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Recent blog posts

When you and your spouse are unable to come to an agreement about parenting time and parenting responsibility, you may ask Illinois’ family court system to make such decisions for you. When tasked with doing so, the court system typically refers to the same set of factors.

While how much weight the court system gives each factor may depend on your child’s age, among other variables, understanding what these variables are may give you a better sense of your custody chances. What are some of theareas Illinois family courts considerwhen allocating parenting responsibilities?

Your child’s preferences

If your child is an infant or toddler, his or her own wishes with regard to where to live may not carry much weight. Older children may have strong opinions about where they want to live. If your son or daughter is old and mature enough to voice an opinion, the court may take it into account.

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Posted on in Divorce

When you are facing divorce, especially if you are a parent, you may worry about how your split will impact you financially. Often, women facing divorce are surprised when they realize they end up with fewer assets than they thought or spousal support that ends sooner than expected.

Five challenges women experience during divorce include the following:

  1. Not having a strong understanding of their marital debts vs. assets. Many women underestimate how much mortgage debt they and their spouse share on the family home or in credit card debt. These debts will negate other assets the couple shares in a divorce.
  2. Not earning enough money to afford to live without their spouse. In 2020, women earn, on average, 19% less than men their age. That gap may be even higher if you took time off from your career to raise your children.
  3. Keeping the marital home. You may want to keep the marital home so that your children don’t face another big adjustment after the divorce. However, your spouse will receive a share of your home’s value. Most likely, you will need to refinance the home to pay your spouse his share, and you still may not be able to cover mortgage and upkeep costs on your own.
  4. Having to re-enter the workforce. If you’ve been a stay-at-home parent raising young children, you may need to re-enter the workforce to afford to live on your own. You may need additional training or education to find a good job.
  5. Underestimating how much it costs to get divorced. You know you’ll need a good divorce attorney, but you may not realize that you may need to pay for valuations of your home or a family business before the divorce. You also may not realize that by utilizing divorce mediation you can save money on your divorce and resolve it more quickly.

The more women are aware of their financial situation heading into a divorce, the better. You want to determine which assets you are willing to let go and what’s truly important for you to keep. You also want to get an early idea of what your post-divorce budget looks like, so you can adjust to that sooner rather than later.

When the Illinois Tollway began offering drivers a way to pay their tolls electronically, few drivers thought that the new system might impact their case if they ever got a divorce. But thanks to an unusual legal loophole, your ex might be able to find out information collected by the Tollway about your movements and use that data against you.

Most people in the Naperville area will remember when the Illinois Tollway began issuing I-Pass transponders to drivers. These devices attach to your vehicle, and whenever you drive through a gate, you pay the toll automatically. Besides the convenience of not having to stop to toss your change into the dish, I-Pass users get a discount on tolls.

Driving data used in divorce proceedings

What you may not know is that I-Pass collects data on users’ travels on the Tollway. While that information generally is kept private, I-Pass will disclose that information when the party to a legal action — such as a divorce — gets the judge to issue a subpoena.

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If you decide to file for divorce, now is the time to think about items to gather before you start the process. Make a list of everything you will need in terms of paperwork, but also include outcomes you would like to see during the divorce and after it is final. Here are three things to add to your list.

1. Financial and legal documents

Getting together all yourlegal and financial documentsmay support your claims for spousal support and property division. Legal and financial information includes:

  • Marriage certificate
  • Prenuptial and post-nuptial agreements
  • Copies of trusts and wills
  • Bank accounts
  • Credit cards
  • Bank statements
  • Balances

Consider opening a bank account and credit card in your name. This is to protect you if your spouse takes money out of your joint account or maxes out the credit cards.

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Raising children is much more than a full-time job. Their needs dictate the day-to-day goings-on in a household for 18 years, sometimes longer. It is a responsibility that takes up much of the space in a parent’s life.

When those children leave home, it creates a vacuum. This center of gravity, around which life revolved for so long, is simply gone. It is of little surprise this new normal leads some spouses to contemplate divorce.

Divorce and an empty nest

The relationship between divorce and an empty nest is not perfectly clear. There are too many factors to draw a definitive line between the two events. However, there are some clues that suggest it may be applicable to some marriages.

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Like other small business owners, you are proud of the progress your venture has made in recent years. Thanks to your hard work, financial investment and business acumen, you have turned your startup into a well-oiled machine. If you are thinking aboutending your marriage, though, you may have some uncertainty about what happens to your company.

In Illinois, judges use anequitable distribution approachwhen dividing marital assets. Therefore, if you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement, a judge is apt to give you a fair share of everything the two of you jointly own. You can probably keep everything that is exclusively yours, however. To plan for your future, you must identify whether your business is part of the marital estate.

Separate vs. marital property

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Updated April 3, 2020.

The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service are currently working to provide Americans with an economic impact payment as part of the $2.2 trillion economic relief package recently signed into law.

The IRS announced that the majority of people who have a bank account on file would receive their payment via direct deposit starting in the next few weeks. The amount you receive depends on your AGI on your 2019 tax returns. If you did not finish filing your 2019 tax return, the IRS would use your 2018 tax return.

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When couples divorce, the common assumption is that there will be significant impacts on their finances. They may need to divide retirement accounts. Alternatively, they may need to sell real estate holdings or other assets as part of the divorce agreement.

While the potential negative downsides are well documented, there can be some financial advantages for a couple to divorce. Referred to as a “strategic divorce”, some higher-income couples could see benefits from this prudent approach.

A tactical strategy to avoid the “marriage tax penalty”

The federal tax code does offer some advantages for joint filers. Those benefits start to evaporate as couples move up the income ladder.

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Once children grow up and become legal adults, questions arise surrounding how much financial support do divorced parents need to provide. A ruling from the DuPage County Circuit Court May 2018 seemed to limit the financial responsibility that divorced parents may have when it comes to paying for college.

After more than a year of legal limbo, the Illinois Supreme Court has weighed in. In a unanimous decision, the court overruled that previous decision, thereby reaffirming an Illinois Supreme Court decision dating back to 1978.

What is Illinois’s Section 513 law?

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Divorce is a time of new beginnings for both spouses. For those who adopted a new last name during the marriage, a divorce may mark a time to return to the maiden name that he or she had before marrying.

Previously, Illinois law made it a tedious process for married women to go through with a name change. Recent legislative changes will make it significantly easier for women to change back to their maiden following a divorce.

Current process creates unnecessary headaches

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Divorce creates significant uncertainty for couples, regardless of their age, income or if they have kids. For older couples who may have accumulated a significant amount of assets, a divorce becomes more complex – and potentially more hazardous for both spouses as they transition out of the marriage.

Gray divorce, when spouses age 50 or older decide to end their marriage, has been increasingly dramatically in recent years. Since 1990, the divorce rate of these older couples has doubled. As these numbers of older divorcees increases, the risk of emotional and financial turmoil increases, too.

Financial and emotional burdens complicate gray divorces

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Posted on in Divorce

Divorce, even when parties to the divorce are amicable, can be emotional and complicated. While there is no doubt divorce can be tough, there are things an individual, and a couple, can do to improve the experience and achieve a successful outcome. Here are some tips for a successful divorce. For information specific to your case, please reach out to our Illinois family law lawyers at the office of Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C.

Put a Plan in Place

Failing to have a plan in place for yourself and your life, both during and post-divorce is something that will only complicate the divorce process. Before you even start the divorce process, ask–and answer–important questions, such as:

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Dividing property in a divorce isn’t always a big deal for couples, especially those with few assets and who are renting. Couples who don’t own real estate together may divide property simply by each taking their own personal effects and perhaps divvying up the furniture, or selling it and dividing the proceeds equally. However things get more complicated when the couple owns real estate property together. The couple must decide how the marital home, as well as any rental properties the couple owns together, will be split. Consider the following overview of how property, including rental property, is divided in a divorce.

Equitable Division in Illinois

The law in Illinois requires couples divide marital property–that is, any property acquired during the course of the marriage by either spouse–in a manner that is equitable, but not necessarily equal. Couples are highly encouraged by the court to work together to reach a property division arrangement, as this gives the couple more autonomy in making a decision and is also less expensive and faster. However, in the event the couple cannot decide how to divide property, the court will intervene. If the court makes a decision, the decision will be based on a number of factors, including the existence of a premarital agreement, the length of the marriage, each spouse’s liabilities, the economic circumstances of each spouse and more. Rental Property Division Options

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For many parents, spending holidays with their children is more than just celebrating culture and togetherness; there is a religious element that makes the holidays feel that much more important. What’s more, divorcing parents who are religious and want to spend time with their families and children during the holidays may find reaching a custody or parenting time agreement more challenging. Here’s a look into how parenting time during religious holidays is often decided in Illinois.

Reaching a Determination without the Court

The best thing parents can do when facing any custody determination decisions, including one involving shared time during religious holidays, is to work together to reach an agreement everyone can live with. Ideally, parents will be able to sit down together and determine with whom a child will spend each holiday. If one parent is more religious than the other, hopefully the parties can take this into consideration. If parents need assistance in reaching an agreement, working with a family counselor, professional mediator, or another third party can prove helpful.

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At the time a child is born in Illinois, the parents' names are added to the child's birth certificate. The mother's name is always added, and, if the mother is married, the man to whom she is married is considered to be the father and is added to the child's birth certificate as well. What's more, if a child's parents are not married, both can sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity, which also can be used to add the father's name to the birth certificate.

Of course, there are some cases when a man's name is added to a birth certificate in error; there may be a presumption (based on marriage) that the man is the father, but in truth, the man is not the biological father. If you are a man whose name was added to a birth certificate erroneously, here's what you need to know about removing your name from a birth certificate.

Why You Want to Remove Your Name

If a man is not a child's biological father but is named as such on a birth certificate, the man has legal parental rights. In addition to providing the father with the right to petition the court for custody of or visitation with a child, there also are legal obligations associated with paternity. A man whose name is on a birth certificate may be asked to pay child support, or otherwise support a child financially, including through the man's health insurance, Social Security benefits, veterans' benefits, and more. Rejecting paternity and removing one's name from a birth certificate will legally dismiss these obligations.

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Posted on in Divorce

If you are anything like the more than 226 million adults in American who use social media, chances are that if you are thinking about divorce, the fact that you are a member of sites like Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook may be far from your mind. Indeed, social media use is ubiquitous in 2019, and sharing details of one’s personal life online is commonplace.

But before you feel comfortable posting about your marriage or your divorce online, you should think about the impact that social media activity can have your divorce case, and the fact that anything that you do online is a type of digital evidence that can be used against you. Here is what you should know about social media and divorce.

Social Media Activity Is Evidence

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Posted on in Child Custody

For parents who are getting a divorce, often times, the parties who are most affected by the divorce are not the adults but are instead any children involved. This statement is even more true when siblings of a divorce are separated, with one sibling living with one parent, and the other living with the other parent. It can also be difficult for a minor child to live with one parent, and for an adult sibling (18 years of age or old) to be denied visitations rights with the minor child.

When a divorce presents a question regarding the rights of siblings to visit with one another, working with a qualified lawyer is recommended. Consider the following about sibling visitation in Illinois and call our experienced family law attorneys for counsel that is specific to your situation.

Minor Children and Custody and Visitation

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Posted on in Alimony

If you are seeking a dissolution of your marriage, spousal support, also referred to as alimony or maintenance, may be a part of your divorce settlement. This is especially true if your spouse is financially dependent on you, and even more likely if they lack the skills or education to acquire a job that allows them to earn an income that’s equivalent to their accustomed standard of living.

If you are ordered to pay spousal support, which is decided based on numerous factors, ranging from the income and property of each party to the standard of living established during the course of the marriage, then the next question you may have is in regards to for how long that support order will be in effect. Here is what you should know.

Duration of Support Orders in Illinois

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Posted on in Guardianship

In Illinois, guardians are used to provide care and representation to children who are under the age of 18 and do not have (competent) parents, as well as adults who are disabled due to a physical or mental disability. The process for appointing a guardian is complex and should not be initiated without the experience of a qualified attorney.

Guardianship of Minor Children

As explained by the 19th Circuit Court of the State of Illinois, a guardian for a minor child is necessary in the event that the child’s parents are:

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When getting a divorce as a parent, one of the most pressing things that will need to be resolved prior to the finalization of the divorce is how custody or parenting time of a child will be shared. While some people may assume that a mother will be granted custody, or that it is best if a child lives with one parent full-time and simply visits with the other, the idea of 50/50 custody or parenting time in Illinois is gaining traction.

What Is 50/50 Custody (Parenting Time)?

As explained by an article in NPR Illinois, 50/50 custody, or equal parent time, refers to an elimination of any bias towards one parent over the other, and creates a presumption that equal, shared parenting time of a child is within a child’s best interests.

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