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Washington Illinois Family and Real Estate Law Blog

What is equitable distribution?

Most states, including Illinois, are considered equitable distribution states. If you are getting divorced, you have probably heard this term. It refers to how your assets will be divided between you and your spouse when the divorce is finalized. The Huffington Post explains that equitable distribution is based on the idea of the court fairly dividing up property.

It is important to note that you may not even need to have the court decide how to distribute your property because most couples are able to negotiate a settlement without a judge getting involved. So, if you negotiate terms, you will not likely have to be concerned with equitable property laws and procedures.

What can I actually include in a premarital agreement?

Creating a prenuptial agreement is becoming an increasingly common legal step for couples to take before getting married. This type of agreement essentially establishes both you and your future spouse's financial rights if you end up dissolving your marriage. It also establishes both parties' property rights.

Couples in Illinois who are about to walk down the aisle often are not thinking about divorce. However, divorce can easily happen if you and your spouse end up wanting to go in different directions in life. For this reason, it is usually wise to consider putting together a premarital agreement.

What is FSBO?

FSBO stands for “for sale by owner.” It is a term that you may see when you are looking at real estate in Illinois. It basically means that you are selling your home without the help of a real estate agent. So, if someone wants to buy your home, they would deal directly with you. You also take on many responsibilities when you decide to go the FSBO route.

According to US News, many people decide to put their home on the market as a FSBO to save money. It can get costly to pay fees for real estate agent services. In fact, going this direction can save a person an average of $9,500.

Common mistakes made in a divorce

Mistakes have a way of slowing down the process of finalizing a divorce settlement. Many Illinois couples will find that if they avoid common divorce mistakes, they can save time and money on their divorce. Most mistakes are easily categorized as either financial or emotional.

Financial mistakes, according to USA Today, include not thinking about the overall costs and focusing too much on small details. Money is a huge part of any divorce. Couples will need to divide assets and discuss topics such as alimony and child support. It can be easy for a person to get hung up on trying to get more and forget to pay attention to the details. For example, getting a large alimony payment at the expense of a smaller child support payment may seem great, but in the end, this person will be paying taxes on the alimony and not on the child support, so he or she is not likely getting a great deal. Focusing too much on the small details, such as who gets the wedding china, can take the focus away from the more important aspects. A person has to always keep an eye on the overall costs of the divorce. If time is wasted arguing over small points, it will probably end up costing more than it is worth in legal fees.

What factors affect alimony decisions?

If you are getting divorced, you may wonder if you can get alimony. Spousal support, as it may be referred to, is allocated in Illinois at the discretion of the court. However, the awarding of payments will be based upon a variety of factors. The goal is to keep the judgement fair for you and your spouse.

According to Family Education, a court looks into some very specific factors to decide the amount of alimony to award. These factors are also used to determine if support will even be ordered at all. Generally, the court will begin by looking at your marriage. It will want to see how long you have been married. In most cases, it will increase your chances of being awarded alimony if you have been married for a long time.

Child support laws are changing this July

Perhaps your marriage has been struggling for a while and you are considering divorce. Or maybe you are in the divorce process and it could take months to finalize. On July 1, 2017, new laws regarding child support will come into effect, which may change how support is determined in your divorce case.

What is a short sale?

Perhaps as you are looking for a new Illinois home to purchase, you have come across something called a short sale. A short sale, as defined by Freddie Mac, is a real estate transaction where the seller is selling the home for less than he or she owes to the lender. Obviously, this is an issue for the lender who will be getting less than they are owed. However, the lender does have to approve the sale.

In most cases, a short sale takes place because the owner is not able to pay their mortgage. It is an alternative to foreclosure, which is beneficial to the seller and to the lender. In addition, it is good for you because, as the buyer, you are able to get a better price for the home and save some money.

Separate property vs. marital property

Going through the divorce process is often emotional and may seem overwhelming to some. People are forced to negotiate terms of the divorce settlement that may be difficult to handle. One of the most problematic is often the division of property, as it can be hard to separate property and assets that have been accumulated during the course of the marriage. In Illinois, marital property is divided between the couple once the judge presiding over the case has carefully considered several factors surrounding the divorce, and has determined what is fair and equitable. However, not all items are eligible for division.

Separate property may remain with the original owner, and not be divided in a divorce case. According to Illinois statute, these items include the following:

  •          Gifts given to either spouse by a third-party before, during or after the marriage.
  •          Inheritance money.
  •          Property that the spouse acquired prior to the marriage.
  •          Items included in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.

The essential elements of residential sales contracts

Once you've put an offer on a home, and the buyer accepts it, then it is time to draft a sales agreement. This process is complex and time consuming - and often frustrating - but it is vital to ensure every aspect of the sale is agreed upon by both parties.

Although similar to standard contracts, sales agreements have additional elements and requirements. It is important to be familiar with these aspects of real estate contracts, particularly if you do not have a realtor or the property is for sale by owner (FSBO).

Manage your finances successfully during and after a divorce

Divorce can be emotional, but it also can take a serious financial toll. It is important to understand the financial impact divorce will have both now and in the future. This includes considerations related to property division, tax ramifications, support payments, retirement accounts and budget adjustments.

Although it may seem complex and overwhelming, don't get discouraged. Through solid planning, you can work toward successfully managing your finances during and after a divorce.

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  4. The Essig staff are courteous and helpful, and the attorneys are professional and knowledgeable. They are very efficient, with prompt turn-around times on title orders and real estate closings. I would highly recommend this office to others!

    -Donna Jones Craig Jim Maloof Realtor

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