FAQ's. Common Questions answered here.
Going through something as difficult as a major legal event can leave you filled with questions about the past, present, and what to expect in the future. Get answers to some of the top questions I receive, to help put your mind at ease. Check back often for even more answers to your legal questions. Better yet, give us a call to see how we can help.
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How does child custody get decided in divorce when there was adultery? Will I lose the kids?
Adultery may or may not matter too much in Illinois custody decisions. If a guardian ad litem has to come into the case to help assess custody, he or she will bring in his or her own biases and life experiences; as will the judge. Nonetheless, if custody is an issue and there was adultery in the marriage, how much cheating matters will probably be determined by:
- Is an affair still going on?
- Age of the children
- Was it done discreetly?
- Is the new girlfriend/ boyfriend living with the divorcing spouse?
It is all about "the best interests of the children". Many people wonder if it will mean losing the kids if they cheated. Unless it can be shown that the kids are being negatively impacted by the adultery, it typically doesn't play into custody decisions at all. And "losing the kids" can mean different things to different people. These concerns should not be taken lightly and should be discussed with a divorce lawyer.
Divorce can get very complex and adultery may make it moreso. If you are considering divorce, and infidelity has occured, come in to speak confidentially about what a divorce might look like for you. We are located in Schaumburg and Itasca and look forward to sitting down with you.
How much is the filing fee in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Chicago
As of early 2014, the filing fee for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy case is $306.00 in the Northern District of Illinois (basically, Chicago area). This is a one time charge that has nothing to do with your lawyer's fee and is strictly for the court. It is paid when your bankruptcy case is filed. When planning for the cost of bankruptcy, also remember to factor in your attorney fee and the cost of required credit counseling sessions.
Can I sign a Real Estate Contract without a Lawyer in Illinois? Should I?
Everyone knows that a good rule of thumb is not to sign anything important without your lawyer's blessing. That being said, many real estate contracts are signed with only the realtor's input, often because someone buying or selling their house in Illinois doesn't yet have a lawyer when its time to sign. It all happened so fast!
Most, but certainly not all, contracts for the sale of real estate used in the Chicago area (the most common one being the Multi-Board Residential Real Estate Contract) will provide for an attorney review period whereby your attorney can basically review the contract and probably get you out of it within a specified time frame after you sign it. The benefit to signing immediately is that you may not want to "risk" losing the deal, especially if it is presented over the weekend and you haven't even thought about a lawyer yet. Ideally, you will have a lawyer lined up as soon as you know you will be buying or selling your home before this even becomes an issue. Its never too early to start the process.
If you have a real estate contract for buying or selling a house in Chicagoland that you want to sign, call O'Connor Cadiz Law where typically you will be able to get legal counsel right away. We have offices in Itasca and Schaumburg but serve a wide area in both Chicago and the surrounding counties. If you are selling, be sure to check our video on selling real estate!
Do I have to do Credit Counseling if I want to file for Chapter 7?
Credit Counseling isn't just a good idea, its required before you can even file for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. Don't worry about it, its really not a big deal and ideally, you will learn something useful from it. The class is relatively inexpensive and most places will even give you a discount if you also sign up to do your post-filing debtor education course with them too. Most people chose to do them online for convenience sake. If you live in the Chicago area, your bankrputcy is likely going to be filed in the Northern District of Illinois which is important to know because you must take the classes from a provider whom has been officially approved in your district. Your bankruptcy attorney will give you your available options.
Credit counseling is one of many steps that has to be done correctly during the course of your Chapter 7 case. If you are considering bankruptcy and live in the Chicago area, call O'Connor Cadiz Law to find out how we can help you navigate the process to get you from where you are now, to a fresh financial start.
How will my creditors know that I filed for bankruptcy?
While the bankruptcy court sends notification out to creditors, if they contact you after filing for bankruptcy it is likely that the information just hasn't made it into their system yet. You will be issued a unique bankruptcy case number immediately upon filing. If a creditor calls, give them your bankruptcy case number, the court and district where you filed (for example, the Northern DIstrict of Illinois), the chapter that you filed for (for example, "I filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection") and the actual date that your case was filed with the court. Or, you can give them your attorney's phone number who will provide the information for you.
If you want to file a bankrtupcy in the Chicago area but do not feel like dealing with creditors either before or after filing your case, call O'Connor Cadiz law for help. If we take your bankruptcy case, not only will we do your bankruptcy for you but will also deal with your creditors so that you don't have to.
Does our Illinois Prenup have to list our income, assets and finances? What if I don't care?
Yes. Each party to an Illinois Prenuptial Agreement must disclose his or her financial picture. This will usually include disclosing how much money each person makes at the time of marriage and a list of assets with their present value or worth. This list often includes retirement accounts, bank accounts, investments, real estate and other valuables. I often hear people tell me that they don't care, perhaps out of fear as being perceived as being a gold digger, especially when marrying someone who is financilly well- off. Nothing could be furhter from the truth. Finances and assets have to be disclosed because by signing a prenup, you are about to enter into a legally binding contract. For a contract to be valid, people have to be able to make an intelligent decision about what is being signed. Only by having a complete picture of what each person comes into the marriage with, is that possible. Make sure that both yourself and your soon to be spouse has completed such a statement, if you want your prenuptial agreement to work. Other critical aspects to the Illinois Prenuptial agreement are its timing and having your own lawyer.
I totally trust my fiancé- do I need a lawyer for our Prenup?
Yes. Having your own lawyer for an Illinois prenuptial agreement does not mean that you don't trust your fiance. It means that you want to be an equally informed partner in all aspects of your marriage, right from the get-go. It demonstates maturity on your part and a willingness to participate. Your own lawyer will sit down and discuss all aspects of the antenuptial agreement in a way that your fiance can't. Your lawyer will probably have a much better understanding of it than your fiance will including how it could impact your future in the event of a divorce. We hope that it never comes to that but if it does, you don't want to be wishing then that you had all of your legal rights explained to you before you signed it. If there is something that you don't like, there is room for negotiation but only before you sign it. Other critical aspects to a valid prenup are the timing and the disclosures.
Can my fiance and I use the same lawyer for our Prenup?
You are engaged = you share everything. I get it. But like your toothbrush, not everything is meant to be shared and this includes a lawyer for a prenup agreement. For one thing, no lawyer worth their salt is going to agree to represent both the bride and groom. This is where it gets tricky. The lawyer who was hired to write the agreement will likely represent the person who initiated the prenup and only that person. But that is unfortunately, not always communicated as well as it should be. It needs to be crystal clear that if the other person is not hiring their own lawyer, the lawyer doesn't represent both parties. It would be a conflict of interest for the lawyer and this means that it is impossible to look out for both of you or give legal advice to anyone other than the client. It is expected that each person will use his or her own attorney.
What Can YOU do for ME?
Regardless of the type of case you have, I can give you the following:
What forms of payment do you accept?
Personal Checks, Money Orders, Cashier’s Checks, Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover. However, if you are considering bankruptcy, I cannot take a credit card. If you are closing on a home, you do not need to pay me in advance of closing, and my fee can be included with your closing costs.