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How Is Property Divided in a Divorce?

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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).


Forming a Holiday Parenting Schedule

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From Thanksgiving to Hanukkah to Christmas and more, there is no doubt that November kicks off the holiday season for people in Illinois from a variety of cultures and backgrounds. Which is why for parents who are divorced or separated, taking the time to form a holiday parenting schedule now is a smart idea. If you need assistance in the formation of a holiday parenting schedule that both you and your child’s other parent can live with, please contact the offices of Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C. today.

Why Form a Holiday Parenting Schedule?

Everyone knows how stressful the holidays can be, and the last thing that you want to have to worry about is with whom your shared child will celebrate. Not only will this create more stress for you, but fighting over parenting time during the holidays can create anxiety for your child as well, having a negative effect on their psychological and emotional wellbeing. Developing a co-parenting plan for the holidays can also be a nice way to blend different family traditions and put aside differences for the time being.


Am I Required to Prove Where Child Support Goes?

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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.


What is an Uncontested Divorce?

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If you live in Illinois, you have the option of filing for an uncontested divorce. An uncontested divorce is just as it sounds – a divorce in which the parties are not contesting the terms, because they are in agreement on how the divorce will work. If you’re looking to have a quick divorce with as little hassle and expense as possible, an uncontested divorce is the way to go.

TheIllinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act lays out the procedure for an uncontested divorce (which the statute refers to as a “Joint Simplified Dissolution of Marriage”). It states that married couples may file a joint petition for a simplified dissolution if, at the time the divorce proceedings begin, they meet certain factors. These factors include:

  • No children were born or adopted during the marriage, and at the time of the divorce, neither spouse is pregnant;
  • The parties have been separated for 6 months or longer;
  • The spouses have been married for no more than 8 years;
  • Neither spouse owns any real estate;
  • At least one of the spouses has been a resident of Illinois for 90 days prior to the start of proceedings, or is a member of the armed forces who has been stationed in Illinois for at least 90 days prior to the start of proceedings;
  • Both parties are willing to waive their rights to maintenance (i.e. alimony);
  • The spouses have disclosed to each other all of their assets, and their tax returns, for all of the years that they have been married; and
  • The spouses have a written agreement dividing all assets that cost more than $100 in value, and allocating responsibility for debts and liabilities between them.

There are also other requirements, such as maximum income levels, and maximum values of marital property, that may determine a couple’s eligibility for an uncontested divorce.


How Do I End Child Support Payments?

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For parents who are not married, each parent has a duty to ensure that their child is provided for financially. As such, a noncustodial parent (parent with less parenting time) will have to make child support payments to the custodial parent (parent with majority parenting time) throughout the course of the child’s non-adult years. Typically, child support payments are terminated when the child turns 18 years of age, or when the child finishes high school. Here’s what you need to know about ending child support payments:

If Your Order Contains a Termination Date…

Most child support orders contain a termination date, which is the date that you are no longer legally required to continue making child support payments. If your order contains such a termination date, then you will simply need to keep making payments up until that date. If payments are being automatically withdrawn from an account or from your paycheck, you should show your support order to the party responsible for withdrawals (i.e. your employer) to confirm that payments will indeed be terminated.


Do I Have to Wait to Get Divorced?

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If you and your spouse are ready to get divorced, waiting for the divorce to be finalized can be challenging. Here’s what you need to know about waiting to get divorced in Illinois, including waiting and residency requirements.

There Is a Residency Requirement

In order to file for a divorce in Illinois, you or your spouse must meet the residency requirement in order to bring forth your petition for dissolution of marriage. The requirement is that you must reside in the State of Illinois for a period of 90 days either before filing for divorce or before the entry of the divorce Judgment. That means that even if you just moved to Illinois and have not resided here for 90 days, you can still file for divorce.


Can I Get Visitation with My Grandchildren?

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Divorce and other family issues do not just affect parents and their children; they have the potential to negatively affect grandparents, too. As such, grandparents in Illinois may have questions about how a custody arrangement may affect them, and what their rights are if one or both parents does not want the grandparent to see the grandchild. For grandparents in Illinois, getting visitation rights with grandchildren is possible, but only under very limited circumstances.

Filing a Petition for Visitation

The best thing for a child, parents and grandparents alike is for all parties to agree about grandparent visitation. However, sometimes, for whatever reason, one or both parents may deny a grandparent the right to see their grandchild. When this is the case, a grandparent may file a petition for visitation. However, it is important to note that the state of Illinois is decidedly pro-parent/anti-grandparent in visitation decisions, and a petition for visitation may only be filed by a grandparent when there has been an “unreasonable denial of visitation by a parent and the denial has caused the child undue mental, physical, or emotional harm” (750 ILCS 5/602.9). In order to meet this standard, the petitioner (grandparent) will need to present different evidence types, as it is the petitioner who carries the burden of proof to establish that the parents’ actions have caused or will cause harm to the child. In addition to proving harm, the court may also consider such factors such as:


When Does Spousal Maintenance End in Illinois?

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When you are obligated to pay spousal maintenance, previously called alimony, you may be interested to know more about when your duty ends. Even if you are okay with it at first, spousal support may become annoying after years or decades of making payments. You may also become angry if you feel the support is unnecessary.

There are multiple ways spousal maintenance may end in Illinois. If you are frustrated with your obligation to pay and are interested in seeing if you can terminate the duty, contact us at Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C. today.

When Does Spousal Support End in Illinois


If you are part of a difficult divorce or a parenting time and responsibilities battle, you may want to consider requesting the court appoint a guardian ad litem for your child. A guardian ad litem is an objective third party assigned by a judge to determine the best interests of a child during a court case. This professional, who is usually an attorney, has a thorough understanding of the factors used to determine a child’s best interests under Illinois law and experience navigating complex family situations. While a guardian ad litem will provide an opinion to the court regarding the best situation for your child, he or she does not make any legal decisions

If you believe a guardian ad litem may be necessary for your case or your child’s other parent has petitioned the court for one, contact us at Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C. today. We can help you navigate a difficult situation, with or without a guardian ad litem involved.

When Should a Child Have a Guardian ad Litem?


Bankruptcy is a legal process through which you can clear away some or all of your debt. This type of proceeding exists because the government recognizes that a financial burden can become too much for a person or family. It may feel like there is no way for you to get out from under a mountain of debt. However, bankruptcy is not automatic or easy. Obtaining a fresh start can take a lot of work, including cooperating with an attorney, a bankruptcy trustee, and your creditors.

Unfortunately, if you and your spouse are considering both bankruptcy and divorce, the situation may feel overly complicated. To learn about how these two legal matters intersect and whether you should begin a bankruptcy or divorce first, contact us at Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C. as soon as possible.

Types of Bankruptcy

The two most common types of bankruptcy for the average person are known as Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Under a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, all or a large percentage of your debts are paid through the liquidation process, which means all of your assets are sold. The remaining debts are then discharged and you are no longer responsible for them. This is the kind of bankruptcy that truly gives you a blank slate. You can get through a Chapter 7 bankruptcy rather quickly – usually in a few months.


8 Signs You Are Ready for a Divorce

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You should never rush into a divorce. By making a split-second decision to file, you have not given yourself time to evaluate your feelings. You also have not given yourself time to work on problems with your spouse and build a stronger marriage. However, after weeks, months, or even years of considering the option, it may be time for you to seriously consider your future and whether a divorce is right for you.

Signs You Are Ready for a Divorce

No individual or marriage is the same. An issue that may not bother one couple, such as different religions, may be a deal breaker for different partners. However, there are certain signs that almost always indicate you and your spouse are on the way toward a divorce, including:


Understanding Guardianship in Illinois

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Family members and close friends often encounter situations in which they need to take care of each other. Sometimes grandparents have to raise their grandchildren. Sometimes adults have to care for their elderly relatives. Other times, siblings and cousins need to look after someone who is ill. During these times, legal guardianship may be appropriate. Yet guardianship is not appropriate in every situation. Contact our experienced Naperville guardianship attorneys at Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C. to learn more about this relationship.

What is Guardianship?

Guardianship creates a legally binding relationship between a guardian, who must be a legally competent adult, and a minor or disabled adult. It places a great deal of responsibility on the guardian’s shoulders and ensures the minor or disabled adult receives the care he or she needs.


The Basics of Adoption in Illinois

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If you live in Illinois and want to adopt, your options and the process are dictated by 750 ILCS 50/, known as The Adoption Act. However, your next best step is not to just read up on the law. As comprehensive as the statute is, it will not answer all of your questions. You should contact an experienced adoption attorney from Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C. to learn about the law and how it applies to your situation. We can explain your rights and legal options as a potential adoptive parent.

Who Can Adopt in Illinois?

You are entitled to pursue adoption if you are a legally competent adult. Whether you are male or female, married or single, you can try to adopt. You are not required to have a certain level of education, type of career, or own a home. You are not prohibited from adopting based on having a disability. However, if you work with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) or a private agency, you can expect your life, skills, and preparedness to be judged in regard to whether you are ready to be a parent.


It may be shocking when your spouse unexpectedly files for divorce and serves you with divorce papers, but you have to come out of your shock quickly. You do not have time to dwell on the sadness and anger you may feel before taking action. Instead, it is in your best interests to act quickly and contact an experienced Illinois divorce attorney from Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C. We understand the divorce may have taken you by surprise, and we will help you prepare for the weeks and months ahead.

What to do When Your Spouse Suddenly Files for Divorce

If you are hit with an unexpected divorce, you cannot simply wait and see what happens. Despite your shock, you have to take steps to address the situation as best you can and protect your rights. You should:


Whether you are an architect, accountant, doctor, dentist, or another type of licensed professional, you are not an ordinary business owner. Much of your practice is based upon your skills, personality, and reputation. It is not a business that can run on its own while you manage things from afar or grow without your dedication and hard work. All of this means you may be particularly concerned with how a divorce could impact your professional practice. During your divorce, you will have to navigate your spouse’s potential interest in your practice while protecting it for the future.

Is All or Part of Your Practice Marital Property?

One of the most important questions regarding your professional practice during a divorce is whether any portion of its value or assets is marital property. If you began your practice during your marriage, it is highly likely that all or part of it is considered marital property. A common exception to this is if you and your spouse created a post-nuptial agreement stating the practice was separate from the marital estate. If you opened your practice prior to your marriage, there is a greater likelihood that a portion of it is not part of the marital estate. However, if the value of your practice increased during the marriage, your spouse may have a right to a portion of this appreciation.


When Should I File for Divorce?

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Concluding a divorce that is right for you takes time. It may require months or years of soul-searching and of trying to improve your marriage. Yet even when you understand a divorce is necessary, you still have to ask yourself: When should I file? Life, particularly with children, is busy and chaotic. It is necessary to think about the timing of this major change in regard to what is best for you and how it may impact the legal process.

When is it Time to File for Divorce?

Overall, you should file for divorce when you are ready. There is never going to be a perfect moment to end your marriage. It will always be a difficult decision and time period for you and your family. However, once you know you are ready to move forward with a divorce, there are some factors to consider:


Not every parenting and child support situation is ideal. You may have been saddled with a child support bill that is more than you can afford. You may also feel unfairly targeted to pay support for a child you rarely see. At Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C., we understand you may be in a difficult position right now and need help dealing with this child support order. Call us today to learn more about the potential consequences of not paying court-ordered support and how we can help you modify the current child support order or parenting time and responsibilities.

The Child Support Collections Process

When your other child’s parent attempts to collect child support, you can expect a fairly routine process. After not paying the ordered support amount for weeks or months, you will be summoned to court. You will also receive documents requiring you to submit your income information to the court. This may include providing copies of your previous year’s tax return and pay stubs.


Has your spouse been consistently uncompromising during your marriage? Has he often blamed others for his problems and avoided responsibility? Does she lack self-awareness about her propensity for drama and conflict despite consistently receiving negative feedback? If you answered yes to these questions, you may be married to a high-conflict individual. Understanding what this means and the strategies to deal with him or her during your divorce can help you during this tough time.

Who is a High-Conflict Individual?

A high-conflict individual is someone who exhibits a pattern of behaviors that increase conflict instead of seeking to resolve it, according to Bill Eddy, LCSW, Esq., and founder of the High Conflict Institute. High-conflict people often exhibit certain behaviors, including:


As a father, you have just as much of a right to custody of your children as their mother. Despite common misconceptions, there is no legal preference for moms over dads. However, as a father seeking all or a majority of parenting time and responsibilities, you will be put under a microscope. You may have to overcome deeply ingrained stereotypes such as fathers being less able to care for infants. To do this and show the judge it is in your children’s best interests to live with you, you should understand common pitfalls associated with dads seeking custody and how to avoid them.

Actions to Avoid as a Father Seeking Custody

If you are a father seeking all or a majority of parenting time and responsibilities in Illinois, consider avoiding these common issues:


Understanding Annulment in Illinois

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When a marriage runs its course, most spouses have it dissolved through divorce. This legal process ends the connection between the spouses and gives them a place to work out relevant issues like the division of assets, parenting time, parenting responsibilities and support. However, there are rare circumstances in which the best thing for an individual to do is ask for an annulment, which Illinois calls a declaration of invalidity.

The Difference Between Divorce and Annulment

A divorce recognizes a marriage existed for a period of time and has now ended. The marriage was valid while it occurred. An annulment, or declaration of invalidity, finds that a marriage was never valid in the eyes of the law. This makes it as if a legal marriage never took place at all.

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