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A postnuptial agreement is "an important and effective tool in Illinois and should not be forgotten by practitioners," writes Chicago lawyers Joshua S. Singewald and Kellie Rose Bylica in the September ISBA Family Law Section newsletter.

As in the case of any contract, a postnup must be entered into voluntarily by the parties, and the familiar contract-law protections against coercion and mistake apply, Singewald and Bylica note. And Illinois law "require[s] a full disclosure of each party's assets and liabilities for every postnuptial agreement," allowing each "to make an informed decision."

So when would a married couple use one? "[I]f one spouse intends to start a business during the marriage, the business-owning spouse may want to protect his or her business in the event of divorce," Singewald and Bylica write. "Similarly…a spouse [who] makes a substantial non-marital contribution to a marital asset," such as making the down payment on a house, might want to assure reimbursement, they write. Postnups also enable the parties to allocate debt, deal with bequests to children of previous marriages, and even "[r]evise a prenuptial agreement based on current/changed circumstances."

Learn more about postnups in the September Family Law newsletter.

The Kendall County State's Attorney's Office is seeking to hire a full-time assistant state's attorney in the criminal/traffic/DUI division. This is an entry level position, and qualified candidates should have zero (0) to three (3) years of prior work experience. Salary is commensurate with experience. 

Interested candidates should submit a resume, writing sample, and professional references no later than Thursday, Nov. 30, by e-mail or addressed to:

The Office of State's Attorney
Kendall County
807 West John Street
Yorkville, IL
Tel: (630) 553-4157
Fax: (630) 553-4204

The Kendall County State's Attorney's Office is an Equal Opportunity Employer.


Kerry Bryson of the Office of the State Appellate Defender reviews the Illinois Supreme Court ruling in the criminal case In re Jarquan B.

In re Jarquan B

In January 2015, the state filed a delinquency petition alleging that Jarquan B. committed the Class A misdemeanor offense of criminal trespass to a motor vehicle. The minor pled guilty and was sentenced to court supervision and a 30-day detention term that was stayed. Jarquan B. was advised that if he violated the terms of his supervision, he could be placed on probation or taking into custody on the stayed detention term. Due to subsequent violations, the minor was placed on electronic home monitoring and then ordered to serve time in juvenile detention.

In September 2015, the state filed a petition alleging Jarquan B. had again violated the terms of his supervision on multiple occasions after release from detention. The minor admitted the violations and was resentenced to six months of probation. He was admonished that if he violated probation, he could be sentenced to a term of detention. Almost immediately (i.e., on his way back to his residential placement facility), the minor fled from staff thereby violating his probation. Following his admission to the probation violation, the minor was resentenced to a term in the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) in April 2016.


Asked and Answered

By John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC

Q. Our firm is a 25-attorney firm located in Austin, Texas. I am the firm administrator. We are planning on having a firm retreat in February and are wondering whether we should include the spouses. Some of our partners think we should include spouses while others think that we should not. We have had retreats in the past and have not included spouses. I would appreciate your thoughts.

New attorneys will be admitted to practice in Illinois on Thursday, Nov. 9, with Illinois Supreme Court and Illinois Appellate Court justices presiding and administering the attorney's oath to 1,335 new attorneys at five separate locations across the state. 

All of the candidates set to be sworn in have passed the Illinois State Bar Examination and a required ethics examination and were certified by the Supreme Court Committee on Character and Fitness. They will bring the total number of licensed attorneys in Illinois to approximately 98,000.

The largest group, 1,022, will be admitted in the First Judicial District during two ceremonies at the Arie Crown Theater, located at 2301 S. Lake Shore Drive, in Chicago. The ceremonies will be at 9:45 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. Illinois Supreme Court Justice Mary Jane Theis will preside over both ceremonies.

Guests of the morning ceremony will include Dartesia Pitts, president of the Cook County Bar Association; Randy K. Johnson of the Illinois Board of Admissions to the Bar; and Hon. Cecilia Horan, president of the Lesbian and Gay Bar Association. Judge Stuart E. Palmer will move for admission of the class. Judge Robert W. Bertucci will second the motion.

In the September ISBA Trusts & Estates Section newsletter, Chicago lawyer Michael H. Erde shares 20 nuggets of wisdom he's gleaned in his 48 years of practice. Here are 10.

1. Use blue ink. "Have your clients sign in blue ink so judges and attorneys know which are the originals," Erde advises.

2. Mention an heir you're disinheriting. "Always mention an heir who is disinherited in a will or trust," Erde writes. But don't leave him or her a dollar, "because the executor/trustee will never get a receipt."

3. Get a conflict waiver. If you're drafting a joint trust for husband and wife, "be sure to obtain a conflict waiver for representing both."

4. Specifically give the executor access to safety deposit boxes. "Some financial organizations will not allow a trustee or agent into a safety deposit box unless there is specific language in the Trust or Power of Attorney to allow the trustee or the agent the authority to do so," Erde writes.

5. Make will and trust contesters pay legal fees. "Have a no-contest clause that causes the person contesting his or her share in a trust to pay all legal fees," Erde writes. This will make people think twice before contesting.

6. Advise clients to give guns only to FOID-card holders.

Joseph V. Salvi
Joseph V. Salvi
The Illinois Supreme Court appointed Joseph V. Salvi as circuit court judge for the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit, Lake County, Fifth Subcircuit on Friday, Nov. 3. Judge Salvi’s appointment will take effect on January 2, 2018. He will be seeking election for circuit court judge in the November 2018 general election.

Mr. Salvi was first appointed Associate Judge of the 19th Judicial Circuit on January 2, 2013, where he was assigned to the criminal division until 2015 and most recently the civil/family division.

Prior to his time on the bench, Mr. Salvi was a partner at the Lake Zurich general practice law firm Salvi, Salvi & Wifler, P.C., where he handled both civil and criminal cases, as well as transactional matters in real estate, business and estate administration. From 1992 until 2012, Mr. Salvi served as guardian ad litem for disabled individuals.

Mr. Salvi holds memberships in the Lake County Bar Association, Illinois State Bar Association, and the Illinois Judicial Association. 

For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Judge Salvi at lakejudgejoe@gmail.com.

The Illinois Supreme Court announced yesterday findings from a judicial decision-making study undertaken by the Supreme Court Committee on Equality. The results found that implicit biases are present and impact outcomes depending on the race, gender, poverty, and legal representation status of hypothetical parties. Factors such as adverse working conditions were also found to have a potential affect on a judge's ability to deliver consistent, unbiased decisions. 

The statewide study, completed by the majority of Illinois judges, was developed and analyzed by the American Bar Foundation with researchers Dr. Andrea Miller and Dr. Robert Nelson. Designed to analyze the approaches to judicial decision-making and the considerations that influence outcomes of those decisions, an online questionnaire involving hypothetical court cases assessing judicial decision-making in different areas of law was first distributed in November 2016 with data collection from all circuit courts concluding in April 2017. In all, 619 of the 901 circuit court judges in Illinois completed the survey.

Robert C. Nelson of Nelson & Nelson discusses the average weekly wage, a critical workers' compensation issue that determines how much money a person receives while they are off work.

On September 22, 2017, HB 2537 became Public Act 100-0520. It makes changes to the Code of Civil Procedure and the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), which has been the subject of a major overhaul in the past few years. The law takes effect June 1, 2018.

One major change during the Act's first overhaul was to make it gender-neutral to better include same-sex marriages within the language of the statute. Some portions of the new law seem geared towards cleaning up remaining language that wasn't gender neutral. It also streamlines the process for name changes, rewrites the calculation for the duration of spousal maintenance, and raises the combined income ceiling for couples to whom the maintenance guidelines apply from $250,000 to $500,000.

Perhaps the biggest change in the new law appears in 750 ILCS 5/504, which involves the calculation of spousal maintenance and its duration. It also increases the gross-income ceiling for cases to which the guidelines apply from $250,000 per year to $500,000 per year.

Under the current math, the duration of maintenance is calculated based on five-year chunks of time. For instance, a marriage that lasted five years or less receives different treatment than one that lasted more than five but less than 10 years. Under the new law, calculating the duration of maintenance takes a more granular approach that seems more logical. For instance, it seems arbitrary that a one-day difference in filing for divorce can result in a doubling of the modifier used to determine how long a spouse will receive maintenance.

Find out more about P.A. 100-0520 in the November Illinois Bar Journal