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Washington Illinois Family and Real Estate Law Blog

How do you prepare your home for sale?

When you are thinking about selling your home in Illinois, the lyrics to an old song may give you some guidance on how to prepare: accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative. According to FindLaw, another word for the process of presenting the house in the best possible light, and possibly even increasing the sale price, is "staging." 

Staging a home involves obvious activities like cleaning and making any necessary repairs, but it may also include renting new furniture or splashing on a new coat of paint in order to make the home appear more desirable. You can save money by staging the house yourself, or you can hire a professional stager to bring his or her expertise to bear in making your home desirable to potential buyers. Here are some helpful tips for do-it-yourself home staging:

The different types of alimony in Illinois

It often seems that as soon as the issue of divorce comes up between you and your spouse, so too does the matter of alimony. A vast majority of the clients that come to see us here at the Essig Law Office do so assuming that they will either have to pay or be entitled to receive alimony. No matter which perspective they are coming from, nearly all are shocked to learn that the awarding of spousal maintenance is not automatic. Rather, the judge hearing your case in Washington will make a determination as to whether or not it is even an option. 

Alimony is not meant to be a punitive obligation. Instead, it is supposed to provide the financial assistance your ex-spouse will need to sustain the same standard of living that they enjoyed while still married. The expectation is, however, that they will eventually get to the point of no longer needing support (either by securing their own gainful employment or entering into another supportive relationship). The court considers this when making the decision to award spousal maintenance, and then in determining which type you will be obligated to pay. 

Need help with your commercial lease?

As your Illinois business grows, you may not be able to continue running things from your garage or the space where you currently are. At some point, you may need to search for other commercial properties that will allow your business to meet customer demands and continue its path to success. However, in signing a lease, you may need help to ensure the terms are fair and beneficial.

The terms of many commercial leases are negotiable. This means that you have the right to negotiate with the landlord and pursue terms that are beneficial and practical for the goals and operations of your company. A lease is an important legal contract, and you would be wise to be cautious and careful before you sign.

Increasing the chances of a favorable custody decision

For many parents, a child custody dispute is one of the most stressful experiences they will ever have. After all, there is a great deal at stake and the outcome of a dispute can impact more than a parent’s life and emotions, it can also affect a child’s future. As a result, it is crucial for you to identify strategies to improve your odds of a favorable custody decision.

First of all, it may be helpful for you to show that you are willing to collaborate with the other parent of your child. You should also go over any family law matters that are relevant to your case closely and have a thorough awareness of your different options. Sometimes, in-home custody evaluations can be helpful as well, such as instances when a former spouse tries to claim that their child’s other parent does not have a suitable home.

Can child support continue after a child turns 18?

18 seems to represent a magical age in that once one reaches it in Washington, they are officially independent and no longer reliant on the support of others. In reality, however, that is not often the case. Even when your child turns 18, there circumstances may require that they still look to you for support. If the support you have been giving them has been supplemented by child support from an ex-spouse, then you may legitimately be wondering if and how you will be able to provide it once they reach the age of majority. 

Illinois law states that child support agreements end when a child becomes legally emancipated, which happens upon reaching the age of 18. Yet according to the state's Department of Healthcare and Family Services, your ex-spouse's obligation to pay child support can be extended if your child turns 18 while still in high school. In such a case, the obligation would continue until your child graduates from high school or turns 19 (whichever comes first). 

What costs will I pay when buying a home?

Before you embark on the process of buying a home in Illinois, you may want to familiarize yourself with the different expenses involved. Most people know they will pay a monthly mortgage and need a down payment, but there are some additional fees and costs you need to prepare to pay as part of the home buying process.

PennyMac explains you may need to put down earnest money, which is a deposit that you put into an escrow account. This deposit shows you are serious about your offer on the home. It is usually about two to three percent of the home price.

What assets are not marital property?

One of the most complex parts of a divorce is the division of property. This is because the law has specific ideas about what is marital property and what is not. As you prepare for your divorce, it is a good idea to become familiar with the law in Illinois in regards to property classification and division.

The Illinois General Assembly explains most property you and your spouse own is marital property. However, there are exceptions. To begin with, if you have a prenuptial agreement that excludes certain property, then whatever the agreement dictates stands. For example, if you have a prenuptial agreement that says your spouse retains sole ownership to a home he or she bought before the marriage, then that home is not considered marital property in the divorce.

What factors impact how much alimony is required?

With your divorce a certain decision, you are now facing the task of rebuilding your life as an independent person. Depending on the length of your marriage in Illinois, this task could be particularly challenging, especially if you have been married for a long time. Most likely, you will be required to sustain yourself and your personal needs all while trying to reconfigure your life. Often, this may affect your living situation, your relationship with your children and other family members and even your long-term financial plans. 

One of the important aspects that you may encounter is alimony. Whether or not you or your spouse will be required to pay alimony is decided after considerable thought is taken in determining you and your spouse's living situation and financial health when your divorce occurred. According to Live About, some of the factors that may affect your situation include the following:

  • Whether or not you and your former spouse have previously signed a prenuptial agreement that discussed how alimony would be worked out in a divorce. 
  • Whether or not you or your former spouse supported one another through the process of schooling and getting a degree. 
  • Whether or not you or your former spouse have had children together requiring one of you to stay home and be a full-time parent. 
  • Whether or not you or your former spouse have accrued significant debt throughout the course of your marriage. 

Mistakes with your prenuptial agreement could lead to problems

When an Illinois couple chooses to get married, it is an exciting time to start planning. In the midst of the excitement, it is important to also think about the future beyond the day of the wedding. One way you can do this is by drafting a prenuptial agreement. 

Prenuptial agreements can protect your interests in the event that the marriage ends. Many couples avoid taking this step because they feel it is not romantic or is assuming the marriage will fail. This is not the case -- it is simply putting prudent protections in place in case of a contingency. When drafting a prenuptial agreement, it is beneficial to work with a knowledgeable professional in order to avoid issues.

Mediation leads to a healthy divorce

If you and your spouse have recently decided to end your marriage, you may be dreading the prospect of appearing in Illinois divorce court. Fortunately, you have more than one option when it comes to settling the terms of your divorce. The American Psychological Association suggests mediation as an alternative to courtroom proceedings. We at Essig Law Office have been practicing family law since 1972 and find that mediation offers benefits for all involved parties. 

A healthy divorce is one that proceeds as smoothly as possible. Minimizing conflict is essential to a healthy divorce, especially when there are children involved. While most children recover from the short-term trauma of the experience within two years of the divorce, social and psychological problems may result from ongoing parental discord.

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  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  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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Washington Office 135 Washington Square Washington, IL 61571 Phone: 309-481-2431 Fax: 309-444-1916 Map & Directions

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