally and financially. Illinois law was recently updated to address one issue that often arises in cases of domestic abuse: cell phone accounts.

Separating Cell Phone Plans

On January 1, 2018, a new Illinois law took effect that allows a person who obtains an order of protection to transfer their wireless telephone number to a new account. This allows victims to separate their cell phone service from a plan that was shared with their abuser, providing them with financial independence and ensuring that their abuser will not be able to access information such as text messages, voice mail, or location data. The law contains the following provisions:

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Wheaton prenuptial agreement lawyerWhen a couple decides to get married, they will be uniting their lives and forming a legal partnership. Unfortunately, as statistics show, nearly half of marriages end in divorce in the United States. There are a variety of reasons for this, but since the possibility of divorce exists, couples can take steps to protect themselves by educating themselves about the law and planning for both a successful marriage and a potential divorce. Before getting married, they should be sure to address the following issues:

  1. Finances - How will income and expenses be shared after getting married? Does either spouse have significant debt? Will the spouses share bank accounts and credit cards? It is important for both spouses to be on the same page about their budget, their spending habits, and their financial goals, ensuring that they do not encounter any surprises after getting married.
  1. Property ownership - Does either spouse own valuable property or have significant financial assets? Will the couple be living in a home previously owned by one spouse? Does either spouse have ownership interests in a business? Spouses should be clear about what they own, how ownership of property will be handled going forward, and what will happen to this property if their relationship ever ends.
  1. Estate planning - After getting married, will the spouses’ wills need to be updated? Do they plan to give each other power of attorney? Do they have methods in place to protect their assets near the end of their life? Does either spouse need to put provisions in place to provide for children from a previous relationship? Couples should make sure they have addressed these issues and understand each other’s wishes regarding their estate.
  1. Prenuptial agreement - While planning for divorce before getting married may not be very romantic, having an agreement in place for how things can be handled if the relationship ends can alleviate a great deal of stress. Premarital agreements can be especially helpful for spouses who own a business, bring significant assets into a marriage, or want to ensure that their children will have financial resources no matter what happens in the future.

Contact a DuPage County Family Law Attorney

If you have any questions about the legal issues that you should consider before you get married, or if you want to make sure your family will have legal and financial protections in the future, the skilled attorneys of Anderson & Associates, P.C. can help you meet your legal requirements and protect your rights and interests. Contact our Wheaton family law firm at 630-653-9400 to schedule a free consultation.

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