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Recent Blog Posts

Tips for a Successful Parenting Plan

 Posted on January 01, 2018 in Child Custody

Parents who decide to separate and not raise a child together jointly in the same household will need to create a parenting plan, which outlines with whom the child will live, what visitation rights of the other parent will be, which parent will have legal decision-making authority, how the child will be transported between parents’ homes, and more.

Creating a parenting plan can be stressful; parents are not always in agreement regarding how a child should be raised, where the child should live, or how decisions about a child’s life will be made. As you create your parenting plan, here are some tips to keep in mind for success during the process.

Be Comprehensive

The more comprehensive your parenting plan is, the better. At the very least, a successful parenting plan will include a basic schedule for where your child will live, a visitation (parenting time) schedule, an arrangement regarding weekends and holidays, details about how your child will be transported between you and your spouse, how last-minute changes will be handled, how you and your child’s other parent will resolve disputes should they arise, and rules for the child and who will have the authority to make rules or decisions about the child. These are the basics. Add-ons might include rules for cellphones or technology, bedtime schedules, dietary requirements, disciplinary methods, curfews, etc.

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High Net Worth Divorce

 Posted on January 01, 2018 in Divorce

No matter who you are or your economic level, getting divorced is complicated and emotional. For high net worth individuals, a divorce can be especially complex, as more assets to divide typically means more questions about who gets what, and potentially more contention. If you are a high net worth individual who is thinking about or in the midst of a divorce, here’s what you need to know about high net worth divorce and what to expect as you navigate the process.

What Is a High Net Worth Divorce and Why Are These Divorces More Complicated?

A high net worth divorce is a divorce in which one or both parties have multiple assets that make individual or combined net worth very high. These assets may be in a number of forms, including real estate holdings, investments, liquid cash, assets in a trust, businesses, retirement accounts, and more.

High net worth divorces tend to be more complicated because there are more assets to divide and more assets to fight over. In addition to assets alone, one spouse may request hefty alimony payments from the other. Parties may have a more difficult time determining who should get what.

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Foreclosure and Divorce

 Posted on January 01, 2018 in Divorce

One thing that often pushes couples to the brink of a divorce is a financial crisis, which is why a foreclosure on a home and a divorce often go hand-in-hand. Indeed, debt can be one of the biggest stressors in a relationship, and if you are facing debt and are at risk of losing your home, and thinking about divorce, you may have a lot of questions about how each will affect you.

Dividing Debt in a Divorce

Many couples think that if they file for a divorce, they will be able to escape debt, particularly if the debt is in their spouse’s name. However, because Illinois law holds that all property obtained during the course of the marriage is marital property, there is a very good chance that you will be liable for mortgage debt if you and your spouse purchased the home during the course of your marriage. If the house was purchased by one spouse prior to the marriage, then it may be the case that spouse retains the residence and the debt.

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Can I File for an Annulment?

 Posted on January 01, 2018 in Divorce

Terminating a marriage via dissolution (also called divorce) is no easy feat – indeed, getting a divorce requires going through a legal process that can be expensive, confusing, and emotional.

In some cases, however, a couple need not get a divorce in order to end a marriage. Sometimes, a declaration of invalidity of marriage may be issued. This is also called an annulment.

When Can a Person File for an Annulment?

An annulment of a marriage is different from a divorce, in that an annulment treats the marriage as though it never happened. However, a person cannot annul a marriage simply because they feel like it; instead, a declaration of invalidity will only be issued when:

  • One party was not capable of consenting to the marriage at the time it took place (i.e. being intoxicated) or was pressured into the marriage by force or duress;
  • One party lacks the physical capacity to consummate the marriage and at the time that the marriage took place, the other party did not know about this lack of capacity;

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Will I Lose Spousal Support if I Remarry?

 Posted on December 01, 2017 in Divorce

When a couple divorces, one party to the marriage may be awarded spousal support, also called spousal maintenance or alimony. This type of support is designed to help a party who was financially dependent on the other in a marriage maintain their quality of life, typically up until the point that they are able to obtain the education or training necessary to secure their own job and income.

That being said, there are a number of things that can result in the early termination of spousal support – remarrying is one of them.

Spousal Support and Remarriage in Illinois

As found in 750 ILCS 5/510(c), spousal support may be terminated when a party receiving support merely cohabits with another party; marriage is not necessary in order for support to be terminated. Indeed, the specific statute reads that support will end when the party receiving support remarries, or when that person “cohabits with another person on a resident, continuing conjugal basis.”

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Questions to Ask Yourself Before Filing for Divorce

 Posted on December 01, 2017 in Divorce

Separating from one’s spouse permanently via a divorce is a very serious emotional and legal undertaking. Couples who are thinking about a divorce should treat the process as seriously as they did the act of getting married, which includes asking the right questions. In fact, as explained by a psychotherapist in Manhattan, as reported by The New York Times, even if the answers to the questions ultimately lead to a couple seeking divorce regardless, working through the questions may lay the framework for a more amicable divorce proceeding. Here are some questions to ask before filing for divorce:

1. What Are Your Concerns with the Relationship and Reasons that You Want to Divorce?

Getting a divorce isn’t something that you should do because you’re feeling down or fed up with your spouse; you should take the time to figure out exactly what the problem is. If you need help doing this, don’t be afraid to reach out to a professional or therapist.

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Same-Sex Divorce

 Posted on December 01, 2017 in Divorce

Since the law legally went into effect in 2014, same-sex marriage has been recognized in the State of Illinois. But just like all couples, those in a same-sex marriage may find that over the years, issues arise that create a divide between them, leading to divorce.

While a party in a same-sex marriage who is seeking to dissolve the union will need to follow all of the same steps as an individual in an opposite-sex marriage would, same-sex couples may encounter unique issues in divorce.

Child Custody

Perhaps the most complicated issue in a same-sex divorce is that of child custody for couples who have children together. The issue can be even more complicated when one parent is the biological father/mother of the child, and the other has not yet legally adopted the child, raising questions about what the rights of the other parent are. Unfortunately, the Illinois Supreme Court’s decision in In re: Parentage of Scarlett Z set a precedent for the denial of parental rights to people who have not adopted their partners’ children.

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The Importance of a VAP

 Posted on December 01, 2017 in Divorce

Signing a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) is an important step in the preservation of the rights of child, father, and mother alike. The following explains what you need to know about what a VAP is, how to sign one, and why VAPs are so important.

What Is a VAP?

Signing a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form is a way for a father to establish legal parentage–and the rights that are associated with being a parent–without going to court. While parentage is assumed when parents are married, if parents are not married, both parties must sign the VAP in order for the father to establish legal paternity.

When and Where Can a VAP Be Signed?

A VAP can be signed at any time before or after a child’s birth, and is often signed right in the hospital when the child is born. It must be signed by both parents, and be signed in front of a witness of at least 18 years of age in order to be valid.

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Am I Required to Prove Where Child Support Goes?

 Posted on November 01, 2017 in Child Support

When two people have a child together in the state of Illinois, both are responsible for providing for that child financially, even if the couple does not live together or is not married. Typically, the state assumes that the custodial parent is fulfilling this duty, and therefore orders the non-custodial parent to make child support payments. While child support is meant to pay for the child’s housing, food, and other costs of living, sometimes, parents misappropriate funds. Here’s what you need to know about having to prove where you are spending your child support money:

Proving Where Child Support Goes Is Typically Not Required

When a parent is receiving child support payments, whether a mother or a father, they are typically not required to prove to the court where the child support goes and what the money is being used for. Instead, it is assumed by the court that the money is being used to meet the child’s basic needs, which include food, clothing, shelter, and medical care. In addition to the most basic of needs, the court also assumes that any leftover money will be used to pay for other child expenses, such as the costs of education, entertainment, child care services, transportation, and extracurricular activities.

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How Is Property Divided in a Divorce?

 Posted on November 01, 2017 in Property Division

Going through a divorce doesn’t just mean parting ways and forming new lives independently of one another; it also means divvying up property. While couples are encouraged to divide property on their own in a manner that they see fit and both agree to outside of court, in some cases, resolution cannot be reached, and a couple must turn to the court system for guidance. When this is the case, the court will follow Illinois’ laws regarding property division in making its decision.

What Do Illinois Laws Say About Property Division in a Divorce?

Illinois courts recognize the equitable division of marital property. Marital property, as found in 750 ILCS 5/503 means all property, including both debts and assets, that were acquired by either spouse during the course of the marriage, with the exception of property that was acquired by gift or legacy, property acquired in exchange for another property that was acquired prior to marriage, and property acquired after a judgement of legal separation is issued (you can see the full list by referring to the cited code).

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