Goostree Law Group

Latest from Goostree Law Group

Although the most commonly known method of collecting child support is through a court order as part of the Illinois divorce process, there are actually two ways of petitioning to collect child support. The first, as previously mentioned, is through an Illinois court. The second is by filing with the Illinois Division of Child Support Services (DCSS). If you are a parent of a child and you are attempting to collect child support, read on to learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of using DCSS to assist you, as well as how hiring a skilled child support attorney can…
Adopting a child in Illinois can be an incredibly joyous and rewarding event. However, adoption is also a complex process that requires patience and diligence. Having an experienced adoption attorney will help you navigate adoption law, and understanding the process before you get started will help you set realistic expectations. Am I Eligible to Adopt? Illinois adoption law does not discriminate on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, or marital status. As long as you are over 18 years of age, you meet Illinois residency requirements, and you are determined to be a reputable person, you may be single, married,…
So much of the conversation when we talk about divorce centers around the allocation of assets–property, money, investments. But a couple’s allocation of debt is often just as important, especially in an age where so many people carry the burden of enormous student loans. Here, we will discuss different types of debt, the factors that can affect debt division, and the process by which debt is divided in an Illinois divorce. Types of Debt Marital assets and debts follow a similar pattern in a divorce. Debt that was owned by spouses prior to the marriage will generally be owned…
Most couples buy a home at some point in their marriage. The family home is often the most valuable asset a couple owns, and the prospect of figuring out how to divide it in a divorce can be daunting. Fortunately, Illinois courts have established means of handling property division during divorce, and homes are no exception. Who Gets to Keep the House? Sometimes, it is necessary for a divorcing couple to sell the family home and divide the equity. However, it is common for one spouse to keep the home. Which spouse that will be may depend on a variety…
Although some parents will act aggressively to get full parental responsibilities for their children, others feel differently. You may not want full or even partial custody of your child for a number of reasons. Your job, your children from a previous relationship, your desire for privacy, or your feelings that you are not equipped to provide the care your child needs are all possible reasons for wanting your child’s other parent to have the majority of the childcare responsibilities. What is Best for the Child? Whether during divorce proceedings or when establishing parental responsibilities between unmarried parents, the court will…
Retirement funds, such as pensions and 401(k) accounts, are often a substantial issue in an Illinois divorce. For a couple who have earned average incomes throughout the duration of their marriage, retirement accounts can make up the majority of their accumulated wealth. As such, spouses are often concerned with the impact of a division of retirement savings as a consequence of their divorce. In our last post, we discussed the impact of divorce on Social Security benefits. Here, we will examine the way that retirement accounts are handled in a divorce. 401(k) and Contribution Plans  Unless spouses signed…
Everyone knows that when a couple divorces, they split everything they own 50/50. Right? Wrong! Property division in divorce is actually much more complex than just throwing everything into a big pot and then splitting it down the middle. In this blog, we will address some of the most common types of property that must be divided in a divorce, and how Illinois divorce courts tend to divide property. Keep in mind that Illinois is an “equitable distribution” state, meaning that rather than dividing assets 50/50, assets will be divided fairly according to a number of factors that the court…
In a high-conflict divorce where you and your spouse are unable to agree on anything, much less who should have custody or parental responsibilities for your child, character witnesses can be a valuable advantage to help you prove that living with you is in your child’s best interests. Here, we will explore the kinds of character witnesses you might use, as well as what a witness does and what you should do if a witness is reluctant to testify. Types of Witnesses There are essentially three types of witnesses that might appear in divorce proceedings. An independent expert witness, such…
There are many factors to consider during your Illinois divorce, and one that is frequently overlooked is how Social Security benefits are handled. Social Security benefits are more complicated than other retirement assets like a 401(k), because federal law prohibits assigning, dividing, or garnishing Social Security benefits. This means that state courts cannot even consider Social Security benefits in the division of marital property, because dividing and allocating them–even by anticipating a larger future benefit for one spouse and allocating marital property to the other spouse accordingly–would contradict federal law. However, that does not mean that you are…
If you share a child with your ex, and they are considering moving out of Illinois, you may feel nervous about what this means for the future of your relationship with your child. Fortunately, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act includes provisions limiting how far custodial parents can move with their children without court approval. When is a Parent in Illinois Allowed to Move with a Child? If your ex has custodial rights or parental responsibilities for at least half of the time, they are able to ask permission from the court to move and take the child…
Divorce is stressful. This is such a truism it hardly needs to be said. Between splitting up assets, negotiating with your former partner, taking care of any children, and trying to keep a household and career running smoothly, self-care can fall by the wayside. Ongoing stress is terrible for our mental and physical health, and people will often suffer from illness or chronic pain after a divorce. Anxiety and depression are also common, as is weight gain or loss, substance abuse, and even heart disease. Here are a few things you can do to help improve your health and reduce…
Once a couple knows their marriage is over, spouses preparing to divorce in Illinois can become very competitive and hostile. One tactic a spouse might employ in an effort to get revenge, pay less future spousal support, or otherwise get the upper hand in the divorce, is to hide assets and sources of income. This tactic is more common in high asset divorces, when a couple’s financial picture may be complex and one spouse may manage many or most of the assets, leaving the other spouse in the dark. Finding hidden assets and income that one spouse tries to…
When two people are married, most of the assets they acquire throughout the course of their marriage are considered marital property. During a divorce, a court will determine whether certain assets are considered marital or non-marital. If an asset is determined not to be marital property, the court has no legal authority to award part of the asset to the non-owner spouse in a divorce. Generally, assets acquired by inheritance, gift, legacy, or descent are not considered marital property in Illinois, but the way an asset is treated after the inheritance may render it marital property. What is an Inheritance?…
Even after a divorce, it is important for parents to maintain their relationships with their children. This usually means that there is still contact with the other parent–even if it is hostile in nature. Sometimes, the relationship between former spouses is so hostile that one spouse will attempt to turn a child against the other spouse in an effort to retaliate against them or get revenge. In addition to being extremely damaging to the psychological well-being of a child, parental alienation is painful and confusing for the parent towards whom the alienating behavior is directed. A previously happy and…
When you are in the middle of a divorce, there can be so many things to manage and negotiate that the custody of a pet may not immediately come to mind. However, if you are like most pet owners, your dog or cat is part of your family, and you care deeply about its well-being. You should be sure to understand your options for ensuring that your pet remains in your life after the divorce. Illinois Law Regarding Pets in a Divorce In January of 2018, Illinois law changed to treat pets more like children, giving couples the option…
Until fairly recently, couples in Illinois who were unable to conceive on their own had few options when it came to growing their family. Thankfully, modern medicine provides couples who have fertility challenges with many wonderful options for bringing a child into their loving home. A couple or individual exploring the possibilities may have some questions about which option is right for them. Those who long for a child must navigate the emotional complexities of their situation, and at the same time make careful legal decisions that will set up their family for success. Having an experienced lawyer on…