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IL family lawyerIf you are going to file for divorce and you have minor children from your marriage, or if you are in the early stages of a DuPage County divorce case that will involve child custody, it is important to understand how Illinois law defines child custody and how courts in the state handle child custody cases. As you might already know, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) governs child custody or the allocation of parental responsibilities. Rather than awarding child custody to one or both parents, Illinois courts allocate parental responsibilities, which include significant decision-making responsibilities and parenting time. Significant decision-making responsibilities are somewhat akin to what courts used to describe as legal custody, while parenting time is somewhat akin to what courts used to describe as physical custody and visitation.

Within the allocation of parental responsibilities, you might learn about something known as “caretaking functions.” What are caretaking functions in child custody in Illinois? In short, caretaking functions are the responsibilities that parents have for their children when they have parenting time. Our experienced DuPage County child custody lawyers want to provide you with more information about caretaking functions and how they might apply to your child custody case.

Defining Caretaking Functions Under Illinois Law

The IMDMA defines caretaking functions as “tasks that involve interaction with a child that direct, arrange, and supervise the interaction with and care of a child provided by others, or for obtaining the resources allowing for the provision of these functions.” In practical terms, and on a day-to-day basis, caretaking functions may include but are not limited to the following:

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IL divorce lawyerMany DuPage County residents who are served with divorce papers already know that their spouse was planning to file for divorce, but some people are surprised. Regardless of whether you were expecting to be served with divorce papers or news of your spouse’s filing has come as a shock, it is critical to think about your next steps. Do you need to respond, and how quickly do you need to do so? Have you hired a divorce lawyer yet to work on your case? And what type of planning do you need to be doing in advance of a court hearing or family mediation? These are all important questions, and it is essential to discuss them with an Oakbrook Terrace family lawyer. Although the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) governs all divorces in the state, everyone will have a divorce case with its own set of facts. Accordingly, it will be important to make a plan that fits your needs.

In the meantime, the advocates at Farooqi & Husain want to provide you with some information about the general steps you should take after you have been served with divorce papers in Illinois.

Hire an Experienced DuPage County Divorce Lawyer

The first thing you should do after receiving divorce papers is to hire a DuPage County divorce lawyer who has experience handling divorce cases in your area and who has experience representing clients in cases with issues similar to your own. If you know, for example, that issues are likely to come up concerning the religious upbringing of your children when the court is making decisions about the allocation of parental responsibilities, you should seek advice from an attorney who regularly handles such cases. Similarly, if you have questions or concerns about the relationship between Islamic law and Illinois law in divorce cases, you should get in touch with an Islamic divorce attorney in DuPage County.

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IL divorce lawyerMany married couples in DuPage County opt for a legal separation instead of a divorce. Under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), a legal separation can allow spouses to live separate and apart without actually going through the legal process of divorce while still asking the court to determine issues like support and the allocation of parental responsibilities. There are many different reasons that spouses opt for a legal separation instead of a divorce. For many Muslim families, legal separation is preferable to divorce for religious reasons, but you may also have other motivations for seeking a legal separation instead of divorce. For instance, one of the spouses may need to rely on the other spouse’s health insurance for major treatment or care, or the spouses may be thinking about tax considerations.

Regardless of your initial reason for seeking a legal separation instead of a divorce, you might now be considering a divorce and you may be unsure about the steps you need to take to move forward. It is important to discuss the particular facts of your situation with a DuPage County family lawyer, but in the meantime, we can provide you with general information about moving from a legal separation to a divorce.

You Can File for Divorce After a Legal Separation

The IMDMA is clear that you can file for divorce even if you have a legal separation—you do not need to choose between a legal separation or a divorce with the understanding that the two are mutually exclusive. The IMDMA expressly states:

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IL divorce lawyerMany Muslim families in DuPage County struggle with the decision about whether a divorce is appropriate. Although two spouses might be having significant problems in their marriage, the prospect of going through a divorce can be unappealing for religious and cultural reasons. Yet for many Muslims, there is a need to move forward with a separation that involves the court making decisions about marital property and child custody. In some situations, there are allegations of family or domestic violence, and one of the spouses might not feel safe remaining in the relationship or in the same household. In other situations, the animosity between the spouses might have reached a level that requires a change.

For Muslim spouses in DuPage County who do not feel comfortable getting divorced, a legal separation might be an option. Although many states in the country do not have specific provisions for a legal separation, the state of Illinois does specifically consider legal separation in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA). Our experienced Oakbrook Terrace family lawyers want to help you gain more information about legal separation.

Support and Maintenance Can Be Ordered in a Legal Separation

One of the first and most important issues to know about legal separation in Illinois is that the IMDMA allows the court to order support and maintenance in a legal separation. The statute expressly states that any individual living separate and apart from his or her spouse may have a remedy for reasonable support while they live apart.

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IL divorce lawyerThere are many situations in which one of the spouses in a divorce case needs assistance from an experienced lawyer but cannot afford the same type of attorney or firm that his or her spouse will likely be able to afford. In many cases, this situation arises when one of the spouses was the primary breadwinner or earner in the family and the other spouse was a stay-at-home parent or has a job that pays significantly less money. Yet when issues of property division and child custody are at stake, we know how critical it is to have an experienced DuPage County family law attorney on your side who can represent you and your interests. Accordingly, we know that there are many DuPage County residents who are anticipating a divorce but cannot afford a divorce lawyer and are wondering whether they can require their spouse to pay for their attorney.

Although it might not immediately seem logical that one spouse could ask the other spouse to pay for his or her DuPage County divorce attorney, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) does in fact allow a spouse to seek what are known as “interim attorney’s fees” in a divorce case. We want to provide you with more information about how this process works.

When Can I Seek Interim Attorney’s Fees?

If your spouse was the primary earner in your marriage or is a higher earner than you, it can be difficult to figure out how you will pay for an experienced family lawyer to represent you in the divorce case. Depending upon the specific facts of your situation, you may be able to ask the court for interim attorney’s fees. Divorce cases can get expensive and lengthy, especially when the parties are anticipating a contested divorce.

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Posted on in Spousal Support

IL divorce lawyerThere are many different reasons that an ex-spouse could seek a modification of spousal maintenance (also described as alimony or spousal support). In a divorce case in DuPage County, the court might award spousal support to one of the parties based on certain factors from the marriage, and that spouse’s ability to earn a living without obtaining additional education or training. In short, an Illinois court may determine that spousal maintenance is appropriate, and then it will award a specific amount of alimony. In most cases, the amount and the duration of alimony is based on a formula, so it is streamlined. Yet that formula considers both spouses’ incomes when determining the amount of the award.

Accordingly, if one of the spouse’s incomes changes significantly, it could be a reason to ask the court to modify the support payments. We want to provide you with more information generally, but if you have specific questions about your particular circumstances, you should seek advice from an Oakbrook Terrace divorce lawyer.

Calculating Spousal Support in Illinois

Illinois law now says that, for most couples getting divorced where alimony is appropriate, courts should use a formula for calculating the amount of spousal support. That formula says the court should take 33.3 percent of the paying spouse’s net income and subtract 25 percent of the receiving spouse’s net income. The remaining amount is the spousal support amount. For most couples that collectively earn less than $500,000, the court will apply this formula.

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IL divorce lawyerIf you are in the early stages of your divorce case, or if you are considering a divorce in DuPage County, you may have concerns about your child’s religious upbringing once you and your spouse are sharing parental responsibilities from different households. Many parents in the DuPage Muslim community have had similar concerns while going through divorce cases, and it is important to know that Illinois law does have specific elements to guide courts in determining how a child’s religious upbringing will be handled after a divorce.

Generally speaking, courts will respect any agreement the parents have made about the child’s religious upbringing, but it is essential to have an experienced DuPage County child custody lawyer on your side who can represent you. Even if you do have an agreement with your spouse, divorces and child custody cases can get contentious, and you will need an advocate on your side.

When You Have an Express Agreement with Your Spouse About Your Child’s Religious Upbringing

Under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), determining how a child’s religious upbringing will be handled after a divorce is one part of the process of allocating parental responsibilities. The IMDMA clearly suggests that parents’ previous agreements generally will be upheld by the court. Accordingly, if you have an express agreement with your spouse—ranging from a legal contract that has been drawn up prior to or after the marriage, to a series of emails between you and your spouse in which you reach an agreement—the court will defer to the parents’ express agreement concerning the child’s religious upbringing.

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Posted on in Illinois Family Law

IL family lawyerWhen you go through a difficult divorce involving minor children from your marriage, the prospect of needing to go back to court in order to modify an order can feel daunting. However, parents and children can experience significant changes in circumstances that require a modification of an existing allocation judgment or child support order. In particular, if you lose your job or if you suddenly are required to take a substantial pay cut, you may be concerned about meeting your child support obligation. Under such circumstances, it may be possible to ask the court to modify the child support order. When you are seeking a modification, you should always work with an experienced DuPage County family law attorney.

How DuPage County Courts Determine Child Support

Under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), courts in DuPage County and throughout Illinois determine child support obligations based on guidelines and the “income shares” model for calculating child support. This method is streamlined based on the total income of both parents. In using the income shares model, the court will combine both parents’ incomes to determine the total income. Then, the court will look at the Illinois child support guidelines, which provide a specific monthly child support obligation based on the total income (of both parents) and the number of minor children in need of support.

The court determines each parent’s percentage of that obligation based on the parent’s individual income, number of overnights with the child, and other relevant factors. Yet a parent’s ability to pay his or her child support obligation can change over time.

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IL family lawyerIf you are going through a complicated family law matter and it seems as though it will be difficult or even impossible to resolve the dispute without doing harm to your family, you might want to consider a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). More specifically, family mediation might be able to provide you with the necessary tools to resolve the dispute with your spouse or another family member while helping you to keep costs down. If you have questions or want to learn more about family mediation in DuPage County, you should seek advice from one of the Oakbrook Terrace family law attorneys at Farooqi & Husain Law Office. We are committed to serving the Muslim community and can discuss ADR options for your family law case.

What Is Mediation?

Under Illinois law, mediation is defined as a process in which a mediator facilitates communication between parties to assist them in reaching a voluntary agreement regarding their dispute. A neutral third party known as a mediator is the figure who facilitates dialogue between the parties and helps them to reach a decision that resolves their dispute. Mediation can be helpful in family law cases, but it is not limited to family law matters. To be sure, mediation can be used in an attempt to resolve a wide variety of legal disputes.

It is important to understand some key elements of mediation if you are considering it for your family law case. First, the mediator plays a role that is very different from a judge. Unlike a judge, who hears both parties’ sides and makes a decision, the mediator does not hear the disputing parties’ positions and does not issue any rulings or judgments. Instead, the mediator is there to help the parties engaged in discussion about the dispute, to negotiate, and ultimately to resolve the dispute. Next, and also importantly, if the parties do not reach an agreement in mediation, nothing that has been said or communicated is binding. Mediation only becomes binding if the parties voluntarily agree.

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IL family lawyerIf you are in the process of filing for divorce in DuPage County, or you are planning to file for divorce, you may have questions about child support and college expenses after the divorce. In particular, if you and your spouse have one or more children who are nearing the age where they will attend college, the matter of paying for college expenses can become contentious, especially if you had college expenses plans in place that will be difficult to maintain after a divorce. You might want to know: can the court order one or both of the parents to pay for college expenses under Illinois law?

According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), in a divorce, educational expenses for a non-minor child can be awarded. The following information can help you to learn more about how this works. If you have additional questions or need assistance, you should reach out to an Oakbrook Terrace divorce lawyer. The advocates at Farooqi & Husain Law Office are committed to serving the Muslim community and can begin working with you on your case today.

What Are Educational Expenses for a Non-Minor Child?

Under the IMDMA, educational expenses for a non-minor child are essentially college expenses. In a divorce case, the court can award money out of the income or property of either spouse for the educational expenses of any child. The court can also require either or both parties to do or pay the following:

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IL custody lawyerAt Farooqi & Husain Law Office, we have years of experience representing parents in the DuPage County Muslim community in a wide variety of divorce and family law matters. We often speak with parents who have questions about child custody, known as “parental responsibilities” under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA). The following are some of the common questions we receive, along with answers that can help you to gain a better understanding of child custody in Illinois. If you plan to move forward with a divorce in which parental responsibilities will need to be allocated, you should seek advice from a DuPage County family lawyer.

What Are the Different Types of Parental Responsibilities?

There are two different types of parental responsibilities under the IMDMA: significant decision-making responsibilities and parenting time. The language in the IMDMA changed in the recent past, incorporating these forms of parental responsibilities instead of legal and physical custody. You can think about significant decision-making responsibilities like legal custody (when a parent has the right to make significant decisions about the child’s life and upbringing), and you can think about parenting time like physical custody or visitation (when the child spends time with the parent and the parent provides caretaking functions).

Do Parents Have a Say in the Allocation of Parental Responsibilities?

Parents can have a say in the allocation of parental responsibilities if they are able to work together to develop a parenting plan in which they allocate parental responsibilities. A family lawyer in DuPage County can help with this process. As long as parents allocate parental responsibilities in a parenting plan based on the child’s best interests, the court can approve the plan, and it can have the same legal force as an allocation judgment. However, if the parents cannot agree, then the court will allocate parental responsibilities, and the parents will play much less of a role in determining how significant decision-making responsibilities are parenting time are allocated and shared.

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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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