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Madison County Legal Issues Blog

A construction defect can put a damper on your new home

It is an exciting, as well as stressful, time when you have just closed on your home and are getting ready to move in. The last thing you want to discover is something wrong with your house that has the potential to lower its value and make living uncomfortable or even dangerous. Hopefully, the inspection that was made prior to signing the final paperwork revealed any potential problems and allowed you to address them. Unfortunately for many Illinois homebuyers, however, is the possibility of an unforeseen construction defect creating problems down the line.

Defects in construction can be particularly difficult for home inspectors to catch, because most are not apparent for the first few months or years after the home has been built. Also, the home’s previous owners might not have known about the issues. A construction defect may have occurred due to the developer’s lack of planning, poor choice in materials or cutting corners on construction to save money and time. You might encounter some of the following common construction defects in your new home:

  • Cheap imitations of superior materials that were used for the home model, such as a molded countertop instead of granite
  • Window and façade leaks, especially in complex “designer” architecture that looks attractive but is not structurally sound
  • Problems with improperly fitted or cured wood floors warping or developing mold
  • Bad ventilation throughout the house
  • Poor site selection, which may result in the home being flooded or sinking on unstable ground

What kinds of construction defects could occur?

Whether you have a house built, put an addition on your existing home or renovate, you will more than likely need help with the work. This means hiring an Illinois construction company in order to do the work. As such, you place a great deal of trust in those who will be working on your home. Even if you know little or nothing about construction, it may help to have some idea of the potential construction defects that could affect the success of your project.

No construction can be done without materials. The quality of those materials makes a difference. The use of substandard items could cause you issues at some point in the future. For example, a cracked or bent window frame could allow water to get into your home and cause damage.

Can you save your credit in a divorce?

To some extent, finances and credit ratings sustain some sort of damage when an Illinois marriage ends. It is nearly impossible for either party to come out of the divorce process unscathed. However, it may be possible to reduce the potential damage as much as possible in order to allow for a more secure financial future.

When one party ends up with more debt than the other does, it could increase the chances of diminishing that person's credit score. The same could be said when one person fails to pay the debts he or she was ordered to pay or agreed to pay. It may be advantageous to make sure that the party not responsible for a particular debt removes his or her liability for it, if possible. This also protects the paying party by keeping the other person from having access to the accounts. Of course, identifying all of the marital debts is essential in order to avoid any surprises after the proceedings are complete.

It's a new year with new divorce laws regarding pets

Many Illinois couples believe that their pets are part of the family. However, up until recently, the courts considered them property during a divorce. That changed on Jan. 1 when a law went into effect that treats pets more like children during the divorce.

This means that each party will need to establish which of them would provide a better home for the pet. This means that each party will need to show that he or she handles the majority of the day-to-day caretaking. Even details such as who buys the pet food and who takes the animal to the veterinarian on a regular basis matter.

The basics of real estate contracts

Anytime you buy or sell a piece of property here in Illinois, one of the first steps will more than likely be to negotiate and execute a written agreement with the other party. Unless you participate in real estate transactions on a regular basis, you may not have a clear understanding of what these real estate contracts involve. Below is some basic information about what these contracts include, which should give you a starting point for understanding them.

Of course, most contracts include basic information such as the personal details of the parties involved, and real estate contracts are no exception. They also include specific information regarding the property that is to be transferred and the price to which the parties agree. The contract should also include the current condition of the property and identify what is included with the sale in addition to the land (such as the structures on it).

Business formation issues: Starting a corporation

With all of the entity choices that Illinois entrepreneurs can choose from, you may have settled on starting a corporation. This is just one of the decisions you make during business formation that helps to guide the course of your business. Now that you have made your decision, setting up this type of entity needs to be done correctly in order to spare you from future problems.

Every business type requires you to choose a name, and a corporation is not different. This is often the first step to creating your new business. Not only could your choice of name be a powerful marketing tool, but it can also cause you trouble if it comes to close to the name of another company or is already used. Running a search of businesses here in Illinois, and elsewhere if necessary, needs to be done in order to avoid this issue becoming a problem for you.

Can environmental toxins or pollutants like mold kill a sale?

As a precautionary measure, many Illinois homeowners will pay for an inspection before putting their homes on the market. What happens if the inspector finds environmental toxins or pollutants such as mold? Does that kill your chances of selling your home? Perhaps not, but it may put some additional liabilities on you as the seller.

The media has built up mold to be so toxic that it can cause cancer. The jury remains out on that particular claim, but mold can cause a host of health issues. Those issues may be persistent irritants to healthy people, but to the elderly, children and pregnant women, they can be very harmful.

Methods your spouse may use to hide property

If you believe you and your husband or wife are heading toward a divorce, you may have doubts about whether he or she is being honest with you with regard to finances, relationships and related matters. Often, marriages break down when spouses no longer trust one another, and if you are in such a marriage, you may have suspicions about your spouse hiding assets from you in an attempt to get ahead before the divorce.

Regrettably, spouses conceal assets from one another all the time, and particularly in situations where one spouse suspects the end of the marriage is near. Many spouses who do conceal assets choose to utilize similar methods in doing so; however, identifying these methods may help you catch your spouse in the act. If you suspect your spouse is hiding assets from you, know that he or she may do so by:

What to do about the family home in a divorce

The largest asset -- and debt -- most Illinois residents own is their house and the mortgage loan that often goes with it. During the marriage, both spouses may work to pay that mortgage and make the house a home. If the marriage ends, dealing with the house could be one of the primary concerns during the divorce process.

In nearly all divorce cases, couples have three choices regarding what to do with the family home. First, if one party wants to keep the home, he or she could refinance the mortgage loan alone, which would free the spouse not keeping the home from any liability for the mortgage loan. However, this is not always an option since it may not be possible to refinance with only one income. Therefore, it may be necessary to move on to options two and three.

What to think about during business formation

One decision that nearly every Illinois entrepreneur makes when starting a new venture is under what type of entity to operate. This may just be one of the most important considerations during the business formation process. The choice of entity that you make sets up the framework for the business from now into the future.

The differences among the four primary types of entities (sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation and limited liability company) provide you with different benefits. Deciding which benefits would help make your business a success is the trick. For instance, how much liability for the debts and mistakes of the business do you want to retain?