Family & Divorce

When parents are in the middle of a battle over the allocation of parental responsibilities, the state of affairs can be intense. In some cases, the parenting dispute can result in one parent taking the child without the consent and knowledge of the other parent or the court. Despite their status as a legal parent, this still qualifies as “kidnapping” or “child abduction” and can turn a civil case into a criminal case with harsh consequences for the offending parent. Child Abduction Kidnapping is a felony in Illinois, and a conviction can result in fines, probation and jail time.…
Parents who get divorced in Illinois will need to create a parenting plan or parenting agreement as part of their divorce settlement. If parents cannot agree on a plan, the court will make decisions about child custody and issue a parenting plan. In either case, a parenting plan will specify how major decisions about the child will be handled and when each parent will enjoy visitation, technically called “parenting time,” with their child. Understandably, many parents struggle to make the adjustment from spending every day with their child to sharing parenting time with their ex-spouse. However, if a…
In May 2018, The Supreme Court of the United States handed down a verdict which permitted states other than Nevada to legalize sports betting and gambling. Since this opinion has come out, many states have introduced proposed legislation to legalize sports gambling within their borders. In 2019, Illinois joined states like Kentucky and Missouri in considering legislation that would legalize sports gambling.  In June 2019, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed the bill legalizing sports, making Illinois the fifth state this year, and the largest by population measures, to officially legalize sports gambling.  The new law will allow for state-wide mobile sports…
After surviving the holidays, many people are preparing to serve their spouse with divorce papers — and, as one expert notes, that can be a good thing for some households. January typically has a surge in divorce filings as people look for a fresh start on their life. Divorce filings surge in January as people decide to start their New Year with a clean slate, helped by a stressful holiday period and, perhaps, even more, stressful in-laws, experts say, with family lawyers reporting a rise of nearly one-third in business in the New Year. One in five couples plan to…
A couple in a high asset divorce has more at stake in the division of property – and more to lose if they make a mistake. A poorly conceived divorce agreement could cost you a small fortune in lost or squandered assets. Once the agreement is approved, you will not get a do-over unless you can prove that your spouse intentionally deceived you during your divorce or you signed the agreement under duress. To avoid having remorse over your high asset divorce, you should do your best to get your agreement right the first time. Dig Deep The main way that…
According to statistics from the National Survey of Family Growth, around 22% of all marriages end within the first five years, and an estimated 53% of marriages dissolve by the 20-year mark. With these statistics in mind, it is not surprising that divorce is common for Americans. Getting a divorce has been said to be one of the most stressful life events, second only to the death of a loved one. One of the ways you can help alleviate some of this stress is by effectively preparing for the end of your marriage. Here are a few tips to help…
Property division is often one of the most complex aspects of divorce. The division of retirement plans can be especially complicated. If you are getting divorced, you may have concerns about how your or your spouse’s IRA, 401(k), pension plan, or other retirement benefits will be divided. In Illinois, marital property is divided according to “equitable distribution.” Non-marital property, or property which was obtained by either spouse before the marriage, is not eligible for division. The specifics of how your retirement plan will be handled during divorce will vary depending on your unique circumstances, so it is important to…
When a couple decides to end their relationship, it is probable that at least one of them will no longer live in the home they once shared. In some cases, both spouses may move out of the marital home following divorce and relocate to smaller dwellings. However, while moving to a new home may be necessary, parents should be aware of the restrictions that may apply when they plan to move with their children. In some cases, parental relocation may require approval from the court. If you not sure how a potential move may impact your rights as a parent,…
When couples struggle with issues in their marriage, divorce may seem like the most appropriate choice. However, there is another viable, less permanent option available. Legal separation allows parties to collect child support or alimony while living apart. Other legal actions, such as the filing of a parenting plan, can also be implemented into a legal separation.  Examining the Potential Benefits of Legal Separation  Not every couple is ready to call it quits when they have problems, yet many cannot continue living together under the current circumstances. Legal separation allows them to remain married while living apart. If they work…
Just as every relationship and marriage is unique, so too is every divorce. While some couples may choose to split amicably, with almost no signs of contention, others may struggle with hostility, arguments, and conflict. In some cases, people may be floored by the vengeful nature of their soon to be ex-spouse. Thankfully, there is a solution for every situation, and it is important to understand which divorce option may be best for you. Mediation Versus Litigation There are two basic ways to handle a divorce: mediation or litigation. Mediation (a common form of alternative dispute resolution) is a…
Whether you’re embroiled in a difficult divorce or dealing with a paternity case, emotions run high as the proceedings pertain to custody and visitation for a minor child. Though the applicable Illinois statute now uses the terms “allocation of parental responsibilities” and “parenting time,” many of the same underlying concepts will be familiar. Unfortunately, that also means many of the same heated disputes can arise. These disagreements may lead one party to accuse the other of parental alienation, an allegation that courts treat very seriously. Claims of parental alienation carry significant implications and risks for a parent on either side of…
People vary dramatically in their feelings regarding medical treatment. Some people want every possible medical intervention to be taken, even if those medical treatments will only slightly extend the duration of their lives. Other people only want the bare minimum actions taken if they become seriously ill or injured. Have you ever considered the types of medical treatments you would want to undergo if you became extremely sick? What if you were too sick to express these wishes? A power of attorney for healthcare is a type of estate planning instrument that can allow you to take your future medical…
Stephanie Tang will discuss being trial-ready for a family law case as part of the ISBA Family Law Section’s Family Law: Back to Basics CLE program on January 23, 2020. The presentation, titled “Discovery, Trial Preparation and Organization,” will provide information regarding discovery, preparing for trial, SCR 213 interrogatories, SCR 214 production requests, depositions and subpoenas for records. It will also include tips to help with trial notebooks, exhibit management, case strategy, motions in limine, summary exhibits and more. Stephanie will be speaking along with Elizabeth F. Wakeman from the Wakeman Law Group P.C. The Family Law Back to Basics…
Recently, California joined the ranks of states like Oregon and New York in enacting a law controlling the maximum amount of rent a landlord may charge a tenant. These laws, commonly known and rent control laws, prevent landlords from raising rents to levels which the state deems unreasonable. Since 1997, restrictions of this kind have been banned in Illinois. This year, Illinois legislators and advocates alike have proposed a bill to remove this ban.  Legislators are split over whether rent control is a good thing for the state or if it will negatively affect the rental market. THE CURRENT BAN…
Just as no two marriages are the same, no two divorces are the same. There are several different paths that a person getting divorced in Illinois may choose to pursue. Some couples are able to work out the terms of their divorce on their own. Others require help from a qualified mediator to come to an agreement about property division, child custody, and other divorce-related issues. Collaborative law offers yet another option for couples ending their marriage. In some situations, especially those involving spouses with a high net worth, a divorce case may require courtroom litigation. Here…
Most are familiar with prenuptial agreements, which are sometimes referred to as antenuptial or premarital agreements. Prenuptial or premarital agreements are documents signed before parties get married. Prenuptial agreements can encompass a wide range of issues from property and debt division, spousal maintenance and attorneys’ fees in the instance of divorce. For a prenuptial agreement to be valid, certain legal formalities need to be met. However, many are not so sure what a postnuptial agreement is and why they might want to enter into one. A postnuptial agreement is just like a prenuptial agreement, except it is entered into after