Family & Divorce

If you and your spouse are considering divorce and you have children together, you may have concerns about how you will share parental responsibilities and parenting time. Co-parenting with an ex-spouse can be extremely difficult—especially if the end of the marriage was wrought with conflict. If you and your child’s other parent cannot communicate without the discussion devolving into arguments, parallel parenting may be an effective strategy for you to consider. The Basics of Parallel Parenting Just as every marriage is different, every divorce is different. Some divorced parents can easily communicate with each other about child-related concerns. They…
Spousal maintenance, also called alimony or spousal support, refers to payments that an individual makes to their former spouse after a divorce. Spousal support is only ordered in certain divorce cases, and it is meant to ensure that a divorced person can maintain the lifestyle they were used to during their marriage. In some cases, maintenance payments will be ordered when a lesser-earning spouse needs financial support for a period of time until he or she can obtain the skills or education necessary for suitable employment. However, some spouses may not ever be able to become financially independent after…
Couples spend months or years dating before they decide to marry. Yet, when it comes to divorce, parties sometimes make rash decisions, opting to end their marriage before fully thinking it through. It is only when they are buried by the grief and cost that regret starts to surface. By then, it may be too late to undo the damage. Do not let this happen to you. Stop and answer these five questions before you file the paperwork for your Illinois divorce.  1. How Would Life Improve if You Divorced?  Divorce is not the answer to every solution. Sometimes,…
Contrary to what you see in movies and television shows, settling your divorce case in court is almost always a last resort. Illinois courts highly encourage couples to try to make decisions pertaining to their divorce on their own without outside intervention. Not only does that save you time and money, but it also allows you to keep the control in your hands and enables you to decide your own future. Some couples have tried to avoid going to court and are unable to come to their own resolutions, but most couples see the benefit of settling their divorce outside…
Retirement assets grow in importance as marital property the longer you are married. If you divorce after several years of marriage, they could be one of the most valuable properties you own. As with all marital properties, you must include your retirement benefits as part of your division of property, and figuring out how to do so will be one of the most complicated parts of the divorce process. In general, there are four steps to determining how you will divide your retirement benefits as part of your divorce agreement: Valuing Your Benefits: To start, you need to know the…
Preparing a will is, for many people, the cornerstone of estate planning. For some, a will can be enough to cover much of their estate, while others may require additional planning instruments to meet their needs when they are gone. Regardless of the size of your estate, choosing an individual to oversee the execution of your will is one of the most important determinations that you will have to make during the estate planning process. A person or entity tasked with such responsibility is called an executor in Illinois—sometimes known as a personal representative in other states—and should be…
Illinois first allowed marijuana for medical reasons through legislation enacted in 2013 and followed up this effort by legalizing marijuana for recreational use in May 2019. Though the most recent statute doesn’t become effective until January 2020, Crain’s Chicago Business has already predicted that revenue from recreational-use marijuana is expected to top $1.6 billion in the state. Another issue regarding legal marijuana may come as a shock to anyone going through child custody proceedings in Illinois. Your usage could affect your rights as a parent, so it’s important to discuss them with a Chicago child custody attorney as soon as…
According to the American Psychological Association (APA), data from the National Survey of Family Growth shows that 48 percent of marriages end when they hit the 20-year mark. Despite this evidence and the colorful divorce horror stories we all hear from our friends, family members, and neighbors, the reality is that not all couples who make up these kinds of statistics experience a toxic divorce. Many spouses are not only able to make a mutual decision to end their marriage, but they are also capable of navigating the process amicably, even acting as a team to ensure a smoother experience…
When a child’s parents decide to divorce, they must determine who will have decision-making power over certain aspects of their child’s life, such as where they will go to school or church. This component of a parenting plan, now known as the allocation of parental rights (formerly known as custody) is made based on the best interests of the child. Learn more about this phrase and its meaning in the following sections, and discover how a seasoned family law attorney can help you with developing a sound and comprehensive parenting plan to fit your family’s needs. Best Interest of…
Predicting the types of conflicts you may experience throughout your divorce process can be difficult, if not impossible. Sometimes, you do not know trouble is brewing until a particular issue is discussed and suddenly spawns an argument that seems unmanageable. Many couples experience nothing but smooth sailing during the first stages of divorce, only to find later that buried tensions have morphed into a series of toxic interactions. Whether you have been fortunate enough to have an amicable separation thus far or are dealing with a contentious divorce, exploring mediation as a tool to help achieve a peaceful dissolution of…
Divorcing or separated parents in a dispute over their parenting time are often looking for something that will give them an advantage over their co-parent. Pointing out flaws in your co-parent’s character feels like a strong argument for giving you a greater share of parental responsibilities. However, character attacks are not always effective in a parenting case and may instead backfire on the accuser. You will be best served during your parenting case by demonstrating the strengths of your own character and only bringing up your co-parent’s lack of character if you can explain actual ways that it is harmful to your children.…
In collaborative practice, one goal of both parties ought to be a fair settlement. A fair settlement means that both parties generally believe that the settlement is fair and equitable for both parties. This is counter to traditional litigation where the goal is often to get the best deal possible for themselves. This is a mindset that is based on win-lose solutions versus win-win solutions. In collaborative divorce and family law, win-win is what both parties should strive for in their case. Win-win solutions help prevent future disputes and disagreements. Win-win keep parties out of court. Win-win solutions also…
A divorce or family lawyer’s job is to help their client in a competent, communicative and diligent manner. However, the more the lawyer knows, the better most lawyers are going to be able to help. A lawyer needs to be armed with the facts. They need to be provided with the details. This means that the lawyer needs to know the good, the bad and the ugly about the case. Knowing the facts helps the lawyer present the client’s case in court. It also helps the lawyer prepare for what the other lawyer might focus on in court, which…
When you and your spouse got married, you might have moved into a house that one of you owned already, or you might have found a new home together. Since your wedding, it is also possible that you and your spouse have upgraded and bought a house big enough to accommodate your growing family. If you find yourself facing the prospect of a divorce, however, how and when you and your spouse bought your current home could affect its status as a marital asset. Equitable Distribution in Illinois According to Illinois law, a divorcing couple’s marital property is…
If you share children with your spouse and have made the choice to divorce, one of the most important legal decisions you and your partner will have to make is which guidelines to include in your parenting plan. Under Illinois law, a parenting plan is a written agreement that designates certain decision-making responsibilities to each parent, outlining specific parameters that provide structure as to how children should be raised. Parenting plans also govern parenting time (visitation), which is a crucial piece of your family’s new structure following the divorce. Responsibilities to be Discussed When Creating a Parenting Plan…
In October 2019, the United States House of Representatives voted to pass a bi-partisan bill that would designate certain forms of animal cruelty as federal felonies; this bill was passed by the Senate earlier this month and, on November 25, 2019, was signed into law by the President.  The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act, or the PACT Act, gained support from both the Humane Society Legislative Fund, the Fraternal Order of the Police, and the National Sheriff’s Association. THE CURRENT LEGISLATION The PACT Law expands on the protections offered under prior federal legislation, the Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act.…