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IL custody lawyerIf you are planning to file for divorce from your spouse, or if your spouse recently filed for divorce in DuPage County and you have been served with divorce papers, you may be unsure about the next steps that will follow in your divorce case. For couples with minor children from their marriage, the process of moving forward with a divorce can be particularly stressful. As you might already know, rather than awarding child custody to one or both parents, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) clarifies that parents should be allocated parental responsibilities based on the “best interests of the child” standard. But what do courts mean when they refer to the best interests of the child?

The IMDMA provides some clarifying language that can help parents to understand what courts are aiming for when they allocate parental responsibilities. If you still have follow-up questions after learning more about the best interests of the child standard, you should get in touch with a DuPage County child custody lawyer to learn more.

IMDMA Recognizes the Significance of Parental Responsibilities

According to the IMDMA, when the court seeks to determine a child’s best interests in allocating parenting time and significant decision-making responsibilities, it does so with the acknowledgment that parental responsibilities are “paramount responsibilities in our system of justice.” Accordingly, in determining what is in a child’s best interests, the court will think about the following issues outlined in the statute:

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IL divorce lawyerWhen you are considering divorce in Oakbrook Terrace, you may be wondering whether you should bring up issues that pertain to your spouse’s fault. In other words, if your spouse engaged in behaviors that led to the destruction of the marriage—such as adultery, family violence, or even behavior that runs counter to your cultural values—you may be pondering whether it will make sense to raise these issues when you file for divorce or respond to a divorce complaint. Some spouses assume that bringing to light matters of “fault” can be beneficial when it comes to spousal maintenance or child custody. While a history of family violence certainly can play a role in the court’s determination of how parental responsibilities should be allocated, you should know that Illinois is firmly a “no-fault” divorce state.

Accordingly, even if your spouse engaged in actions or behavior that are counter to Islamic law, or that are in clear violation of your family’s moral principles, these matters of “fault” typically will not be relevant in a secular divorce proceeding under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA). We will provide you with more information about “no-fault” divorce in Illinois, but we want to emphasize that one of our experienced Oakbrook Terrace divorce lawyers can speak with you today if you have additional questions or need representation in your divorce case.

Shift from Fault-Based to No-Fault System for Divorce

Illinois did not always operate on a “no-fault” system for divorce. In recent years, Illinois law was amended to remove fault-based grounds for divorce. When legislators decided to make these changes, they recognized that fault-based divorce systems were largely based on unequal presumptions about marriage, and they reasoned that a “no-fault” system would be fairer to all parties involved. As such, nobody seeking a divorce in Illinois must or should supply fault-based grounds for divorce in seeking a dissolution of marriage.

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IL family lawyerDivorces in DuPage County can be contentious, particularly when a married couple shares minor children from the marriage. When a couple does divorce, it can also be difficult for extended family members to hear that they will not automatically be granted time with the children. Many Muslim families in Oakbrook Terrace with young children involve grandparents in the children’s lives, and it can be devastating for grandparents to learn that they might not be spending as much time with the children once the divorce is finalized and the allocation judgment outlines parental responsibilities and parenting time. In some situations, a grandparent or another non-parent (such as an adult sibling or a step-parent) might try to seek the equivalent of parental responsibilities.

Do courts ever grant rights to grandparents and other non-parents? In limited circumstances, the court may determine such an arrangement is in the child’s best interests. Our experienced DuPage County family lawyers can explain in more detail.

Visitation By Certain Non-Parents Under Illinois Law

Under Illinois law, this issue is covered by a statutory section on visitation by certain non-parents. Although the term “visitation” is no longer used to refer to parental rights (and has been replaced with language of “parental responsibilities” and “parenting time”), the term visitation is still used when a non-parent is seeking certain communication or time with the child.

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IL divorce lawyerWe often work with families in the DuPage County Muslim community who have questions about the ways in which Islamic laws are both in conversation with and distinct from Illinois state laws concerning divorce, child custody, and related matters. One issue that often arises in general conversations about Islamic law and divorce is the options that are available to women who want to file for divorce. A recent study of Muslim women and Islamic divorce traditions discusses some of the assumptions that people make about women and Islam, and the various options that may be available to women who are religious and also want to get divorced.

If you are considering your options for divorce but have concerns about divorce in the Islamic tradition versus divorce under state law, one of our experienced Oakbrook Terrace divorce attorneys can speak with you today. At Farooqi & Husain Law Office, we are committed to serving the Muslim community in DuPage County and can discuss options with you.

Dilemmas of Religious Versus Secular Divorce

According to Anisa Buckley, the author of the study cited above, the Islamic tradition recognizes that both Muslim men and women are allowed to divorce. Yet in some community traditions, Islamic laws are interpreted in ways that allow men to divorce their wives unilaterally, while women must secure their husband’s consent. As such, in some situations, a Muslim woman could find herself fully able to obtain a secular divorce according to state law, but unable to obtain an Islamic divorce because her husband will not agree. In this way, Islamic divorce and secular divorce under state law run parallel to one another and largely do not impact one another.

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Il divorce lawyerBefore getting married, many couples enter into a premarital agreement that outlines terms in the event of a divorce. There are many different types of issues that can be negotiated between the parties and can become part of a premarital agreement. However, there are some issues that cannot be enforceable as part of a premarital agreement. For example, parties can never negotiate about child support or include a clause that says one of the parties will not be responsible for making child support payments in the event of a divorce. Parties can, however, negotiate about spousal maintenance. The same is true of postnuptial agreements. Similar to prenuptial agreements, a postnuptial agreement allows spouses to reach an agreement about certain issues in the event of a divorce.

We want to provide you with more information about the enforceability of premarital and postnuptial agreements in the event of a divorce in Oakbrook Terrace. If you do have an agreement in place with your spouse and are planning to file for divorce, one of the experienced Oakbrook Terrace divorce lawyers at our firm can help.

What Makes a Premarital or Postnuptial Agreement Unenforceable

Generally speaking, the Illinois Uniform Premarital Agreement Act governs most matters pertaining to premarital agreements in the state, and issues of enforceability also pertain to postnuptial agreements. Under Illinois law, what makes such an agreement unenforceable?

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IL custody lawyerIf you recently went through a divorce and have minor children from your marriage, you may also have a parenting plan in place that allocates parental responsibilities. Your parenting plan may include the allocation of significant decision-making responsibilities under Illinois law, as well as the allocation of parenting time. There are a wide variety of reasons that one or both parents may want to modify an existing parenting plan. One of the parents, for example, might have started a new job that has significantly different hours and limits that parent’s ability to provide caretaking functions on certain weekends that are currently part of that parent’s parenting time. Or, for example, the child’s extracurricular or school schedule might have changed, meaning that the parents’ schedules will also need to change.

Whatever the reason is for modifying an existing parenting plan, and especially an allocation of parenting time, it is important to know what your options might be. If you have questions or need assistance, one of the experienced DuPage County child custody attorneys at Farooqi & Husain Law Office can speak with you today.

Parents Can Agree to Modify a Parenting Plan

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) clarifies that modification of an existing parenting plan is always possible by “stipulation of the parties.” In other words, if one or both of the parents want to modify the existing parenting plan and both parents agree to that modification, they can do so. In general, modifications are generally straightforward and relatively easy when both parties agree to a modification—whether for a parenting plan or another post-divorce order.

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IL divorce lawyerWhen parents are going through a divorce in Oakbrook Terrace, they often have questions and concerns about parenting time. Under Illinois law, parenting time is one aspect of parental responsibilities, and it can be allocated by the parents through a parenting plan, or the court can allocate parenting time when the parents cannot reach an agreement. In either scenario, the allocation of parenting time must be in the best interests of the child. One issue that arises with regard to parenting time is babysitting, or what will happen when the parent asks another person to care for the child during his or her parenting time.

The parents may be able to have a “right of first refusal.” Generally speaking, the only way a parent might be able to prevent an ex-spouse from hiring a legitimate babysitter during his or her parenting time is if there is a provision for the right of first refusal.

Right of First Refusal Under Illinois Law

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) allows for, but does not require, a provision for the “right of first refusal.” The IMDMA says that the right of first refusal means that if a parent plans on leaving the child with a substitute child-care provider, that parent must first offer the other parent a chance to personally care for the child.

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Il divorce lawyerIf you are thinking about filing for divorce in DuPage County and want to get the process completed as quickly as possible, you may have found information about “joint simplified divorce” under Illinois law, and you may be wondering if you qualify. Joint simplified divorce is, in large part, what it sounds like: a simplified divorce process through which two parties can quickly dissolve their marriage legally.

However, many Illinois residents do not qualify for a joint simplified divorce. Indeed, joint simplified divorce has many requirements, and it can be difficult for parties to meet those requirements. We will tell you more about joint simplified divorce in Illinois to give you a better understanding of who may qualify for it under Illinois law.

Many Married Couples Will Not Qualify for a Joint Simplified Dissolution Procedure

For Muslim couples in DuPage County, joint simplified divorce will not be an option if you have children from the marriage, and it is not an option for any parties anticipating a high asset divorce. Further, it is not a possibility in any situation where one of the spouses will need to seek spousal maintenance or support.

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IL divorce lawyerGoing through a divorce in DuPage County can create complications in many different areas of a person’s life, from financial matters and employment schedules to estate planning. While estate planning might not be the first thing on your mind when you are in the middle of a divorce, it is essential to think carefully about estate planning—and to make any necessary changes—in conjunction with your divorce.

At the Farooqi & Husain Law Office, we routinely serve members of the Muslim community in a variety of divorce matters, and we can assist you with questions concerning divorce and estate planning in DuPage County. One of the Oakbrook Terrace divorce lawyers at our firm can speak with you today.

1. You Should Revisit Your Will

When you are planning for a divorce, you should understand how Illinois divorce law works. At the same time, you should be speaking with your divorce lawyer about revising the terms of your will and how you might make changes according to the Illinois Probate Act. Most parties will leave property to their spouses in a will, and most of those parties will want to make changes after a divorce. If you do not change your will, a divorce will not result in any automatic changes. You need to make those amendments or revisions with your lawyer’s help.

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IL divorce lawyerSocial stigma has surrounded divorce for quite some time in many communities, especially earlier in the 20th century. Yet as divorce becomes normalized and more common, communities throughout DuPage County and across the country are beginning to recognize that stigma associated with divorce and divorced families can do more harm than good. Divorce has even become less stigmatized within Muslim immigrant communities as more people recognize that divorce can be the best option to lead a happy and meaningful life. We want to say more about changing attitudes toward divorce and how those shifting attitudes can benefit the DuPage County Muslim community.

In the meantime, if you have questions or concerns about divorce, an experienced DuPage County divorce attorney at Farooqi & Husain Law Office can discuss your options with you. We have years of experience serving Muslim families in the area and can speak with you about your case.

More Divorces Are Taking Place

Generally speaking, more people are getting divorced than they were even a couple of decades ago. In other words, divorce is becoming more common, which in turn leads to less stigma in general for divorced families. The rate of divorce in the U.S. has almost doubled since 1960. That data comes from the Rutgers University National Marriage Project. In total, about 50 percent of marriages today are likely to end in divorce. And the divorce rate has also risen in the Muslim community.

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IL divorce lawyerDivorce for Muslims in DuPage County can be extremely complicated, especially when there are questions about how Islamic law will apply to the divorce proceeding and the steps that must be taken to obtain an Islamic divorce certificate in addition to a civil divorce decree. One issue that is not especially common but can arise in a Muslim divorce is this: the spouses have minor children from the marriage, and one of the parents is less religious than the other and wants to move away from raising the children in a religious environment. In other words, one of the parents wants to move away from educating the children according to the beliefs and practices of Islam, but the other parent vehemently disagrees. If you are the other parent—the parent who believes in a strong religious upbringing for your children—you are likely concerned and want to know: Can I continue to raise my children according to the teachings of Islam after the divorce?

At Farooqi & Husain Law Office, we know how complicated questions about childrearing can be after a divorce, especially when those matters get at the fundamental religious beliefs of the parties. An experienced Oakbrook Terrace divorce lawyer can help.

Religious Upbringing Under Illinois Law

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) governs the allocation of parental responsibilities, including a parent’s ability to make decisions about the child’s religious upbringing.

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IL divorce lawyerDivorce is complicated and difficult for any family going through this process. Indeed, whether you have only been married for a short time and have no children from the marriage, or have been married for years and still have minor children together, divorce in DuPage County is never easy emotionally or financially. Yet Muslims in DuPage County who are thinking about Islamic divorce may need to consider additional complications. Divorces involving Shariah, or Islamic law, can make the process more complex, especially when the spouses were married outside the U.S. and are now seeking a divorce within the country. Approximately one out of every three Muslim marriages in America result in divorce. This number is lower than the national U.S. average, but it is still a sufficiently high percentage that necessitates additional thinking about Muslim divorces in America.

In the meantime, if you have questions about filing for divorce or how to handle complications for Muslims, an experienced DuPage County divorce lawyer at Farooqi & Husain Law Office can help you. We have years of experience serving the DuPage County Muslim community with a wide variety of family law matters.

Having a Marriage Dissolved in Accordance with Islamic Law

For many Muslims in DuPage County and throughout the greater Chicago area, religion plays an important role, even if it is just a cultural role in the community. For example, weddings, funerals, and divorces are occasions for which Muslims want to abide by Islamic law, and, accordingly, if they want to get divorced, they will want to dissolve that marriage Islamically. For most Muslims in Oakbrook Terrace, this usually means getting a civil divorce decree that they can take to their imam in order to get an Islamic divorce certificate. But getting an Islamic divorce also typically means having dowries and other provisions of marriage contracts enforced. Since many Islamic marriages include a marriage contract with a dowry and other terms, the parties want to be sure that this is enforced upon divorce.

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IL custody lawyerImagine that, in the new year, your employer informs you that you will need to relocate for your job. You may be excited about the opportunity for a promotion, but you may also be worried about child custody and how your relocation will affect your parenting time responsibilities. The answer depends on a number of different factors, including where your boss wants you to relocate and how far it is from your current location. If you have questions about child custody and relocating for a new job, you should seek advice from an experienced DuPage County child custody attorney. In the meantime, here is some additional information that may be able to help you understand how a move can impact child custody.

Do You Already Have a Parenting Plan or Allocation Judgment?

The first question you will want to think about is whether your divorce is finalized and a parenting plan or allocating judgment already exists. If you are only at the early stages of a divorce or child custody case, the court can take into account a planned relocation as it considers what is in the best interests of the child. In other words, you will not need to make any modifications if parental responsibilities—including parenting time—have not yet been allocated.

However, if you are planning to move quite a distance from your current residence, it is essential to have a DuPage County family lawyer on your side to ensure that you are able to share in significant decision-making responsibilities and parenting time regardless of your physical location.

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IL divorce lawyerIf you are involved in a contentious child custody battle, or if your ex is threatening to ask the court to modify a parenting plan or allocation judgment in order to restrict your parenting time, you are likely very concerned about whether this is a possibility. There are many different reasons that one parent might like to restrict the parenting time of the other parent. Sometimes a desire to restrict parenting time arises out of very legitimate concerns about the child’s safety or well-being.

At other times, a parent might try to restrict parenting time simply because she or he does not like the other parent’s approach to caretaking or does not approve of the parent’s lifestyle choices. It is important to know that, if your ex is threatening to restrict parenting time, such restrictions only occur in limited circumstances under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA).

If your ex is threatening to attempt to restrict parenting time, you should get in touch with one of our Oakbrook Terrace child custody lawyers as soon as possible. In the meantime, we want to provide you with more information about parenting time restrictions and why they happen under Illinois law.

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IL divorce lawyerWhen you are preparing for a divorce in DuPage County and are anticipating that you will either be paying alimony (also known as spousal maintenance) or receiving it, it is important to understand how these types of payments work under Illinois law. Generally speaking, in order for one spouse to be eligible to receive support, that spouse has to request support. Then, the next step involves the court looking at a number of different factors to determine whether spousal maintenance is appropriate in the given case. The court must make this determination before it ever considers how maintenance will be paid, for long the payments will last, and how much will get paid. If the court decides spousal maintenance is not appropriate, it never even considers how and when alimony will be paid.

If a court does decide alimony is appropriate, then the court’s next steps are to determine the amount and duration of the alimony award. For most DuPage County residents, the court will use guidelines with formulas to make those determinations. Only once the court has decided the amount and duration of the alimony award will it reach the issue of how it actually gets paid and with what frequency. The frequency of alimony payments can be an important one, both for the spouse making the payments and the spouse receiving the payments. Our DuPage County divorce lawyers want to provide you with more information about lump sum payments.

What Is a Lump Sum Payment for Spousal Maintenance in Illinois?

Spousal support awards typically are paid monthly over a particular duration. For example, if a court determines that Spouse A should pay Spouse B an amount of $2,000 per month for 48 months, then that amount usually would get paid monthly, for a total of $96,000 once the total alimony award is paid out in full.

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IL divorce lawyerIf you are having difficulties in your marriage, you might be considering divorce. At the same time, there are many reasons that you may be thinking about potential alternatives to divorce. To be sure, we work with many Muslim families in DuPage County who want to avoid divorce for religious and cultural reasons. For those families, a legal separation can provide some of the same benefits of divorce without the religious and cultural implications. There are also many financial reasons that legal separation may be preferable to getting divorced. To be clear, a legal separation does not legally end the marriage, but it allows the parties to have some of the benefits that come with a divorce. A divorce, differently, results in a legal end to the marriage.

When you have questions about legal separation versus divorce, you should get in touch with a DuPage County family law attorney who can help with your situation.

What Is a Legal Separation?

Under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), two people who are married can opt for a legal separation instead of a divorce. Not all states have laws for legal separation, but Illinois is a state that does allow for legal separation. The IMDMA clarifies that “any person living separate and apart from his or her spouse may have a remedy for reasonable support and maintenance while they so live apart.” Under the statute (750 ILCS 5/402), the court is also permitted to enter a judgment for legal separation, which can include a property settlement agreement between the parties that the court approves and enters as part of the judgment.

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IL divorce lawyerAfter a divorce in DuPage County involving minor children, it can be difficult for the parents to adjust to co-parenting. This is particularly true when the parents had a very contentious divorce case or when the parents simply are struggling to get along. However, most parents in the Oakbrook Terrace area will end up sharing parenting time in some capacity. To be sure, under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), Illinois courts presume that “both parents are fit” for parenting time, and typically the court will only restrict parenting time when there is a history of violence with one of the parents. Indeed, the court will only restrict parenting time if “it finds by a preponderance of the evidence that a parent’s exercise of parenting time would seriously endanger the child’s physical, mental, moral, or emotional health.”

Given that restrictions on parenting time do not occur with most families in a divorce case, it is likely that parents will share parenting time, even if it is not a 50-50 split. This means that the parents will need to think carefully about co-parenting and how to communicate about their children even if they experienced a particularly contentious divorce. Believe it or not, technology—and online communication tools specifically—can help to make co-parenting easier. Some co-parenting apps may be able to help you transition into post-divorce life and co-parenting with your ex-spouse. We want to discuss some of those online tools and apps with you.

What Can Online Communication Tools Help Parents to Do?

There are a number of benefits to using online communication tools for co-parenting purposes. Rather than communicating in person or over the phone, online communication tools can make it easier for parents to share information about their children, and those tools can make those communications more convenient for both parents. In addition, when parents use online communications tools and apps, studies suggest that parents tend to communicate more frequently about their kids, and the quality of their communications actually improves.

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IL divorce lawyerIf you are thinking about filing for divorce in Oakbrook Terrace, or if you know that your spouse has plans to file for divorce, you are probably already thinking about the complications of property division. While the distribution of marital property will vary in complexity from case to case depending upon the amount and type of assets and debts involved, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) requires that Illinois courts divide all marital property according to the theory of equitable distribution.

Although the court will determine who marital property is divided until the parties can negotiate a property division agreement or property settlement, it may still be possible for one of the parties to make clear that she or he wants to retain particular property for which she or he is willing to give up other property. In a lot of cases, one of the parties wants to keep the marital home.

Why Would One of the Parties Want to Stay in the Marital Home After a Divorce?

There are a variety of reasons that someone may want to stay in the home after the divorce, from a sentimental attachment to the property to issues like raising your child and wanting to keep kids in the same school district.

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IL custody lawyerIf you are considering divorce in DuPage County and have minor children from your marriage, or if you are a family caregiver to minor children, we know that you likely have questions about child custody. The child custody process, now known as the allocation of parental responsibilities under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), can be extremely complicated. We routinely assist parents in the DuPage County Muslim community who have concerns or inquiries about how courts make child custody decisions when courts allocate parental responsibilities, and how the proceedings even begin.

While a divorce can be an event that initiates a proceeding for the allocation of parental responsibilities (meaning that the court will need to allocate parental responsibilities, including significant decision-making responsibilities and parenting time based on what is in the best interests of the child), there are other ways in which this process can get initiated. The dedicated DuPage County child custody lawyers at our firm want to provide you with more information.

How Courts Begin the Process of Allocating Parental Responsibilities

Many people assume that child custody proceedings, or the process in which the court allocates parental responsibilities, can only be initiated in a divorce case. While divorce is one of the ways to get this process started, the IMDMA also provides for numerous others. The following are situations and parties that can initiate the process:

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IL divorce attorneyWhen you are in the process of getting divorced in Oakbrook Terrace or elsewhere in DuPage County, it is important to understand how the process of property division works and when the spouses can play a role in determining how property gets divided. As you may know, Illinois courts divide marital property based on a theory of equitable distribution. This means that property is divided in a way that the court determines to be fair and equitable to both parties. In deciding what is fair and equitable, the court takes into account many different factors that are listed in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA). Of course, when there is an enforceable premarital agreement or postnuptial agreement that specifies how property will be distributed, courts will use the terms in those agreements.

Yet many spouses have questions about “property settlements,” and whether they are able to play a role in deciding how their property gets divided even if there is no premarital or postnuptial agreement. In other words, can the parties work out a system for dividing marital property without the court doing it for them? In short, the answer is yes. The IMDMA has a specific section on “agreement” between the parties, and we want to be clear about how it can allow for a property division agreement. In the meantime, an experienced Oakbrook Terrace divorce lawyer at our firm can help with any questions you have.

Coming to an Agreement About Property Under the IMDMA

If you and your spouse want to negotiate a property settlement, the IMDMA allows you to do so. Whenever you are negotiating about the division of marital property, it is important to have an experienced DuPage County divorce attorney to advocate for your rights and needs. In the agreement, the parties are permitted to create provisions for the disposition of any and all marital property. However, there are some requirements and limitations under the IMDMA:

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