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custody determinationsIn matters of divorce and child custody, it is safe to say that things can get messy fast. The process of dissolving a marriage and making visitation schedules for minor children can bring up many emotions from all parties involved, and may bring out some less than admirable qualities in people. While ex-spouses likely have their own issues to address in the divorce process, attempting to come to an agreement about child custody matters usually brings up a whole other set of issues to address.

When a couple cannot reach an agreement about custody of their children and visitation schedules, the matter is brought before the court and a judge is asked to make the custody determination. Parents’ wishes are certainly made known, through them or their attorneys, but what about the minor children involved? In some cases, perhaps the court never hears their point of view, but in others, they make their wishes clear about which parent they want to live with and how they wish to spend their time with each parent. The question is, how much weight does the court give to a child’s wishes in a custody matter?

Making Custody Determinations

Illinois law sets out a list of factors for the court to consider in making custody decisions. The list is relatively long but not exhaustive, meaning it allows for judges to consider other relevant factors according to the facts of a specific case. As a result, judges who hear custody cases enjoy wide discretion when making a decision, which must adhere to the best interest of the child standard.


alimony oudated conceptDivorce cases certainly involve a change of circumstance for both parties, whether the dissolution of the marriage was expected or not. As such, certain laws are in place to ease the transition for one party, or both parties in some cases. Specifically, the concept of alimony is generally intended to allow an ex-spouse who may have sacrificed a career or education in favor of the family gain some financial stability for a period of time upon divorce.

The law in most states, including Illinois, sets guidelines for alimony and factors for the court to consider in determining an amount of alimony award, if any. However, there are a number of other states with arguably antiquated laws which allow for lifetime receipt of alimony with little consideration given to factors such as length of marriage or a change in circumstance of either party. Lawmakers and advocates across the country are debating the concept of alimony and whether the idea of post-divorce spousal maintenance is outdated.

Positions on Alimony


prenuptial agreement, lawyer, attorney, divorce, marriage, prenupOften times, when two people in love are engaged and planning a wedding, planning for a possible divorce is the last thing on their minds. Even if the possibility of a future divorce has crossed their minds, they will likely avoid taking the step of suggesting a prenuptial agreement as doing so may result in not only hurt feelings, but potentially a broken engagement.

 Many people simply do not want to consider the possibility of a divorce down the road when they should be focused on planning for a lifetime together. However, those in the legal field or people who have gone through a divorce may try to convince them otherwise.  Why Agree to a Prenup? Essentially, a prenup is a contract by which two parties set out the terms of a possible divorce before getting married. And, as a recent article states, doing so makes a future divorce much simpler by clarifying the terms in advance. Prenups can clearly set out property division between the parties to a divorce, the length of spousal support and maintenance, and support for any children that may have been born outside of the marriage. Likewise, if any children born prior to the marriage are named as beneficiaries of retirement accounts, a spouse can later challenge the designation unless they agree in a prenup to sign a waiver after the marriage. Prenups may also be considered as a back-up to a will, or as evidence of your intentions in the event that your will is challenged. If your prenup represents an agreement of terms to which your spouse has consented in advance, it makes the success of any future challenge to your will less likely.  Prime Customers Often, it is not young couples marrying for the first time who are concerned with securing a prenup. Rather, it is typically older couples who may have already gone through a divorce and are remarrying who make sure they have a prenuptial agreement this time around. Not only have many older people experienced the complications of divorce first-hand and lived through the emotional and financial burdens associated with the process, but later in life people usually have more to protect. There are situations in which one party has amassed great wealth over their adult years and the other is not as financially stable. A prenup is essentially for guaranteeing that those assets will be protected in the event of a divorce. Prenuptial agreements can also protect one partner from the debt of the other, or they can protect children from a previous marriage.  Preparing a Prenup There are important requirements for preparing a prenuptial agreement that must be followed in order to avoid the agreement later being challenged by one of the parties in court. The following are some notable requirements that must be followed for a valid prenup:
  • Full disclosure of assets and debts possessed at the time of the agreement;
  • Presentation of the document well in advance of the wedding date, and free of any strict deadlines. The party signing cannot feel pressured into signing the document. Both parties should have ample time to study the terms; and
  • The terms contained within the agreement must not be unconscionable, or too one-sided, in light of the circumstances at the time it is signed.
If you are considering obtaining a prenuptial agreement, an experienced family law attorney in Illinois can help ensure your agreement will be upheld in court. Contact the attorneys at Davi Law Group today for a consultation.
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