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A Prenuptial Agreement Can Protect Your Business During DivorceBusiness owners must prioritize securing their business and its assets during a divorce. In most cases, a business is a marital property that is included during the division of property. Business owners are unlikely to split ownership with a divorcing spouse who did not own or help run the business during their marriage. However, the two sides may dispute the value of the business and how much the other spouse should receive to offset that value. As a business owner, you can plan ahead to protect your business during a potential divorce by including it in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.

Why Is Your Business a Marital Property?

Spouses normally differentiate between marital and nonmarital properties based on whether one of them purchased the property before their marriage. However, a business predating a marriage is not enough evidence to make it a nonmarital property:

  • You may have invested marital money into your business; 
  • Your business may be the primary source of income in your marriage; and
  • Your spouse may have sacrificed part of his or her career to allow you to focus on your business.

Your spouse can claim that the amount that your business increased in value during your marriage is marital property.

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Divorcees Must Modify Deed, Mortgage for Marital HomeYou and your spouse will decide which of you will retain ownership of your marital home after your divorce. However, the division of property in a divorce agreement is not enough to completely transfer ownership of the home to one person. As long as both of your names are on the deed and mortgage, you both will have some control over and responsibility for the home. The most efficient way to settle the issue is to transfer the deed and modify the mortgage while your divorce is still ongoing.

Potential Problems

Your divorce agreement states your intention for one of you to occupy and control your marital home after your divorce. It does not automatically change your deed or mortgage. Failing to update these documents may not have immediate consequences but will eventually cause complications:

  • One of you cannot sell the home without the other’s approval if the deed still says that you both own the home;
  • The person who no longer lives in the home could be liable for property tax and mortgage payments if the occupant does not pay them; and
  • If the occupant files for bankruptcy, the mortgage lender can pressure the other person on the mortgage to pay the remainder.

It is easier to settle these issues between each other now than returning to court years later when you are having problems.

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Five Keys to Staying Healthy During DivorceAmid everything else that you are worried about, it is important to maintain your health during your divorce. A combination of stress and poor choices can hurt your physical and mental wellness, which in turn distracts you when making important divorce decisions. There are several ways that you can stay healthy during your divorce while also relieving some of your stress:

  1. Exercise: Getting regular exercise helps you feel healthier and gives you an outlet for your anxiety and angst. You can feel more confident about yourself and have an easier time getting to sleep. Your schedule may make it difficult to find time for a normal workout routine, but you can find other forms of physical activity that take less time.
  2. Sleep: Skipping on your sleep hours will eventually do more to harm you than help you. You may choose not to sleep because you believe you do not have time for it or have difficulty with insomnia because of your divorce stress. Sleep is an important time for you to recharge yourself and reorganize your thoughts. You may think of a solution to a problem you were worried about after you give yourself time to sleep on it.
  3. Diet: With the time requirements of a divorce, it is easy to subsist on a regular diet of fast food. When you do have more free time, your stress may draw you towards comfort foods that are less healthy. Not every meal needs to be nutritious, but you should try to eat healthy meals more often than not. If you do not have time during the week to fix a healthy meal, use free time during the weekend to prepare meals for the week.
  4. Relaxation: You need time during your waking hours when you can relax and not worry about your stresses. Each person has their own favorite relaxing activities, such as getting a massage, doing a hobby, or watching a show. Depriving yourself of enjoyment will mentally wear you down, which may cause physical maladies.
  5. Therapy: Seeing a therapist or attending a support group can help you deal with your divorce anxieties and pressures. Talking about your problems can feel liberating and help you gain a new perspective. Listeners can advise you on how to manage your stress.

Contact a McHenry County Divorce Attorney

Your peace of mind is a primary concern during your divorce. A Crystal Lake, Illinois, divorce lawyer at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, has solutions for issues that you may be worried about. Schedule a free consultation by calling 815-338-3838.

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Posted on in Divorce

Updating Your Estate Plan After DivorceA divorce changes not only your life but plans you made in the event of your death. You likely named your former spouse as the primary beneficiary or caretaker in your estate planning documents. Once your divorce is final, Illinois law should assume that you no longer intend for your former spouse to receive most of your assets in a will or trust or be responsible for making decisions for you if you are incapacitated. However, you need to update these documents to make your intentions clear to your family:

  1. Wills: In a will, you name the beneficiaries who will receive your assets upon your death. After your divorce, the will treats any inclusion of your former spouse as though he or she has already died. However, your divorce can make your will essentially useless if your former spouse is the only beneficiary named. You should update your will to name new beneficiaries, such as your children, other relatives, or a charitable organization.
  2. Trusts: A trust differs from a will because you place assets in a trust while you are alive. The trustee will distribute those assets to your designated beneficiaries. One of the main benefits of a trust is that it allows your beneficiaries to receive those properties without having to go through probate. Assuming that you have a revocable trust, you can change who will receive the assets that would have gone to your former spouse or remove the assets from the trust.
  3. Power of Attorney: If you become incapacitated or unable to make your own decisions, a power of attorney allows someone else to make decisions on your behalf. A power of attorney for financial lets that person make monetary decisions, while a power of attorney for health care lets that person make decisions regarding your medical treatment. Though your former spouse will no longer have these powers, you need to update these documents to state who you want making these decisions for you.
  4. Child Guardianship: The normal presumption is that one parent will assume complete parental responsibilities for the children if the other parent dies. However, your former spouse may have limited or no parental rights if he or she is a danger to your children. In such a case, you need to name another adult who would be the legal guardian of your children upon your death.

Contact a McHenry County Divorce Attorney

Updating your estate planning documents can be a complicated process. A Crystal Lake, Illinois, divorce attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, can help you examine your documents and decide which changes you want to make. Schedule a free consultation by calling 815-338-3838.

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A Divorced Parent's Guide to Giving Holiday GiftsReceiving holiday presents is supposed to be an exciting event for your children, but divorce can instead make it stressful. As their parent, you must preserve the joyousness of the tradition. This may mean working with your co-parent or swallowing your pride to keep your children happy. Here are five tips for giving holiday gifts after divorce:

  1. Do Not Make Gift-Giving a Competition: The holidays can become a proxy war between co-parents who try to buy their children’s affection and loyalty through presents. Some parents undermine each other by buying more expensive versions of the same gift. Children can see your motivation for giving the gift and feel pressured to pick a side between parents. You have made giving the present more about yourself than your child.
  2. Try to Coordinate Your Shopping: You may unknowingly buy the same gift for your child as your co-parent because your child has shared the same gift list with both of you. This will make you disappointed and your child sad for hurting your feelings. You can avoid this by talking to your co-parent about who will buy which gifts. If there is a particularly expensive gift, you can agree to share the cost.
  3. Let Your Gifts Travel with Your Child: Some divorced parents give a present with the condition that it must stay at their home. You should allow your children to take their gifts to whichever home they want. Putting conditions on your gift once again makes the gift more about you than your child, who will enjoy the gift more if he or she is free to use it without restriction.
  4. Respect Your Co-Parent’s Wishes: You may disagree with your co-parent about what are appropriate gifts, given your child’s maturity or your co-parent’s values. Do not give your child a gift that you know that your co-parent will disapprove. You will create conflict between your child and your co-parent if your co-parent tries to take the gift away.
  5. Help Your Children with Their Shopping: Your children want to give their own presents to your co-parent but may not be old enough to pick out and pay for them on their own. You may need to help your children with their shopping and pay for gifts. Make sure your children pick out good gifts because it is important to them to make their other parent happy.

Contact a McHenry County divorce attorney

Your time may be the most important gift you can give your children during the holidays. A Crystal Lake, Illinois, divorce attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, can help you negotiate your parenting time schedule during your divorce. Schedule a free consultation by calling 815-338-3838.

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