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Wakenight & Associates, P.C.

1100 Lake Street, Suite 120, Oak Park, IL 60301

DuPage County | 630-852-9700

Mokena | 815-727-6144   Oak Park | 708-848-3159

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Hinsdale property division lawyer for inheritances
An inheritance is something that you receive when a loved one passes away. Though this is a solemn event, an inheritance can sometimes provide you with a bit of financial security. If you are married or plan on getting married, this can pose a unique situation if you were to get a divorce. Because many married couples have shared finances, one of the biggest parts of divorce is determining how to divide assets and debts. In Illinois, this process is done in an equitable manner, which does not necessarily mean that both spouses will come out of the divorce with half of the marital estate. A variety of factors are weighed to determine what is equitable, including each spouse’s income and earning potential, the duration of the marriage, and each spouse’s non-marital property in relation to the marital property. So, what does all of this mean for a spouse who has received an inheritance?

Understanding Marital vs. Non-Marital Property

Before your property can be divided, you must determine which of your property is non-marital and which of it is considered marital property. In general, any assets or debts that you have acquired during the time that you were married is considered to be part of the marital estate. This means that this property is subject to division during the divorce process. There are some exceptions to this rule, however, and inheritances are one of them. As per Illinois law, any property acquired by gift, legacy or descent is exempt from being considered marital property.

Keeping Your Inheritance Separate

Even though an inheritance is technically non-marital property, there are ways in which it can have both marital and non-marital characteristics. If this happens, then your inheritance could be considered part of the marital estate and subject to division between you and your spouse. For example, if you received a cash inheritance, and you deposited that money into an account that you share with your spouse, it could be considered part of the marital estate.

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Oak Brook divorce attorneyEach year, when the clock strikes midnight on December 31, people around the world celebrate the ending of the year and welcome the new year in. One of the most popular traditions that is observed for New Year’s is making resolutions to improve yourself and your life. For some people, this may mean quitting smoking or eating healthier and exercising more. If you are going through or have recently finalized your divorce, there is no better way to start your new year than by making it a priority to be happier and healthier than ever before. Here are a few New Year’s resolutions that you can commit to after your Illinois divorce:

  1. Pick and Choose Your Battles

Fighting with your ex is exhausting. For many couples, divorce means constant arguments and opposition about nearly every aspect of the life they once shared. The divorce is probably not even the beginning of the fighting; you have most likely been arguing with your spouse about trivial things for years. This New Year, try to be more selective about your battles with your ex. If you feel an argument about to erupt, try to determine whether or not the fight is worth it. Chances are, things will be easier and you will be happier if you just refuse to fight.

  1. Make Your Children a Priority

Every parent wants what is best for their child, and this means making sure that they are put first in nearly every aspect of your life. Divorce is hard for everyone, but it can be especially difficult for your children, so in the new year, you can make an additional effort to meet their needs, spend time with them, discuss their feelings about the divorce, and remind them that you will always be there for them. Whatever you do, you should make sure your children know that they are your number one priority and that they are loved very much.

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Hinsdale divorce lawyerAside from the death of a loved one, getting a divorce is the most stressful event that is likely to happen in a person’s life. This is because a divorce encompasses almost everything in your life, from where you live and how much time you spend with your children, to your monthly expenses and tax implications. The process of divorcing your spouse is not just a legal one -- it is as much an emotional process as it is anything else. While people may tell you that you will be much happier after your divorce is over, there are plenty of realities that nobody really talks about. Here are a few things that you may not be prepared for when it comes to life after your Illinois divorce:

  1. You Will Probably Feel a Loss, Even if You Initiated the Divorce

Getting a divorce is a huge change in your life. Even if you were the one who wanted the divorce because you believed that your marriage had broken down beyond repair, you will still probably feel a mix of emotions, such as sadness, anxiety, and loss. Getting a divorce is a major life transition, and you not only lose your spouse as a life partner, but you may also lose your relationships with others who are associated with your spouse, such as their family and friends. Adjusting to this loss can take time.

  1. You Might Get Mixed Reactions From Family and Friends

Unfortunately, a divorce can bring out the worst in people, including your loved ones. You may find that some people in your family treat you differently, and you may also find that some of the people that you considered to be your friends will not be there for you when you need them. On the flip side, you may also find that some people that you were never really close to before may step forward and offer the love and support that you need.

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Hinsdale open adoption attorneyAdoption is a great option for many people who are thinking about a new addition to the family. There are many different types of adoptions, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. In many cases, when a child is adopted from an agency or directly from another person, the parents can choose whether the adoption will be open or closed. According to the Donaldson Adoption Institute, most (around 95 percent) adoptions in the U.S. now involve some degree of openness. The choice to pursue an open adoption is a personal one, but it can provide benefits to both the child and the birth parents.

What Is an Open Adoption?

There are actually a couple of different meanings to the term “open adoption,” depending on who you ask, and there are varying degrees to an open adoption. Some adoptions are fully disclosed, meaning the birth parents will have direct contact with the adoptive family and child both before and after the child’s birth. Other adoptions are mediated, meaning the adoptive parents and the birth parents have contact through a caseworker or another third party by sending letters and pictures.

In an open adoption, the birth mother typically takes part in the selection process, helping choose the adoptive parents who will raise the child. Children also typically know that they are adopted when open adoptions are conducted. Following the completion of the adoption, the child may continue to have contact or an ongoing relationship with one or both of the birth parents. The parties may create an adoption agreement defining how often the child will see the birth mother, what forms of communication will be used, etc.

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Oak Brook divorce attorney for property and debt divisionIt has often been said that preparation is the key to success, and when it comes to divorce, that is no exception. Most areas of your life will change after a divorce, including your living situation and parenting situation. Even though your divorce is an emotional process, it is just as much a legal and financial process. Dealing with marital finances during a divorce can be tricky, especially since financial issues are often the root of disagreements during divorce negotiations. Proper preparation is crucial when it comes to the financial side of your divorce. Here are a few ways you can prepare your finances before you begin negotiations:

1. Collect Your Records

The first thing you need to do is to gather all of your financial information from the past couple of years. This can help you get a good idea of your financial picture, and it will ensure that you have everything ready as you begin the negotiation process. You should try to gather records such as:

  • Tax returns

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