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Madison County Legal Issues Blog

More celebrities opt for the friendlier version of divorce

Illinois movie buffs may know that Chris Pratt and his TV star wife, Anna Faris, ended their marriage. Recently, they finalized their divorce and opted to do so through the "conscious uncoupling" coined by Gwyneth Paltrow when she and ex-husband Chris Martin divorced. In fact, they made certain agreements that will keep them together as a family for a few more years despite the divorce.

Pratt and Faris are not divorcing due to anything as dramatic as an affair. Instead, they realized that their lives were going in two different directions. Pratt's work takes him all over the world, and Faris wanted the family to stay together in one place. In an odd way, she may get that wish now that the couple is divorced.

3 ways to prepare for a divorce after the holidays

If you are not happy in your marriage, you may be thinking about ending it once the holidays are over. You are not alone in this. According to Business Insider, there is an increase in divorce filings in January every year. You may want to wait until the New Year so your family can enjoy one last holiday celebration together. But while you know you want to split up with your spouse, you may not know how to pull it off.

Serving your spouse with divorce papers can seem like a daunting task, especially when a breakup can involve complex financial, legal and personal matters. These are some steps you can take to get yourself ready for a New Year divorce.

The importance of business formation for real estate investors

Many Illinois entrepreneurs choose to invest in real estate. Perhaps they want to "flip" houses or invest in commercial real estate. In any case, it may be a good idea for them to consider the importance of business formation when it comes to owning real estate. Single-purpose limited-liability companies provide numerous benefits to those who wish to own properties for investment purposes.

Just as is the case with other Illinois business owners, real estate investors who purchase and manage a property through an LLC or other entity structure shield themselves from liability and shield the company from personal liability. Some lenders may require a real estate LLC for these reasons alone. Other than the liability issues, there are also tax issues and the regulations to which the company must adhere.

Buyers may be able to walk away from real estate transactions

Life is unpredictable. Despite Illinois residents' best intentions, it may not be possible to fulfill every obligation or promise entered into. When this involves real estate transactions, some potential buyers may wonder whether they can even get out of the deal.

The National Association of Realtors' Realtor Confidence Index for May 2018 revealed that an approximate average of 5 percent of sales fail to result in a closing. A survey conducted in 2017 by the association showed that financial, environmental and home inspection issues are the most cited reasons for a buyer backing out of a transaction. Knowing this may give an Illinois resident the confidence to walk away if needed. It would be better than ending up with a property he or she can't afford or that does not meet the necessary requirements.

More money equals a greater chance of divorce

As the economy improves and people begin earning and increasing their wealth again, some Illinois couples could find themselves arguing about money more often. Money has always been a source of tension for married couples, but the more money there is, the more arguments there could be. The research tends to back up the assertion that being rich makes your marriage more vulnerable to divorce.

Another concern that researchers point out is that when there is a large disparity between the credit scores of the spouses, the chance of divorce rises yet again. In fact, according to research done by the Federal Reserve Board, a marriage may not make it to the five year mark under these circumstances. Even when credit scores are not a factor, people with high incomes may also have high monthly expenses, which could cause a great deal of tension.

It's misleading to call a will 'simple'

During the good times in their lives, estate-planning documents probably do not mean much to Illinois residents. In fact, they may not even give them a second thought. However, when they pass away, a few sheets of paper can make a tremendous difference in what happens next. In fact, there really is nothing "simple" about a last will and testament.

The importance of a will cannot be stressed enough. This one document means the difference between an individual deciding what happens to his or her estate and the state of Illinois doing so. If someone dies without a will, it results in someone else making the decisions that could affect a person's family for years to come.

How to detect parental alienation in child custody

Many divorcing couples may share some animosity toward one another. However, that dislike can gradually turn into utter hatred, and in some cases, one parent actively uses a child they share as a weapon. Psychologists refer to this as parental alienation

Even if the child custody agreement gives both parents equal time with a child, one parent could easily use the child to attack the other. Over time, this manipulation leads the child to develop negative feelings about the other parent and grow to actively hate him or her. Here are the early warning signs a child has begun to resent one of the parents. 

Homeowners can take steps to prevent mechanic's liens

Everyone wants to get paid for the work they do. This includes subcontractors who usually rely on general contractors to make sure they receive payment. Similarly, owners rely on general contractors to make sure everyone gets paid. The problem that some Illinois property owners may run into is the fact that the general contractor fails to pay everyone for their services.

Like property owners across the country, Illinois owners are not spared liability just because they paid the general contractor for work to be done by a subcontractor. A mechanic's lien could be filed against the property regardless of whether the owner was involved in the failure to pay. Fortunately, owners can take certain steps to help ensure that they end up with a fully constructed property free from mechanic's liens.

Using estate planning to take care of a spouse after death

The average age of the population of this country continues to rise. Even as the number of so-called "gray divorces" continues to rise, many couples here in Illinois and elsewhere remain together well into their golden years. Sadly, not enough of them engage in the type of estate planning that will adequately care for the surviving spouse upon death.

One certainty in every person's life is death. With increasing numbers of people suffering from chronic illnesses and cancers, many people have at least some advance warning that death may take them sooner than they would like. This warning should prompt them to make arrangements to care for their surviving spouses, but that does not seem to be happening.

Are video games leading to divorce?

Video game platforms can now bring people here in Illinois and across the world more realistic and immersive gaming experiences than at any other time in their history. This means that many people spend hours of their days playing video games. In fact, data from one source shows that as much as 5 percent of the divorce filings are blamed on one particular video game.

The video game's name is called "Fortnite: Battle Royale." An online divorce site outside the country claims that approximately 5 percent, or 200, of the divorces filed recently cited this game as the reason for the breakdown of the relationship. The game itself is offered for free on many game platforms, but also offers in-game purchases. In fact, the game has brought in somewhere around a billion dollars through these sales. The game has reached such popularity that top players could even win college scholarships.