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While some Illinois divorce cases will go through a full trial to determine disputes, many more divorce cases are resolved through less adversarial processes, such as mediation, where parties sit down with their lawyers and a mediator trained in techniques for resolving disagreements.   Often, mediators can get divorcing couples to settle their case, instead of conducting a trial to have a judge decide asset division, spousal maintenance, and issues related to minor children. Illinois laws allow judges to order mediation for some divorce issues or the parties may both voluntarily choose the process for some or all issues.  …
Most couples going through divorce in Illinois realize they need to address asset division, spousal support, and issues regarding minor children. Not many understand the role life insurance plays as part of this process. It may seem strange that a court would require one or both parties to maintain or purchase a life insurance policy, but many judges will order it as part of a final divorce decree – or even while a case is still proceeding. Once you learn the reasons behind such an arrangement, you can see how life insurance impacts your rights as a party and parent.…
For many years, the popular belief was only the rich and famous would execute prenuptial agreements before getting married. That traditional line of thinking quickly diminished when people began realizing the benefits. However, one key misconception remained: The idea that only older adults consider prenups, especially those walking down the aisle for the second time.   The truth is, the number of millennials requesting prenuptial agreements is on the rise, as more than half of divorce attorneys indicated they saw an increase among individuals born between 1981 and 1996. The trend of young people and prenuptial agreements may come as…
You know both parents have the responsibility to provide financial support for their children and, in a perfect world, you are more than willing to do your part. However, your circumstances can abruptly change or other developments in your life may render you unable to afford child support. In such a situation, you probably understand the consequences for non-payment are harsh. Illinois actually defines the failure to fulfill child support as a Class A Misdemeanor under certain circumstances, which comes with a punishment of jail time and a fine and your driver’s license could be suspended.   As such, you…
In many divorce cases, Illinois’ statute on allocation of parental responsibilities generally favors both individuals sharing in the raising of the child. As such, parents share in making key significant decisions regarding the child’s life. For logistical purposes, one parent often has residential possession, while the other is entitled to visitation. However, there are many situations where parents share time with the child on an equal or approximately equal basis. Under the law, the official term for visitation is “parenting time” and refers to the time when one parent is responsible for caretaking and routine, day-to-day decision-making.   However, there…
Every situation of domestic violence is factually unique, especially when you consider Illinois laws cover various personal relationships and different acts of aggression. Though many presume issues only occur between spouses, the domestic violence statute specifically includes family members, housemates, parents who share a child, people in a current or past dating relationships, caretakers and disabled adults and many others. Also, the term “violence” incorporates a much wider range of acts other than just physical harm. Harassment, intimidation, and other misconduct also falls under the umbrella of domestic violence.   It is key to understand there is more than one…
The decision to end your marriage is never an easy one, but your situation may be even more complex if you or your wife is pregnant, and one of you is contemplating divorce. You might even wonder if it’s possible to initiate divorce proceedings in Illinois when there is an expectant child – especially when the case may not even be complete before the child’s birth. You also might have questions about how a divorce affects paternity, which is a concern when the pregnancy was the result of infidelity. It may be a relief to know pregnancy does NOT affect…
In Illinois, it’s common for unmarried parents to share custody and visitation of minor children, legally termed the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time. However, even when you agree on the relevant issues and include details in your parenting plan, unforeseen circumstances can disrupt the arrangement. Schedules change, emergencies arise, and other factors may make it impossible to meet your obligations. Also, your ex may have conflicts. To account for this scenario, Illinois enacted a statute on right of first refusal. In sum, the law may require one parent offer the other an opportunity to provide childcare before…
For many people involved with divorce and family law matters, one of the first questions they ask is “Will my case go to trial?” It’s an understandable question since you want to know what to expect. Though providing a definite answer is impossible, you should know there are benefits for avoiding trial through agreement. You have more control over the outcome, so many lawyers will aim for settlement where it properly protects your interests. Although most cases settle, agreement isn’t possible in some cases and it’s not appropriate when it puts your rights or children at risk. Skilled Chicago divorce
There are situations where you just don’t click with someone, whether due to personality conflicts, disagreements, or other factors. It can be frustrating in any context, but your circumstances are especially challenging when communications with trust or confidence in the attorney you’ve retained to handle a family law matter breaks down. You have a business relationship with this individual, but it’s one which centers on very personal, emotional issues.   As such, when your situation becomes intolerable, you might find yourself asking, can I change my lawyer?” The answer is yes, you can terminate your business relationship. There are some…
When you think of divorce, you might picture a hostile, bitter court battle that involves endless hearings, constant fighting and protracted litigation. While this may be true for some, many other divorcing couples are able to move through the process more smoothly through compromise. Fortunately, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act does allow – and even encourages – parties to come to an agreement on the primary issues in a divorce case. In doing so, you experience numerous benefits by maintaining more control over your divorce.   However, while entering into a divorce settlement agreement certainly has its…
Parents will need to address the needs of minor children in any Illinois divorce, but certain issues are more complex when both parents don’t live in the same state. Whether one parent is already a non-resident or was allowed by a court to relocate, the situation raises important questions about parenting time – familiarly known as visitation. The judicial system recognizes a child benefits by having a solid relationship with both parents, so you could face a conundrum in trying to balance this objective with the logistics of out-of-state parenting time. If you’re in such a position, either as the…
As a parent going through divorce, you no doubt have concerns about how the process will affect your children. In some cases, you may even lose trust in your child’s other parent, or harbor fears about exposure to bad influences. Or you might be on the other side of the equation and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse accuses you of engaging in behavior that has adverse implications for raising your child. With either of these scenarios, the topic of a morality clause may come up as you’re addressing a parenting plan under Illinois’ divorce statute. Whether you’re seeking to prepare a morality…
Dear Clients and Friends: By now everyone is aware of the many shutdowns and closures caused by the COVID-19 virus, which has resulted in interruptions in our lives and businesses. Navigating difficult times is a core skill I’ve developed during my decades of being a divorce lawyer. My partners and I have been working to protect the safety of our staff, while at the same time, meeting the needs of our current and new clients. Currently, it is our plan to keep our Chicago, Springfield and Naples offices open and operational. However, we have, and are developing, alternative methods of securely communicating…
There are a few tasks you’ll need to cross off your To-Do list when you’re contemplating divorce. You’ll make considerable headway by scheduling an initial consultation with a Chicago divorce attorney. This first meeting is crucial, so you want to make the most of your time. Your lawyer will be taking the lead on the essential legal requirements, but you’ll need to do your part as well by tackling a few items to prepare for your appointment. 1. Be aware of the issues you’ll address during divorce. You don’t need to address the most minute details of the Illinois
As you may be aware, one of the most important issues that arises during the divorce process is how to distribute property spouses acquired during their marriage. The Illinois divorce statute on division of property requires marital assets be divided equitably, which means according to the interests of fairness – not an exact 50-50 split. With many types of property, such as bank accounts, retirement benefits, automobiles and similar assets, getting to an equitable division is relatively straightforward. When it comes to the home you share during your marriage, the issue becomes considerably more complex. Many couples opt to either…