Russell D. Knight

While Russell Knight always focused on family law, The Law Offices of Russell D. Knight began exclusively practicing family law in 2013.  Russell prefers to do one thing, Family Law, and do it well. Russell Knight still, however, uses a great deal of his general knowledge of Criminal, Immigration and Bankruptcy Law in his Family Law practice.

Latest Articles

Big changes in life can often be a trigger for a divorce.  There are fewer bigger changes than sustaining a significant personal injury and then receiving a subsequent settlement or award for that personal injury.  Often, this change in physical and financial circumstances can make a marriage unsustainable and, thus, subject to divorce.  What is the relationship between divorce and personal injury in Illinois? What happens to a personal injury award in an Illinois divorce? Marital vs. Non-Marital Property In Illinois All assets that either party has in their name or possession at the time of divorce must be classified…
People are getting married a lot less lately….or at least getting married a lot later. It’s not uncommon for unmarried couples to not only live together but to buy homes together.  What happens when an unmarried couple buys a property and then breaks up? Does either party have a claim to the property they bought together or property they  bought individually while they were not married to each other? Illinois law treats property acquired by people who are married as marital property.  That is, if two people get married and then earn and keep some asset, property or money,…
Legal separation is a good scenario for conflict: not quite married, not quite divorced.  Not surprisingly, people are always getting legally separated on television because it adds conflict to a storyline. This leads the American public to believe that legal separation is common.  Legal separation is not common in Illinois, however. In the Illinois statute, legal separation is quickly described by its purpose. “Any person living separate and apart from his or her spouse may have a remedy for reasonable support and maintenance while they so live apart” 750 ILCS 5/402(a) That’s the whole point of getting a judgment of…
Most people don’t know much about divorce before entering the process.  They hear from friends and relatives’ bits and pieces, almost always scandalous and dispiriting.  Then the rest they pick up from television and movies such as the ability to disqualify a divorce lawyer from talking to your spouse by merely consulting with the divorce lawyer first.  In theory, the mere consultation with a divorce attorney creates a conflict of interest which disqualifies the lawyer from representing the consultor’s spouse. In the famed HBO television series “The Sopranos” the mafia boss’s wife, Carmela Soprano finds that the mafia boss, Tony…
Children are expensive. Children need to be fed, clothed and cared for when they’re babies. Then when children get into school, they inevitably get into activities that require some kind of financial contribution from the parents. When the parents of the children are divorced, there must be some kind of arrangement made to pay for these activities. But what exactly are the children’s extracurricular activities in the context of an Illinois divorce? Who decides what extracurricular activities the children will be in? Before the law changed in 2016, whoever had “custody” of the children would make all of the decisions…
The whole point of going to court in a divorce is to get a ruling from the court.  If you and your spouse cannot agree on an issue in your divorce, either of you may ask the court to make the decision based on the facts of your divorce case as applied to Illinois law.  The attorneys will present the facts, communicate how those facts are applied to the law and then the judge will rule upon that matter at either a hearing or a trial.  But, how do you challenge a judge’s decision in an Illinois divorce? File an…
This is number 20 in my series of things to do with your kids during or after a divorce or separation. I always truly believe in putting the kids first during a divorce. Whether it’s recommending a therapist or just suggesting something to do with the kids for the afternoon, a family law lawyer should have be giving his or her clients ALL the information he has available. The winters in Chicago are brutal. More than brutal they are just long. It is incredibly difficult to adequately entertain a child indoors from November through April. It is also unadvisable to…
Whenever money is being transferred there is a possibility of taxes.  Perhaps there is no bigger transfer than the transfer of assets and income during divorce.  Therefore, taxes and divorce must be considered together when negotiating and finalizing a dissolution of marriage. Tax Implications of Transferring Property In Divorce Any transfer of property pursuant to a settlement of a divorce is not considered either a gift or income for tax purposes.  26 U.S.C. Sec. 1041(a)(2).  That transfer has to happen within three years of the divorce however to remain untaxable. 26 U.S.C. Sec. 2516. This means it is usually in…
I am often called on by my fellow lawyers who practice immigration law to enter an order in the family law or domestic relations courts of Cook County.  A family law lawyer can often be the only one to establish the “findings of fact” necessary to grant immigrants certain statuses which allow them remain in the United States legally.  One of those statuses a family law lawyer can help with is Special Immigrant Juvenile Status or more commonly referred to as “SIJS”. Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) is a form of relief for some noncitizen minors – specifically those…
Estate planning is making preparations for the transfer of a person’s wealth and assets after his or her death. Typically, this is done by setting up a will or a trust. People set up estate plans to benefit their loved ones especially their husbands and wives. But, what happens to wills and/or trusts during and after a divorce? More than just being the beneficiary of an estate plan, a husband and wife are often co-creators of estate plans. A spouse will often be the executor of the other spouse’s estate. An executor is the person who gathers the deceased’s…
Divorces are difficult wherever they are. An Illinois divorce with a child or with children is even more difficult.  I often tell clients who have no children or have grown children, “your divorce is automatically 75% easier than the average divorce with a child.” Is It My Child? In Illinois, all children born to a woman while a couple are married are presumed to be the children of that couple. Illinois statute 750 ILCS 46/204 states that “A person is presumed to be the parent of a child if: The person and the mother of the child have entered into…
A married couple may be from a foreign country, have a foreign vacation property or habe simply diversified their investment portfolio by buying foreign property.  Property is still property no matter where it is located.  The question is “What happens to foreign property in a divorce?” A property’s location outside of the United States may impact how the property is finally distributed to the parties in a divorce. Foreign Property is still Marital Property In Illinois, “’[M]arital property’ means all property, including debts and other obligations, acquired by either spouse subsequent to the marriage”750 ILCS 5/503(a). So, if the…
In the old days, folks would just get married in a church, jump a broom, or just start living together. Before 1905, people in Illinois did not have run down to the county clerk to register their marriage. Our forefathers would just say, “Well, we’ve been together for a few years so I guess we’re married”…and the law agreed with them. That was known as “common law marriage in Illinois.” Common law marriage does not exist in Illinois anymore. Illinois law requires two things to be actually married 1) solemnization and 2) registration. Solemnization Now Illinois law requires “solemnization”…
Inheritance money is rarely given to a couple together.  Last wills and testaments almost always read “to my dear my son” not “to my dear son-in-law.”  So, when the deceased wished that a property go to a single person, that property should stay with the single person…even after a divorce.  Illinois law provides for exactly that scenario with inheritance and divorce, with a few exceptions. Is an Inheritance Marital Property in an Illinois Divorce? In Illinois, the property a divorcing couple has is divided into two types: marital and non-marital. ”[M]arital property” means all property, including debts and other obligations,…
For most divorcing couples the marital home is the most valuable asset they have.  If that house was purchased while the couple was married, the house is a marital asset and therefore divisible in a divorce. Even if the house was purchased before the marriage, if the house was put into both couples’ names or if the mortgage was in both parties’ names the house will be presumed to be marital property.  If a house is marital property, we must determine how to value a house in a divorce before distributing all of the marital property between the two parties.…
Child support in Illinois is calculated based on a complicated formula where both parents’ incomes are used to calculate the non-custodial parent’s obligation to the custodial parent. This amount of money is then ordered to be paid by the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent.  This calculated child support is usually deducted from the obligor’s paycheck, paid to the state disbursement unit (who accounts for the payment) and then forwarded to the custodial parent. Child support is not tax deductible to the payor and the child support receiver does not pay tax on the child support they receive. What is…