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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 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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Hinsdale divorce lawyerWhen you think of divorce, you probably think of a family with younger children who will have to shift from household to household for the rest of their childhood. However, while a divorce can be hard on children who are still growing up, it can also be difficult for adults whose parents are splitting up.

Most of the time, when a couple who has adult children gets divorced, they are ending a marriage that has lasted for years, or maybe even decades. Divorcing after a long marriage can be difficult for both the couple and the rest of the family, due to increased financial issues and the amount of history and memories that were made together. If you are a parent of adult children, and you and your spouse are getting a divorce, here are a few ways that you can help your children cope with this family change:

Time the Announcement Right

Once you realize that you are definitely getting a divorce, and there is no heading back, you should begin to think about how you are going to break the news to your family. An announcement as big as this should come directly from you, not from another family member who heard it first. In some cases, you may want to gather all of your children together to let them know about your divorce, but this may not always be feasible due to busy schedules or because you live in different geographical areas. In any case, you will want to have an adult conversation where you can inform each child about the end of your marriage, answer their questions, and ensure that they understand what is happening in your life.

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Oak Brook divorce attorney child issuesOne of the biggest worries and fears that parents have during a divorce is how the end of their marriage will affect their children. While it is no secret that divorce can put children through some stress and uncertainty, it is often the best action to take for the sake of the family. Children who are raised in unhappy households often have self-esteem problems, trust issues, and in some cases, even behavioral or emotional issues that can follow them for the rest of their lives. Telling the children about your divorce can seem like a daunting task, but these tips can help you have a meaningful conversation:

  1. Tell All of Your Children at the Same Time

Many parents make the mistake of not talking to all of their children together when breaking the news of their divorce. They may think that younger children should be sheltered from the news of a divorce, while older children can be trusted with this information. This often puts unfair and unnecessary stress on older children to keep the secret of the divorce from younger children. It is often best to gather all of your children together and tell them all at the same time to avoid any unnecessary difficulties.

  1. Try to Talk in a Way Your Kids Will Understand

Each child is going to be different when it comes to how much they understand about the divorce and what it all means. Younger children typically have a more difficult time understanding what a divorce is, so simple and clear messages usually work best when explaining things to them. Older children and teenagers tend to need more information to feel satisfied with the news of a divorce, but you should still use caution when revealing details about why the marriage has broken down.

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Hinsdale fathers’ rights attorney for parenting time and child support30 or 40 years ago, a mother was typically granted full custody of her children if she and her husband got a divorce. The husband would usually be awarded visitation rights, and he may have been able to see his kids every other weekend or possibly a couple of days during the week. In today’s world, attitudes toward parenting have changed. Fathers are more likely to be given equal decision-making responsibility for children, and they have the right to parenting time. While this is usually true, many fathers still feel that they are not treated the same as mothers when it comes to the allocation of parenting time and parental responsibilities. In order to protect fathers’ rights, there are some specific issues that fathers should pay attention to when getting a divorce:

Parenting Rights

In the state of Illinois, the courts encourage divorcing parents to come to an agreement on parenting time and decision-making responsibilities on their own. This can be done through the parents themselves or with help from a mediator. If they are unable to come to an agreement, the court will make decisions for them based on what is in the child’s best interests. 

Both parents are legally entitled to have a reasonable amount of parenting time with their children. If a father played a significant role in raising and caring for children while married, he should be able to continue having this same relationship with them following divorce. The only way a court can restrict parenting time is if there is clear evidence that spending time with a parent would endanger the child’s physical, mental, emotional or moral well-being. 

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