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Madison County Legal Issues Blog

Hollywood takes on an unusual type of child custody arrangement

Unless an Illinois couple going through a divorce has researched possible parenting arrangements on the internet, it is possible that "bird nesting" is not something about which they have heard. This unusual type of child custody arrangement has gained notoriety in recent years as a viable way to divide parenting time. Now, Hollywood is taking on bird nesting in a new comedy series, "Splitting Up Together." However, divorcing parents considering this co-parenting option will want to get more information about it from a family law attorney.

In bird nesting, the children stay in the marital home while the parents take turns living with the children. This allows the children to maintain their lifestyles, even if only temporarily. The arrangement provides children with the structure and stability that most children need, which could help them with the transitions that divorce inevitably bring.

Your family business will be a major focus in your divorce

If you and your spouse have decided to end your marriage, you are probably already dreading the property division phase of the divorce proceeding.

For example, how will the value of your family company be determined, and how will division be handled?

Are environmental toxins or pollutants on the property you want?

When you look to buy a piece of commercial property here in Illinois, you obviously have numerous considerations to look into before finalizing your purchase. Your due diligence includes title searches, surveys and financing issues. However, have you considered whether any environmental toxins or pollutants exist on the property that could cause you problems in the future?

As part of the seller's responsibilities, the law requires that he or she make certain disclosures about the property. This includes any existing or potential environmental issues. In addition to any Illinois laws that apply, numerous federal law must be complied with when it comes to the property, whether it is industrial or for some other commercial purpose.

Making sure probate goes according to plan

Even though most people do not like to contemplate their own demise, most Illinois residents have some idea of how they would like their estates distributed after the pass away. Without an estate plan in place, those wishes may not be carried out. In order to help make sure that probate goes according to plan, certain steps need to take place.

How an estate plan is structured largely depends on the wishes of the person creating it. For instance, if an Illinois resident wants to keep as many assets as possible from going through probate, one or more trusts could help accomplish that goal. Some accounts pass to beneficiaries without having to go through probate, a trust or a will. Retirement accounts, life insurance policies and some other accounts pass directly to beneficiaries through beneficiary designation forms.

What kind of real estate financing suits your needs?

When it comes to making investments here in Illinois, how you pay for them often depends on your financial situation. Of course, it would be nice to pay cash for your investments in order to save on paperwork, interest and other issues that go along with real estate financing, but that is not always possible. If you need to seek financing from other sources, you may consider the following options.

You may be able to obtain cash for your purchase from one or more private money lenders. These lenders provide you with the cash you need in exchange for a short repayment period, usually up to one year, at a fixed interest rate. This type of loan may work best in a situation where you are fairly certain that the value of the property will increase significantly and rapidly. For instance, if you intend to renovate an existing structure instead of starting from scratch with new construction, this type of loan may suit your needs.

Keeping premarital property in a divorce requires some work

Whether you are marrying for the first time or remarrying, you may have assets that you want to remain separate property should something go wrong. This can be done through a prenuptial agreement, but those assets may still need additional protection throughout the marriage in order to safeguard them in the event of a divorce. One of the first things to do in a Illinois divorce is identifying what property makes up the marital estate.

Illinois courts look for joint accounts and property titled in both names. That is often the easy part. Even if you keep premarital property, inheritances and gifts in separate accounts or list them in your prenuptial agreement, what you do with those assets during the marriage could affect whether they ultimately end up included in the marital estate.

Estate administration issues: Who pays the decedent's debts?

Losing a parent is bad enough, but realizing that wrapping up his or her financial affairs involves numbers and paperwork can make the situation that much more difficult. One of the estate administration duties that adult children here in Illinois and across the country must deal with is the debts that a parent left behind. With the economy the way it has been in recent decades, many parents of adult children pass away with debts, and creditors may be vying for payment -- from any source they can.

The primary source of payment for a decedent's debts is the estate. However, there may not be enough funds and other assets to cover the amounts owed. In those cases, some creditors will turn to surviving relatives for payment. Where a spouse may end up responsible for a deceased spouse's debts, other relatives ordinarily do not have that same obligation.

3 ways to divorce-proof your company

As an entrepreneur, you have a lot of things to consider when starting your company. The business formation process requires you to factor in a lot of variables to ensure the future of your entity is successful and stable. One important consideration is how the business will affect-and be affected by-your marriage.

A future divorce may mean calamity for your business if you do not plan carefully. Without advance preparations, you may see your business divide into pieces or lose it in a sale. Here are some possible proactive steps to take to help protect your company from a potential divorce.

A retirement account needs special treatment in divorce

Many Illinois couples have two major assets: a home and a retirement account. After spending years carefully tending to each of them, some of those couples may face dividing them in a divorce. Just as the family home may require special treatment, so does a work-related retirement account.

It could take a significant amount of time to negotiate a settlement regarding a retirement account. Once an agreement is reached, the parties may believe that the work is done. That would more than likely be a costly mistake. In order to avoid paying tax penalties on any amount taken out of the account in accordance with the divorce settlement, additional work needs to be done.

Does estate administration have to include probate?

When making plans for the future, many Illinois residents attempt to avoid contemplating their own death. When they are able to overcome their reticence about estate planning, it may be a good idea to focus on avoiding probate. Estate administration does not necessarily have to involve probate.

The fact is that probate takes time. While the estate is administered through the court, loved ones of the deceased will not have access to the assets intended for their inheritances. In some cases, this could prevent family members from having the resources they need.