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Madison County Legal Issues Blog

How probate goes can depend on how property is titled

When creating an estate plan, you will have several decisions to make. If one of your goals is to help your surviving family members avoid the Illinois probate process, how to do that may take center stage for you. In many cases, how you title your property and how you fill out your beneficiary designations removes the need to probate many of your assets. For other assets, you could use a revocable living trust.

You can jointly own real estate with another party that gives each of you the "right of survivorship," which means that when one owner dies, the other automatically owns the property entirely. This works well for unmarried owners, such as an unmarried couple, parent and child, or even siblings. Married couples can use this or other legal titling in order to pass property in this manner as well.

How to keep travel rewards and season tickets after your divorce

In every divorce, there tend to be things that some people value more than others. For example, the primary residence might be a high-value asset for financial, emotional and stability purposes. Similar principles apply for assets such as cars.

Two things that can often come into play with Illinois divorces are travel rewards and season tickets to various college and pro teams. There are a few ways in which couples can handle them.

Scaramucci's wife makes an uncommon divorce move

Illinois residents who follow the political scene know who Anthony Scaramucci is and that he used to be the Communications Director for the White House. What they may not have known is that he and his wife were expecting a child, but that did not stop his wife from filing for divorce. The fact that she did so late in her pregnancy is highly uncommon.

It might not be a stretch to say that many Illinois couples would postpone a divorce at least until the baby is born -- under ordinary circumstances. In this case, Scaramucci's wife must not think that their circumstances are ordinary. In fact, it could be said that her filing at this late stage of her pregnancy indicates that something is dreadfully wrong.

What happens if you find one of these construction defects?

Like many other Illinois residents, you may believe that purchasing a brand new home can help you avoid the issues that come with buying an older home in which one or more families has lived over the years. The problem is that even newly constructed homes can have defects. Do the problems with your new home qualify as "construction defects" for filing a claim?

Fortunately, that definition encompasses many of the problems that arise with brand new homes. In fact, it can cover subsurface, design and material deficiencies, along with construction deficiencies. For example, cracks in your foundation, faulty electrical or gaps in the window frames could all be considered construction defects. Of course, these are just three examples of what could fall into this category.

Thankfully, divorce isn't the dirty word it used to be

From the fictional homes of Hollywood to the homes of Illinois residents, the end of a marriage no longer holds the stigma that it once did. Divorce used to be a dirty word in society, but now, it is a part of life that many people go through. Because of this, many more people are coming to terms with the fact that their marriages just are not working out as they had hoped.

Many Illinois couples may still attempt to repair their marriages, but when they feel they have exhausted all avenues, they come to the realization that they would be better off apart. If they have children, they may agree that continuing the marriage only continues to cause pain for everyone involved. They often determine that they would be better co-parenting from different households than from the same one.

Does fault matter in divorce?

Many years ago, a divorce was only granted if one of the parties could prove that the other had done something so egregious that the marriage had no hope of continuing. These divorces were called “at-fault” and the reasons one could file were enumerated in the state statutes.

Most states have eliminated “at-fault” divorces in favor of the easier and less contentious “no-fault” divorce where a couple need only prove an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage or irreconcilable differences in order to file for a divorce.

Protecting your business from divorce

Divorce is complicated, and as a business owner it can be particularly problematic. You may be the sole owner of your business but that doesn’t guarantee it will be protected should your marriage end in divorce.

Thankfully, whether your business was started during or before your marriage, there are still ways you can protect it from becoming potential divorce collateral.

The importance of operating agreements to LLCs

Illinois entrepreneurs probably spend a significant amount of time determining the best legal structure for their small businesses. Many of them will decide to form limited liability companies because of the benefits they offer. One of those benefits is bypassing the formal structure of a corporation while avoiding the personal liability issues of sole proprietorships and partnerships. However, even the more relaxed regulations of LLCs do not discount the importance of operating agreements.

These agreements address issues such as what percentage of the business each member owns, what amount of loss and profit each member takes on and what responsibilities each member has to the business. In addition, operating agreements address the effects that the exit of one or more members (through sale, death or some other circumstance) will have on the company. The management and operation of the business may also be included in such an agreement.

Do your construction contracts help or hurt your business?

New building projects, renovations and demolitions happen all the time here in Illinois. Developers and real estate moguls may look to your company to handle the construction. The question is whether your construction contracts help or hurt the success of your business. 

Considering the fact that there are more than likely several construction companies in your area that perform the same services, you may not want to rock the boat when negotiating the terms of a particular job. However, doing so could jeopardize the success of the project, and ultimately, the success of your business. Each party will want the best terms possible, and making too many concessions for the sake of getting the work could prove to be a mistake.

Technology meets family law in child custody cases

Technological advancements bring people here in Illinois and across the country closer than ever before. Now, these technologies may play a part in family law issues involving children. The growing concept of "virtual visitation" could become part of child custody orders.

Illinois parents have the ability to keep in contact with their children through emails, texts and even video calls. They could use instant messaging and share details of their daily lives through social media. These technologies provide important contact between noncustodial parents and their children, especially if more in-person contact is not possible due to distance or other considerations.