Call Us630-382-8050

2445 Dean Street, Suite G, St. Charles, IL 60175

Recent blog posts

st. charles divorce lawyerFinancial disclosure is a crucial component of any divorce case. Although we like to think of marriage as a romantic partnership – It is just as much a financial partnership. When you get married, you and your spouse entangle your finances. Undoing this financial fusion during divorce can be difficult under the best of circumstances and extremely challenging when a spouse is dishonest. Whether you are only thinking about divorce, or you have already filed your petition for dissolution of marriage, signs of financial deception should be taken seriously. A spouse who lies about his or her income, assets, and debts can trick you into a divorce settlement that is grossly unfair.

You Are Kept in the Dark About Finances

Some married spouses pay bills and make other financial decisions as a team. Others delegate financial decision-making to one spouse while the other spouse handles separate responsibilities. If your spouse is suddenly reluctant to discuss finances with you or gets angry when you mention financial concerns, this may be a red flag. Rerouting mail, hiding financial documents, and deleting computer files or financial software like TurboTax and QuickBooks may all be signs that your spouse is hiding the truth.

Your Spouse is Making Unusual Financial Transactions

One of the most common ways that spouses hide assets during divorce is by transferring assets. Your spouse may loan money to a friend or make large withdrawals from the checking account. He or she may buy expensive art or other hard-to-value items with the intention of undervaluing the asset during divorce and selling it for case later on. Keep a close eye on your bank account balances and other financial accounts for unusual activity.

...

st. charles divorce lawyerWhether you are only contemplating the possibility of divorce or you are certain your marriage is beyond saving, you probably have questions about the divorce process. You may wonder what the divorce process entails or what steps are needed to end the marriage. You may also have conflicting feelings about whether or not to hire a divorce lawyer. Hiring a lawyer is not required to get divorced in Illinois. However, there are significant benefits associated with hiring an attorney during your divorce.   

Your Lawyer Can Help You Explore Your Options

There is no one-size-fits-all divorce, and each case is unique. Many people are surprised to learn just how complicated it is to divorce, personally, legally, and financially. It is typically much easier to get married than it is to undo a marriage. Understandably, the divorce process can be overwhelming, and many divorcing spouses do not know where to begin. Your lawyer can help you explore options like mediation and discuss whether these options are feasible given your situation.

An Attorney Will Advocate On Your Behalf

Working with a skilled divorce lawyer is crucial when you are engaged in a high-conflict divorce or a divorce involving a spouse who refuses to cooperate. Your lawyer’s job is to advocate on your behalf and ensure that your rights are protected. Without a knowledgeable attorney, you may agree to divorce terms that unfairly benefit your spouse and leave you with less than you deserve. It is especially important to work with a skilled attorney if you suspect that your spouse will hide assets or otherwise try to manipulate the outcome of the divorce.

...

st charles child support lawyerAny parent can confirm the fact that having children can get very expensive. Childcare, tuition and other school expenses, and extracurricular fees are just some of the child-related costs parents may encounter.

Many divorced and unmarried parents receive financial assistance from the other parent in the form of child support payments. However, some parents may experience financial difficulties that leave them unable to pay child support. If you or your child’s other parent are currently unemployed or facing another financial hardship, you may wonder how this can influence child support payments. Read on to learn how Illinois courts handle child support when a parent is unemployed and what you should do if you need to modify or enforce your current child support order.

Does a Parent Have to Pay Child Support if They are Unemployed?

A statutory formula determines the amount that a parent pays in child support in Illinois. Both parent’s net incomes are taken into account so that the payment amount is appropriate and reasonably affordable. You  may ask, “If a parent has no income, does that mean that he or she is absolved of his or her child support obligation?” The short answer is no. Unemployment does not automatically terminate or decrease a parent’s child support obligation. However, the parent may be able to reduce his or her child support obligation by successfully petitioning the court for a child support order modification.

...

Kane County child custody attorneyWhen it comes to co-parenting, it is best to be as prepared as possible. This is one reason Illinois requires divorcing parents to submit a parenting plan to the court that describes the important details of their co-parenting agreement. If you are a parent who is thinking about divorce, it is important to understand what Illinois expects from parents during the divorce process, including what you will need to address in your parenting plan. You and your soon-to-be ex can agree on the terms of the parenting plan and submit the plan jointly, or submit separate parenting plans to the court for consideration.

The Allocation of Parental Responsibilities and Parenting Time

Illinois does not use the terms “child custody” and “visitation” to describe parenting duties anymore. Instead, child custody is broken down into two main components:

Parental responsibilities – Parental responsibilities refer to the parents’ decision-making authority. Parents will need to decide how major decisions about the child’s upbringing will be handled. Will both parents make decisions about the child’s education, or will one parent have the final say? What about the child’s health and religious upbringing?

...

St. Charles property division lawyersThere is no doubt that divorce can affect nearly every aspect of a person’s life. However, the financial implications of divorce are often some of the most difficult consequences to deal with. The financial impact of a divorce is especially apparent when spouses have substantially different incomes. Spouses who chose to be a homemaker or stay-at-home parent may find that they lack the employment history and job skills needed to find suitable employment after divorce. Spouses who are disabled or otherwise unable to work may also be at a great financial disadvantage. There could also be a significant income disparity if both spouses work but one spouse makes much more money than the other spouse.

If you are getting divorced and you make significantly less or significantly more than your spouse, it is important to understand how this income inequality can impact the process and outcome.

Property Division Issues and Complex Assets

Many people with a higher-than-average income choose to invest their earnings into stocks, bonds, CDs, real estate, businesses, and other investments. Properly valuing and dividing complex assets like these in a divorce typically requires assistance from a skilled financial professional, in addition to legal guidance from a divorce lawyer. In Illinois, marital property includes property that was acquired during the marriage. Investments a spouse made before the marriage may be his or hers alone; however, the increase in value of the asset may be marital property to which both spouses are entitled.

...

St. Charles family law attorneyIf you are a parent who is thinking about getting divorced, you may understandably be concerned about how the split will affect your kids. Divorce is difficult for everyone regardless of the time of year. However, dealing with a divorce during the back-to-school period can be even more stressful. As with many aspects of a divorce, planning how to handle parenting and school issues in advance can help make the process easier for everyone.

Plan How You Will Handle Child Custody and Child-Related Expenses

As part of your Illinois divorce, you will be asked to submit a parenting plan to the court which explains how you and the other parent will share parenting time and parenting duties. Even if you have not officially filed for divorce, you can still create a written plan detailing when your children will stay with each parent to ensure that you and the other parent are on the same page. Plan in advance which parent will have the child on what days and how parents will handle school events like parent-teacher conferences and back-to-school nights. Consistency and structure will help your child cope with the divorce. Make sure to also address how the parents will pay for school supplies, extracurricular fees, and other school-related expenses during the split.

Consider Telling Your Child’s Teacher About the Divorce

Of course, your marriage is no one’s business but your own. However, letting your child’s teacher know that you will soon be divorced may help in several ways. First, it lets the teacher know that he or she should communicate with both parents regarding school reports, disciplinary actions, or other child-related concerns instead of assuming that one parent will share the information with the other parent. Secondly, it gives the teacher the opportunity to provide emotional support to your child if he or she does get upset or acts out at school because of the divorce.

...

Kane County divorce lawyerdivorce case can take several months or even years to resolve fully, especially when the couple disagrees on property divisionchild custody, and other divorce issues. Understandably, many divorcing couples struggle to live under the same roof during the divorce process. If you are getting divorced, you may wonder, “Who gets to stay in the marital home during a divorce?” The answer varies from case to case. However, there are two legal avenues available to divorcing spouses in Illinois that may allow them to obtain exclusive possession of the marital home.

Exclusive Possession of the Marital Home During an Illinois Divorce

As with all property division issues, divorcing spouses have the option of reaching their own agreement regarding possession of the home after divorce. Some divorcing spouses are able to negotiate an arrangement through their lawyers or during mediation. Others end up in divorce litigation. Spouses may also disagree about who should get to remain in the marital home while negotiations or litigation are ongoing.

If you wish to live in the marital home during the divorce and force your spouse to move out, you have two main legal options for doing so.

...

St. Charles IL divorce attorneyOne of the most consequential aspects of the divorce process is the division of property and debts. In complex divorce cases involving high-value or difficult-to-value assets, property division is also often one of the most complicated parts of the divorce. Cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Tether, Binance Coin, or Dogecoin must be addressed along with all other forms of property. However, valuing cryptocurrency and understanding how it should be divided is often a major challenge. If you or your spouse own Bitcoin or other forms of cryptocurrency, make sure you understand how this unique asset will be handled during your divorce.

Virtual Currency in an Illinois Divorce

Cryptocurrency is difficult to understand because it is completely unlike traditional forms of currency. This digital asset also exists outside of the government’s control. Furthermore, the value of cryptocurrency fluctuates dramatically.

In addition to valuing the cryptocurrency, the spouses will need to determine who has a right to a portion of the cryptocurrency’s value. Only marital property, or property acquired during the marriage, is subject to division. Determining how much of the cryptocurrency’s value is marital property and how much is non-marital property can be a massive hurdle.

...

Kane County divorce lawyerDivorce can be very difficult for a number of reasons. It can often become fairly contentious when a former couple must battle for custody of their children, but what about their pets? Although laws tend to look at pets as a form of property, many people consider their pets to be valued and loved members of the family. Under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), the placement of family pets or companion animals depends upon a few different factors.

Is the Pet a Marital Asset?

The placement of the family pet is dependent upon Section 5/503(n) of the IMDMA. This provision of the law explains that if the court finds the pet to be considered a marital asset, it will allocate ownership of and responsibility for the companion animal. This means that one spouse could receive sole ownership of the pet, or both parties could be awarded joint ownership. In making this decision, the court is now obligated to examine the well-being of the animal.

When is a Pet Considered a Marital Asset in Illinois?

A marital asset is usually any property that is acquired after a couple is married, so if the spouses adopted a pet while they were married, it will likely be a factor in the divorce. However, a pet could be considered non-marital property if it was gifted or left as an inheritance specifically to one spouse, or if a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement states that the pet belongs to one spouse alone. If the pet is not considered to be a marital asset, then whoever is the legal owner of it will likely keep it as non-marital property in the divorce. A service animal is also considered to belong to the spouse who benefits from its services.

...

Kane County child custody attorneyIf you are a parent who is getting divorced in Illinois and you wish to share custody of your children, you will be asked to create a parenting plan. The parenting plan or parenting agreement is a detailed description of how the parents will share parenting time and parental responsibilities. The parenting plan is not merely a formality. A carefully considered and well-planned parenting agreement can reduce co-parenting conflicts, help the parents avoid future legal disputes, and benefit the child’s adjustment and overall well-being. One provision you may want to include in your parenting plan is the “right of first refusal.”

Understanding Parenting Time Schedules

A key element of your parenting plan will be a schedule describing the allocation of parenting time. Formerly called visitation, parenting time refers to the time the child spends with each parent. You may decide that the child will live with one parent Monday through Wednesday and the other parent Thursday through Sunday, or that the child will spend time with a parent every other weekend. You may even assign parenting time to one parent during the school year and the other parent during the summer months. Parents have the freedom to design whatever parenting time schedule meets their needs, as long as it is in the child’s best interests. However, it is also important to consider what happens when a parent cannot fulfill his or her parenting time obligation.

How the Right of First Refusal Affects Parenting Time

Consider the following scenario: A mother is responsible for watching the children on weekdays. However, a work trip requires her to be out of town Monday through Wednesday. Does the mother hire a sitter or ask the father to watch the children on those days? The right of first refusal is intended to address just such a situation.

...

St. Charles divorce lawyerGetting divorced is always a challenging life event to go through. When spouses own a family business, ending the marriage becomes even more complicated. If you or your spouse owns a business and you are ready to end your marriage, you may be overwhelmed with questions. Will we have to sell the business? Will we both receive an equal share of the business assets? How should we accurately value the business? Is it possible to continue running the business jointly after the divorce?

The answers to these questions will depend on your unique situation as well as your plans for the future. However, one thing is certain: addressing a family business during divorce is complex. You will need to work with a skilled lawyer who has sufficient experience successfully handling business owner concerns during divorce.

Most Family Businesses Are Considered Marital Property

In an Illinois divorce, property is divided into two categories: marital and non-marital assets. Both spouses have a right to an equitable, or fair, portion of marital assets. If your business was established or purchased during your marriage, it is almost certainly considered a marital asset. Even if a spouse purchased the business before getting married, the business can become marital property if joint funds were used in the business or if the non-owning spouse made financial or non-financial contributions to the business.

...

kane county divorce lawyerA divorce is easily one of the most difficult events in your life. From your finances to your living situation, many things are about to drastically change and you may be unsure about how you will cope with that. One way to ease some of the stress associated with divorce is to speak to a mental health therapist about your situation.

Benefits of Speaking to a Mental Health Therapist During Your Divorce

At first, the idea of talking to a stranger about your problems might seem daunting. However, there are actually several benefits to confiding in a mental health counselor. Your therapist can:

  • Provide honest advice - When you are dealing with the mental health effects of a divorce, you need someone to give you honest feedback rather than what you want to hear. Your family members and friends likely mean well, but they might not give you truthful feedback because they do not want to hurt your feelings. That is why you should consider speaking to a professional therapist. He or she will give you helpful advice instead of sugar-coating it.

    ...

kane county child custody lawyerWhether you have been divorced for several months or just separated from your spouse, it is important to stick to the child custody and visitation order you agreed upon. However, if your child does not want to see the other parent, it can make the situation much more difficult. If you do not comply with the parenting time schedule described in your parenting plan, the court could even find you in contempt of the court order.

Common Reasons Why Children May Refuse Visitation

While it would be ideal if all children complied with visitation schedules, it does not always work out that way. Children may not want to see their parent for a wide range of reasons. Perhaps they do not like the rules they have to follow at the other parent’s house or maybe they do not get along with their parent’s new significant other. Other children may refuse to see their parent because he or she lives far away from their school and friends.

How to Handle a Child Who Is Refusing Visitation

If your child does not wish to visit their other parent, you can take the following steps to rectify the matter. 

...

st. charles divorce lawyerFrom posting vacation photos on Instagram to announcing the birth of a child on Facebook, people use social media for various reasons. Although social media has its benefits, it can cause issues during an Illinois divorce. To prevent complications in your divorce case, try to limit what you post on these sites.

How Social Media Can Damage Your Divorce Case

When you make a post on social media, it may get taken out of context, which can be problematic for your divorce. For instance, let’s say that you go out to the bar one night with a few friends and post a photo of the group on Facebook. Although you are not doing anything wrong, the photo may lead some people to believe that you are an irresponsible parent who drinks too often. Your ex may even try to use that photo in a custody proceeding to suggest that you are an unfit parent.

Posting on your social media may also have financial consequences for your divorce. If you, for example, post a photo of a new vehicle you purchased, despite claiming financial difficulties, your ex’s lawyer may argue that you are hiding assets. 

...

st. charles divorce lawyerBusiness assets of any kind can complicate the divorce process, but professional practices present a set of challenges all their own. When a doctor, lawyer, therapist, or any other licensed professional owns their own practice, the business’s success is closely tied to the owner’s efforts. The owner typically relies on the business as their primary livelihood. This can make fairly valuing and dividing the practice during divorce quite difficult. If you or your spouse operates a professional practice, you should be aware of what to expect during the divorce process.

Is the Practice Marital Property?

You might assume that a professional practice belongs only to the spouse who founded it, but in reality, this depends in large part on when the practice was established. If it was already in existence before the marriage began, it will most likely be excluded from the marital estate. However, if the practice was established during the marriage, it will most likely be considered marital property for which both spouses could have a claim during the divorce process.

This issue can be more complicated if you have invested marital assets in a professional practice that would otherwise be considered non-marital property, or if your spouse has contributed to the practice’s success through their own personal efforts. Even if the practice retains its non-marital status, you may need to reimburse your spouse appropriately during the divorce process. 

...

st. charles divorce lawyerDivorce can be hard on a couple no matter their income level. In fact, a couple with a high net worth can face some of the most difficult complications when it comes to the financial aspects of divorce like the division of assets and spousal maintenance. If you are ending a marriage in which one spouse was the primary earner, there is a good chance that spousal support will be a factor in your divorce resolution. It is important to understand how this issue is handled in Illinois family court, as well as the options you may have for reaching an agreement.

Spousal Maintenance Decisions in an Illinois Divorce

There are a number of situations in which spousal maintenance may be necessary to ensure a fair resolution to a high-asset divorce. One common example is a situation in which one spouse did not work but instead relied entirely on the other spouse’s income and assets. In a case such as this, a high-earning spouse may want to retain full ownership of high-value businesses and real estate properties, which can lead to an even greater financial disparity. Spousal maintenance may be the best option to ensure that the other spouse can support themself after the divorce.

According to Illinois law, another possible reason for spousal support is to help a spouse maintain the standard of living they have become accustomed to during the marriage. In a high-asset divorce, even a spouse who works and earns their own income may have a case for maintenance if the other spouse has significantly greater income and assets.

...

st. charles paternity lawyerIn Illinois, there are several different methods through which a man can be legally recognized as a child’s father. For example, when a child’s parents are married at the time of his or her birth, the man is presumed to be the father without any need for further confirmation or legal action. Unmarried parents can also establish parentage through a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (VAP), which keeps the court’s involvement to a minimum. However, there are cases in which it is important to confirm that a man is, in fact, a child’s biological father, and DNA tests are often used for this purpose.

Genetic Testing for Paternity in Illinois

Genetic testing adds another cost to paternity proceedings, and it also takes time for the results to come back, which can delay the resolution. If you are confident in your child’s parentage, and you and the other parent are in agreement, it may be best to forgo a DNA test. However, genetic testing may be the best approach in any of the following situations:

  • When there is uncertainty regarding the child’s parentage. Perhaps you believe yourself to be a child’s father and you want to sign a VAP, but there is another man who may have a claim of paternity. In this case, it may be in your best interest to voluntarily request genetic testing to protect your rights or contest a competing claim.

    ...

St. Charles divorce lawyerGetting a divorce is often an important step to help you leave an unhealthy situation, and the terms of your divorce resolution can provide you with financial and personal protections. However, reaching a resolution may take time, in some cases several months or more, and you may find that the relief you need is not coming fast enough. Fortunately, Illinois law offers several forms of temporary relief that you can pursue before your divorce is final. To decide whether temporary relief is right for you, you should consider the following questions.

Are You Struggling to Provide for Yourself and Your Children?

If you have a limited income and assets, and your spouse will not willingly assist you with expenses, you may have a case for temporary child support and/or spousal maintenance during the divorce process. When you petition for temporary support, you will need to submit a financial affidavit detailing your current financial situation. You should also keep in mind that a temporary support order is not a replacement for terms regarding child support and maintenance in your final divorce resolution.

Does Your Spouse Control Your Assets?

If your spouse has control over much of your marital property and you are concerned that he or she will prevent you from accessing it, you may be able to obtain relief through a temporary restraining order or injunction. A financial restraining order can prevent your spouse from hiding, transferring, or dissipating marital assets during the divorce, and require them to notify you of any unusual spending. 

...

kane county divorce lawyerEarlier this week, Bill and Melinda Gates, widely known for their work at Microsoft and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, announced that they were ending their marriage. This marks the second divorce of one of the world’s most wealthy individuals in recent years after Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott ended their marriage in 2019. Very few divorces will match the Gates divorce in terms of the assets to be addressed, but other high-asset couples considering divorce may be able to learn something from the Gates’s situation.

Preparing for a High-Asset Divorce in Illinois

Though the Gates divorce is being resolved in the State of Washington, some of the issues at hand offer possible lessons for divorcing couples with significant assets in Illinois. For example:

  • Property division can be resolved through an agreement between spouses. When filing for divorce, the Gateses noted that they have reached a separation agreement regarding their property and assets. In a high-asset divorce in Illinois, it may be possible to reach a similar resolution with your spouse, rather than leaving the division of assets in the hands of the court. However, it is usually a good idea to consult with financial experts who can help you understand the full implications of your decisions.

    ...

St. Charles divorce attorney Hiding Assets

When a couple is going through a divorce, they are both required to provide the other with details of their individual finances. Each party is required to fill out a financial affidavit – under the penalty of perjury – that is also filed with the court.

It is not uncommon in these situations for one or both spouses to be resentful about sharing this information with the other spouse and may decide not to disclose all of their assets. However, if a person is caught hiding assets in a divorce, the penalties could be far more costly than if they had just told the truth.

...
Best Law Firm 2020 Emerging Lawyers Best 10 Avvo Leading lawyers Avvo
Back to Top