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Kane County divorce attorneysDivorcing your spouse is tough and comes with many complex decisions, especially if you share children. If you and your spouse are both active parents in your children's lives, it can be hard to determine custody when splitting up the family. Often, this can lead to a contested divorce where partners can not agree on how to divide parenting time and custody. If you are currently dissolving your marriage with your partner and find yourself in a sticky situation disputing custody, these five tips may help you. 

Think About Your Parenting Strengths and Weaknesses

Parents must try to remain neutral when thinking about custody by keeping the children's best interests in mind. Parents should think about their own strengths and weaknesses and determine what would be best for the children. For example, if your spouse is way more active with the kids, but you are more of an authoritarian parent, consider letting your spouse parent over the weekends while you manage school days. Being honest is the best road to follow during a custody dispute. 

Do Not Talk Badly About Your Partner to the Kids

No matter what you think of your soon-to-be ex-spouse, keeping the rhetoric to a minimum when your kids are around is essential. Trash-talking your spouse in front of the kids can leave lasting emotional effects for all family members, including your children. A judge in your custody case may also see this as bad parenting, leading to you losing your chances of custody. 


St. Charles family law attorneyWhen preparing for marriage or divorce, both spouses may decide to protect their assets through prenuptial or postnuptial agreements. By creating documents that outline the division of assets in the case of divorce, couples may be able to prevent highly contested divorces. These documents are in both parties' best interest because collaborative divorces are typically faster and less expensive than contested divorces. If you and your spouse are planning your marriage and how assets would be divided in the case of divorce, it would be in your best interest to discuss your plans with an experienced family law attorney. 

Prenuptial vs. Postnuptial Agreements

As indicated by the prefix of each word, prenuptial agreements are drafted before marriage, whereas postnuptial agreements are drafted after a marriage. There are a few reasons that couples may decide to draft these agreements. Firstly, having a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can help protect independent finances for each spouse. It can also declare which assets belong to a corresponding spouse. In the case of separation or divorce, this can prevent court litigation over contesting belongings, finances, and other assets. Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements typically include who will retain the home, how joint finances and businesses will be divided, and how other material assets will be divided

Which is Better?

Deciding whether a prenuptial agreement or a postnuptial agreement is best for you and your spouse is entirely up to your unique relationship. Each marriage is different and comes with various financial assets and joint partnerships. It is in both spouses' best interests to discuss whether a prenuptial or a postnuptial agreement is the best for your relationship with a lawyer. Family law and divorce attorneys are skilled in analyzing finances and other assets and the relationship structure between partners. A lawyer may help guide you towards which agreement is best. However, here are some tips to help you begin deciding on whether a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement is suitable for you:


St. Charles dissipation lawyerWhen becoming involved in any legal proceeding, it is essential to understand all of the terminologies used in your case. This can be difficult for many people as their case becomes increasingly complicated. During a divorce, there are many steps that must be taken to dissolve a marriage fully. In the scenario that a divorce is contested or becomes complex, new language between attorneys and judges may appear, such as dissipation of assets. To fully understand your divorce case, advocate for yourself, and ensure your legal rights are protected during the divorce, it is vital to understand dissipation and how it may affect you. 

What is Dissipation in Divorce?

Dissipation is defined as the squandering or wasting of money, property, or other essential resources. Dissipation in divorce can happen in many ways, but it has one underlying theme — a partner using shared assets for an individual benefit during the divorce. Too often, when dividing marital assets during a divorce, a lawyer or the other partner will uncover hidden or squandered assets. 

Common examples of dissipated marital assets include:


Kane County divorce attorneyDivorces are hard, and it can be even harder to part with some of the assets you collected over the course of a marriage. Spouses choosing to file for a divorce will have to divide their shared property, which can be a highly volatile situation if the partners are unwilling to agree. It is important to be okay with parting with some of the assets you have come to love such as your house, the flat-screen TV or even the car your spouse bought for you when dividing marital assets during a marriage dissolution. But, how do partners agree upon who keeps the dog? 

Shared Marital Property

After a while, pets become another member of the family. Your kids love them, you catch your so-called pet-hating spouse throwing the ball for them, and you even find yourself cuddling with them from time to time. Dividing property during a divorce is incredibly difficult. But how do you divide up another member of the family?

Depending on when your pet was purchased and by who, the process of deciding who keeps the dog may be much easier. If your dog was purchased by your spouse prior to the marriage, your spouse owns the dog and is considered their individual property. Similarly, if you purchased your pet before you married your spouse, the dog belongs to you and would follow you during a divorce. The process gets a bit trickier if you purchased the pet together in a marriage because, in this case, the pet is shared marital property. 


St. Charles divorce attorneyThe decision to file for a divorce from your spouse can be a difficult process. Most couples try to make their marriage work by seeking out help from professional experts, implementing new communication strategies or attempting alone-time during a separation. However, if a marriage is no longer healthy or suitable for a couple, the spouses may decide it is time to file for a divorce. Despite media portrayals, divorces can be an easy process if the decisions are uncontested. It is in both spouses’ best interests to create a divorce checklist prior to filing for a divorce to make the process easy and fast for everyone involved. 

What Does the Divorce Process Look Like in Illinois?

Divorces in Illinois are no-fault divorces, meaning that there is no at-fault party. So, even if your spouse was unfaithful or unpleasant during your marriage, this information is not seen as relevant when creating a divorce decree. Instead of gathering documents and proof of infidelity, mistreatment, or misunderstanding between you and your partner, it would be much more time-efficient to begin gathering all of the required documentation needed for a swift, amicable divorce. 

Creating Your Checklist 

The state of Illinois requires certain financial and legal documents to move forward during a divorce. In an effort to prepare, both parties should begin to gather the following information and documents:


St. Charles prenup lawyersPremarital agreements are legal agreements between a couple prior to their marriage. Within a premarital or prenuptial agreement, many couples will lay out individual rights and responsibilities that each spouse will have during the marriage. These agreements are extremely useful in high asset marriages to help dictate property agreements and have proven to be useful if a marriage comes to an end. Engaged couples who are looking to create a prenuptial agreement before their wedding date should reach out to an experienced family attorney who is prepared to help navigate this process.

Reasons to Create a Prenup

Prenup agreements are most commonly portrayed in the media as contracts created by rich families to ensure their wealth stays in the family in case of a divorce. However, there are a plethora of reasons that couples decide to create a legal premarital agreement prior to their wedding. Typically, the reasons are unique and personal to each couple. There are often overarching themes in the reasons. Here are some of the most useful reasons to create a prenuptial agreement in the state of Illinois:

  • Lay out the division of finances and bills during the marriage
  • How to divide assets and property in the case of divorce or death
  • How spousal support would be divided in the case of divorce 
  • Creation of wills and trusts in the case of death 
  • Ensure parental rights if/when children are introduced into the marriage 

How to Create a Prenup 

Considering that a prenup is a legal document, the state of Illinois has specific criteria required when creating and signing premarital agreements. The Illinois Uniform Premarital Agreement Act’s requirements for a legitimate prenuptial agreement that can be upheld in court include:


St. Charles parental relocation lawyerThere are many lifestyle changes that occur following a divorce — a new house, new relationships and, potentially, a new city. Relocating after a divorce can be the fresh start that many people need after dealing with the emotional and financial stress of a marriage dissolution. However, in the state of Illinois, relocation after a divorce may be difficult if there are children involved. There are many rules regarding the distance and timeline of a relocation with children that all depend on your divorce agreement. 

How Do I Relocate?

The process to relocate with children following a divorce comes in a few steps. The first step is to determine where you want to move and how long you intend to live there. In the state of Illinois, the duration of the move (permanent or temporary) is required to be disclosed to the court. The moving spouse must write a written intent to move and submit it to the court at least 60 days prior to the move. 

The factors that the court considers when deciding if the parent can relocate with the children include:


b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_309334772.jpgThere are many reasons why people may file for divorce in Illinois. One of the most common causes of divorce is infidelity, which is when one partner in a marriage does not remain faithful to his or her spouse. Sometimes, couples are able to work through the act of infidelity and arrive at a place in their relationship where trust is restored. However, not all couples survive an act of fidelity, and in those cases, divorce often ensues. If you or someone you know is getting a divorce as a result of infidelity in the relationship, you may be wondering if an unfaithful act can affect divorce proceedings. Today, we are exploring the impact of infidelity on divorce cases in Illinois. 

Is Infidelity Grounds For Divorce in Illinois? 

Adultery may have been the cause of the marital breakdown, however, you will not list this in your divorce peition. This is because as of 2016, Illinois is a no-fault state when it comes to divorce cases. In other words, Illinois does not require one of the spouses to be at fault for the breakdown of a marriage.

Instead, a divorce can be filed on the grounds of there being “irreconcilable differences.” This meabns that there are serious differences between spouses and the marriage cannot be continued. 


b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_1722164458.jpgThe Internal Revenue Service, or IRS, recently announced that tax season will commence on January 24, 2022. With tax season right around the corner, you may be wondering what you can expect when filing taxes after a divorce. Today, we are going to discuss the ways by which a lawyer can assist you as you set out to file as head of household after a divorce. 

What Does it Mean To Be the Head of the Household? 

Many people assume that filing as head of household means that you were the breadwinner. While this is not necessarily untrue, the IRS defines the head of household filing status in a much more detailed way. In order to file as head of household, the IRS takes the following details into consideration: 

  • You are legally either a U.S. citizen or resident. 


b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_1073013353.pngThe decision to get a divorce is never one that is made with ease. In fact, for a lot of people, divorce is viewed as the very last option because of how intertwined the lives of a married couple are and how difficult it can be to separate everything after being married, finances included. 

While not every couple chooses to combine their finances, money matters are often a major topic of conversation during many divorces. From figuring out how to allocate the funds in bank accounts to deciding how to divide other assets like investments, there are many financial complexities to sort out during the divorce process. 

Tax Debt is Considered Marital Debt 

So, what happens to the money that you do not have? In other words, how does tax debt work when a couple that owes money to the IRS decides to end their marriage? 


b2ap3_thumbnail_divorce-parents-back-to-school-illinois.jpgNo matter what the dynamic between two spouses looks like, filing divorce papers is never easy. However, the process becomes even more unfortunate and complicated when children are involved. 

Typically, a decision regarding child custody will be determined with the two parents in mind. A judge will often award sole custody to parent A, sole custody to parent B, or shared custody to both parents. Illinois law uses the terms “parenting time” and “parental responsibilities” instead of visitation and custody. However, these terms are still used informally and will be used in this blog.  

Sometimes, grandparents will seek custody of their grandchildren amid the divorce of the children’s parents. With the help of a family law attorney, grandparents can fight for custody of the children whose parents are divorcing in Illinois. 


IL divorce lawyerGetting a divorce is never easy, but when a spouse refuses to cooperate, it is especially difficult. In some cases, spouses actively hide in order to avoid divorce proceedings. If you cannot find your spouse and you want to divorce, take heart in knowing that your spouse cannot delay the divorce forever. It is possible to get divorced without your spouse’s participation, however, the process is a bit more complicated. A divorce lawyer can be a huge help in a situation like this.

What to Do If Your Spouse Cannot Be Located

When someone files for divorce in Illinois, they use a document called a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. The spouse who files for divorce is the petitioner and the other spouse is the respondent. The divorce petition is “served” or delivered to the other spouse by the petitioner or by a sheriff or private process server. The respondent must respond to the petition within 30 days of receiving it.

Some spouses try to avoid getting divorced by not responding to the petition or even by hiding where a process server cannot find them. Others spouses move out of state or even out of the country and do not tell the other spouse where they are. This can make the process of serving the petition nearly impossible.


IL familiy lawyerMost people are unaware of Illinois paternity laws until they have a child. While mothers typically establish parentage by giving birth, fathers are treated differently under the law. A mother or father who wishes to establish paternity of their child may need to take certain actions to do so. Unfortunately, paternity issues can be complicated both legally and personally. A family law attorney can help.

Paternity Is Not Assumed if Parents are Unmarried

In Illinois, the law presumes a mother’s husband to be the father of her baby. However, if the parents are not married at the time of the child’s birth or if there is uncertainty about who the father is, paternity will need to be formally established.

There Are Several Ways to Establish Paternity

The easiest way to establish paternity is a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity. Parents can sign this form if they are both certain who the father is. However, sometimes, paternity must be established by an administrative order or through the family court system.


IL family lawyerFor unmarried and divorced parents, child support is a vital source of financial assistance. Illinois child support usually ends when the child becomes an adult and finishes high school or college. At this point, the child is considered old enough to provide for his or her own financial needs. However, some children require financial assistance beyond childhood. If your child has a disability, you may be able to get child support even after he or she is an adult.

Child Support for Children With Disabilities

If your child has a disability, he or she may not be able to reach the same level of financial independence as a child without a disability. This can place a major financial burden on the child and the child’s parent. Fortunately, parents of disabled children may be able to extend child support past the typical cut-off point. This can help the parents cover child-related costs such as housing, in-home care, medical costs, and more.

What Counts as a Disability for the Purposes of Non-Minor Child Support?

You may be wondering what types of disabilities qualify a child for extended child support. Per Illinois law, a disabled person is one who has a mental or physical impairment that “substantially limits a major life activity.” You will also need to show that there is a medical record of this disability. Furthermore, the disability must have occurred before the child reached the typical child support cut-off age. Intellectual disabilities like autism, physical disabilities such as blindness, and mental health conditions such as bipolar disorder may all qualify for extended child support.


IL divorce lawyerFor art lovers, the pieces they have accumulated throughout the years are more than just property. They are valuable investments with great financial and personal value. Unfortunately, owning expensive artwork or other collectibles can complicate a divorce case significantly. The true financial value of a painting or sculpture is not easily ascertained, and spouses may disagree about the value of art. Spouses may also disagree about who should keep artwork, antiques, or collections. In some cases, art and collectibles are even used as vehicles for financial fraud in a divorce case.

Valuing Property During Property Distribution

Illinois couples may be able to reach their own property division arrangement without the court’s involvement. They may be able to negotiate a mutually-satisfactory agreement through their attorneys or during the divorce mediation process. However, before they can determine a fair division of property, they must determine the property’s value. This often requires input from a professional appraiser. If the couple cannot reach a property division settlement, the court will need to know the precise value of the assets to determine an equitable division of property. Consequently, having the artwork professionally valued is often the first step toward addressing art during divorce.

Who Gets to Keep Artwork?

The value of a rare or valuable piece of art is not only monetary. Art enthusiasts also place great sentimental value on artwork. Deciding who should get to keep the art after divorce is often a major point of contention. If a divorce case goes to trial, the division of property is decided by the court. According to Illinois divorce law, art and other assets accumulated during the marriage are usually marital property. However, there are exceptions. For example, if a spouse inherited a painting from a relative, the painting may be considered non-marital property belonging solely to that spouse. Illinois courts divide property equitably based on many factors, including the spouses’ financial resources, duration of the marriage, and standard of living experienced by the couple during the marriage.


IL divorce lawyerIf you are getting divorced, you may be well aware of the financial consequences of ending a marriage. You may have already started gathering financial documents and creating a budget for your post-divorce life. Financial concerns are a major part of the divorce process. Not only do spouses have to divide marital property and address issues like child support and spousal support, they must also deal with the tax implications of these matters. The decisions you make during your divorce can impact your finances for years after the split. This is why it is important to research your options and work with an experienced divorce attorney.

Handling Tax Returns in the Middle of a Divorce

Filing taxes is already stressful. Filing taxes in the middle of a divorce is even more confusing and overwhelming. If you are getting divorced, you may wonder if you can still file jointly. According to federal law, you may file a joint tax return if:

  • You were still technically married as of December 31 and
  • Both spouses agree to file jointly

By filing jointly, you may enjoy a decreased tax obligation. However, filing jointly may also mean that both spouses are liable for any tax penalties.


IL divorce lawyerFor many Americans, winter is synonymous with the holiday season. Whether you celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or take part in other cultural celebrations, divorcing during this special time of year is especially challenging. Consider the following tips for coping with divorce from mental health professionals.

Make Concrete Plans Regarding Your Shared Children

Separating from your spouse during the holidays is hard enough. Adding children into the situation makes it even harder. If you share children with your soon-to-be-ex, make solid plans for the holiday season. Include detailed information about which parent will have custody of the children and how the children will be transported between houses. Put these plans in writing.

Prioritize Peace of Mind Over Gifts

For many, buying gifts for others is even more enjoyable than receiving gifts. If you are someone who takes pride in finding the perfect gifts for your loved ones, you may feel pressure to maintain this high standard this holiday season. However, it is important to priories your own health and wellbeing. Do not go overboard buying gifts when you should be taking care of your own needs.


IL divorce lawyerWhen a couple gets married, few describe the union in terms of the marriage’s legal significance. However, it is important to remember that marriage is a legal relationship between two people. Undoing that legal partnership through a divorce can take a significant amount of time and money. However, the cost of divorce ranges dramatically from case to case. If you are thinking about divorce, consider the following factors to estimate how much the divorce will cost.

Estimating the Financial Cost of Your Divorce

When it comes to divorce, it is nearly impossible to predict the exact cost ahead of time. Multiple factors influence the total cost, including the complexity of the couple’s financial situation and what issues the spouses disagree on.

According to Business Insider, the average cost of divorce in the United States is approximately $15,000. However, some divorces cost much less, and others cost much more. If a couple owns few assets, has no children, and agrees on the relevant divorce issues, they may be able to get divorced for as little as a couple of hundred dollars. Divorce cases that go to trial can result in overall costs of $50,000 or more.


St. Charles prenup attorneyOriginally posted: April 10, 2019 -- Updated: 11-9-2021

UPDATE: Illinois law has allowed prenuptial agreements and postnuptial agreements for decades. However, for many years, people misunderstood these important legal protections. In 2021, prenuptial agreements are more popular than ever - especially among the younger generation. 

Prenuptial agreements can protect an individual’s assets and shield them from their partner’s debts. Prenuptial agreements or “prenups” are especially beneficial for business owners, older couples, and individuals with high-value assets. However, prenuptial agreements must be properly executed to be legally enforceable.


IL family lawyerMillions of parents make the selfless decision to sacrifice a career for the benefit of their children. If you are a parent who has not worked outside of the home in several years or longer, you may be worried about how you will make ends meet if you get divorced. Sadly, many spouses stay in unhappy marriages because they are worried that they cannot manage without their spouse’s income. Fortunately, divorcing spouses in Illinois have several options for seeking financial assistance - both during and after the divorce.

Child Support and Spousal Maintenance

In Illinois, parents with the majority of the parenting time are typically entitled to child support. Illinois courts use the Income Shares model for child support to calculate the amount of child support a parent receives. Both parents’ net income is used to determine child support payments.

Spousal maintenance is awarded less frequently than child support, however, it is possible to get spousal maintenance in an Illinois divorce. If you do not have any marital agreements, such as a prenuptial agreement dictating spousal maintenance, you can petition the court for maintenance. The court will evaluate factors like the duration of the marriage, the standard of living during the marriage, financial resources and needs of each party, and employability of each party when determining maintenance.

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