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Recent Blog Posts

Why are Illinois divorce rates so low?

 Posted on August 19, 2022 in Divorce

Illinois has very low divorce rates. According to World Population Review, Illinois ranks number six with a crude divorce rate of 6.2 per 1,000 people.

The question you might ask is, why? There is no perfect explanation for why divorce rates increase or decrease, but several plausible theories help paint a general picture.

High median income

Income is one of the most significant indicators of divorce rates. When people get divorced, many couples say money is the main factor. Illinois residents have a high median income compared to other states. In southern states with much higher divorce rates, income tends to be much lower.

Fewer marriages

The low divorce rate does not necessarily mean couples get along better now than in the past. It could be the result of significantly fewer marriages happening overall. If fewer people get married, less divorce happens. Illinois’s official website indicates a clear downward trend of marriage occurrences since the 1970s.

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Easy tips to prepare for a divorce case

 Posted on July 01, 2022 in Divorce

Divorce, by its very nature, is difficult. It represents a significant change in your life, and preparing for one is a daunting prospect. However, you can take steps to make your divorce easier.

If amicable divorce is not an option, you want your divorce case to go as well as possible. Continue reading for some divorce case preparation tips.

Separate your property

First, you need to figure out what is your separate property. This is not always obvious. According to the Illinois General Assembly, property acquired before the marriage falls under the condition of “non-marital property.” Besides that, gifts, inheritance and property received with the sole use of non-marital property in the exchange count as non-marital property. However, specific actions you take with the non-marital property during your marriage might convert it to marital property, so be aware of that while you go through your accounts.

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Taking a family vacation without violating your custody agreement

 Posted on May 01, 2022 in Divorce

Vacations and holiday trips are valuable opportunities to create lasting memories with your family. If you are a divorced parent with shared custody of your child, booking travel can become complicated.

Every parenting plan is unique, but these guidelines can help avoid confusion and unnecessary tension when planning a trip with your child.

Consult your shared custody order

Your custody order could contain restrictions that impact your ability to travel freely as a family. Make it easier to plan vacation time by knowing which terms your agreement might include, such as:

  • Geographic limitations: How far you can travel
  • Time allotments: How long you can spend on vacation
  • Notice requirements: How much advance notice you must give your co-parent before a trip
  • Permission requirements: Whether you need permission from your co-parent before traveling

Before finalizing travel plans for you and your family, understand the rules of your agreement to avoid a violation of your custody agreement.

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How will we share custody of our children over the summer?

 Posted on April 01, 2022 in Child Custody

As the weather starts to change, parents and children alike begin thinking about summer. Whether your children enjoy time outside or long days of relaxing at home, for many children, it is a time to rest before the start of another school year.

However, if you are still learning the ropes of sharing custody of your children, summer approaching can feel like a new challenge to navigate. Just when you and your ex got into a comfortable pattern for the school year, it may be time to change your schedule.

Here’s what you should know about how summer break could impact your child custody arrangement.

Agreeing to agree

Depending on the circumstances surrounding your divorce, adjusting your parenting time for the summer could be fairly simple. Typically, courts allow parents to make the adjustments they need when they both agree and as long as the arrangement is still relatively fair. You will also want to consult your parenting plan since it may already include how you should handle summer break.

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What can a business owner do to prepare for divorce?

 Posted on March 01, 2022 in Divorce

Unfortunately, divorce is common among entrepreneurs. They often make sacrifices, such as long hours, to nurture a growing, successful business.

The inevitable division of assets may affect your business. However, you can take measures to protect your investment in the event of divorce.

Do not ignore your own salary

Many business owners sacrifice their own salaries to build the company. As a result, the family income suffers. When divorce occurs, your spouse may request a share of the company because you anticipated a larger future payout from all your hard work.

Keep business and personal financials separate

At some point, every business owner must seek financing to cover business-related expenses. Avoid accessing personal savings accounts to fund the company. Borrow outside of the home where financing options are vastly available, even to risky borrowers.

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Tax-related tips for the divorced

 Posted on February 01, 2022 in Divorce

With your marriage ending, you have many tasks to complete. Among them include figuring how to tackle taxes. All these years, the two of you filed jointly, but that will end once your divorce is final.

Now that things have changed, you want to make sure every tax-related matter gets properly set in place. It could mean whether you must pay more taxes this year or get that sought-after refund.

Filing status and dependents

Here are a few tax tips to consider and study when filing for divorce:

  • Determine your filing status: If your divorce becomes final on or before Dec. 31, you may file either as a single taxpayer or head of household – if a dependent such as a child lives with you more than half the year and you pay more than half of your home’s upkeep. If your divorce is not final, then you likely have two options: filing taxes jointly with your estranged spouse or filing as a married person separately.

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Sign a premarital agreement to protect your properties

 Posted on January 01, 2022 in Property Division

Illinois is an equitable division state. In divorce, Illinois courts try to split the marital property into a fair arrangement. If you have multiple properties, you may wonder how this affects the outcome of your marriage ending.

Families with multiple homes or other properties like time-shares or cabins need to understand the property division process. See below to learn more about what you stand to lose and how you might protect your assets.

How is property divided?

When dividing your estate, a judge or arbitrator considers the value of each property, the marriage length, economic contributions, finances from previous marriages, childcare expenses, the ability of each spouse to make money and a variety of other social and economic factors. However, since Illinois is a no-fault state, marital conduct does not play a role in determining asset division.

Do I have a say?

If you want to improve your chances of keeping your property, a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement is your best option. If you entered the marriage with multiple properties, it is even more imperative you sign a prenuptial. For example, if you have children from a previous marriage, you may wish to keep specific property indebted to them. According to Chapter 750 ILCS 10/7, a prenuptial is not enforceable if the other spouse proves they did not have sufficient knowledge to make the decision. Do not attempt to hide property or be deceptive with your premarital agreement, or you risk losing your assets.

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3 signs your spouse might be hiding assets from you

 Posted on December 01, 2021 in Divorce

The end of a marriage never follows a set checklist of events. Marriages can end due to infidelity, addiction, trust issues or criminal activity. For some, the marriage ends simply because the spouses have grown apart. Often, however, issues center on financial struggles and the prospect of hidden assets.

Trust is a significant factor in the health of a marriage. It is not uncommon for one spouse to hide physical assets, digital assets or cash reserves.

Be on the lookout for clues

While a spouse might be careful to hide these things from his or her partner, there are often clues to this behavior, including:

  • Spouse demands full control over bank statements: One way to keep assets hidden from view is to literally hide the asset from view. Spouses often accomplish this by retaining complete control over access to the various bank accounts. Whether this is access to the statements or login and security information, it could be a red flag.

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What Illinois considers when awarding parental responsibilities

 Posted on November 01, 2021 in Child Custody

When you split from your Illinois spouse and the two of you share a child together, you need to work through dividing parental responsibilities as part of your divorce. You also need to determine if one of you is going to be responsible for paying the other child support. This depends to some degree on the custody arrangement you and your ex or the court decide on.

Per the Illinois General Assembly, the state’s family court system considers the best interests of your child when allocating parental responsibilities. The courts typically consider the following elements and areas, among others, when making decisions about parenting time and decision-making responsibility.

Your child’s desires

If your child is at an age where the court thinks he or she should have a say in where to live and when it may allow your child to voice these preferences.

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Tis the season for child custody battles?

 Posted on October 01, 2021 in Child Custody

The supply chain is not the only thing that could put a damper on the holidays this year. Divorced parents will also need to navigate child custody arrangements during the holiday season. So while you make a point to get a few early gifts in case there is a supply chain back-up, it is also a good idea to review what custody time will look like during the holidays.

What does the court consider a holiday?

This may seem like an odd question, but parents may be surprised by what is considered a holiday when it comes to time with their children. Some holidays are clear, and parents may ask for a specific date. Christmas, for example, always falls on December 25. Other holidays may not occur on a set day, Chanukkah is a great example as the celebration starts and ends on a different date every year.

Ideally, parents who value certain holiday traditions and want to share those celebrations with their children will account for this within the divorce settlement agreement and child custody arrangement.

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