Law Office of Russell D. Knight

When your family has issues that may lead to litigation, deep-seated emotions can boil over long before you reach a courtroom. Your lawyer can either add to the stress or reduce that existing level of stress. At The Law Office of Russell D. Knight, we provide a personal level of service that will help put you back in control. We will discuss all of your legal options and give you an honest assessment of your case. Contact our office today for a 100% free consultation to find out how we can best help you.

Law Office of Russell D. Knight Blogs

Blog Authors

Latest from Law Office of Russell D. Knight

People who get divorced yell at each other…a lot. While we are only human, there is a level of anger is impermissible and, likely, dangerous. When one party to a divorce in Illinois is frequently screaming, breaking things, and making threats anger management classes can be ordered.

Usually, anger leads to some kind of abuse which warrants a petition for an order of protection.

“If the court finds that petitioner has been abused by a family or household member…an order of protection prohibiting the abuse, neglect, or exploitation shall issue” 750 ILCS 60/214

“’Abuse’ means physical abuse, harassment, intimidation
Continue Reading Anger Management Classes In An Illinois Divorce

Parents get time with their children during and after an Illinois divorce.

“Unless the parents present a mutually agreed written parenting plan and that plan is approved by the court, the court shall allocate parenting time.” 750 ILCS 5/602.7

A court order to see a child is one thing. Enforcing a child visitation order and actually spending time with the child is another.

Exercising parenting time both becomes easier and harder as a child gets older. A parent can simply text their teenage child (they hate phone calls) and ask to spend time with the child. If the child wishes
Continue Reading Can A Parent Demand To Visit An Adult Child In Illinois?

When a marriage breaks down, there is always a loss of trust. Verifying the details of your spouse’s life requires a full disclosure from your spouse…and verification of the details from third parties.

In an Illinois court of law, verification of facts from third parties is done via subpoena.

A subpoena is “a writ or order commanding a person to appear before a court or other tribunal, subject to a penalty for failing to comply.” Black’s Law Dictionary (11th ed. 2019)

Most subpoenas will substitute a person actually coming to court for merely providing the records requested of them.

In
Continue Reading What If My Subpoena Is Not Answered In My Illinois Divorce?

A divorce is a total breakdown of trust between two parties to a marriage. Because of that breakdown in trust, the parties to a divorce must verify information from third parties. The information in need of verification might the parties’ income, the parties’ assets…even the parties’ late night activities.

The requests for information are allowable so long as they have some relevancy to the divorce.

“[A] party may obtain by discovery full disclosure regarding any matter relevant to the subject matter involved in the pending action” Ill. Sup. Ct. R. 201(b)(1)

In order to get a third
Continue Reading Quashing A Subpoena In An Illinois Divorce

Most people have two big assets: their home and their retirement savings. The retirement savings are usually kept in a tax-deferred account like a 401(k).

401(k)s are a great tool for savers. 401(k)s are automatically funded from employees paychecks. Employers can also match 401(k) savings. 401(k) funds are not taxed until they funds are withdrawn (which happens decades later when the employee is retired and in a lower tax bracket.

While not often considered, 401(k)s cannot be touched by creditors in a lawsuit.

“A debtor’s interest in or right, whether vested or not, to the assets held in or
Continue Reading Are 401(k)s Protected From A Divorce In Illinois?

When a divorce begins, it feels like you didn’t know your spouse at all. Do you even know your spouse’s finances? What do you not know about your spouse’s income and assets? How will you find out what assets your spouse owns…that you may have a right to divide in your Illinois divorce? If there are hidden assets, what is the penalty for hiding assets in an Illinois divorce?

How To Find Out What Assets Your Spouse Owns In An Illinois Divorce

Expecting your soon-to-be-ex-spouse to be on their best behavior when disclosing assets in an Illinois divorce sounds ridiculous…but
Continue Reading What Is The Penalty For Hiding Assets In An Illinois Divorce?

Justice is slow. In an Illinois divorce court justice is so slow that a court order can be entered months after the motions were argued before the court. During this waiting period the parties are free to do what they want without the burden of the court order’s requirements…even though the parties probably already know the substance of the eventual order.

Late orders mean that one party inappropriately benefits from the status quo until the order is entered and available to be followed.

Courts can remedy this temporal injunstice by issuing the eventual order “nunc pro tunc.”

Nunc pro tunc
Continue Reading Nunc Pro Tunc Orders In An Illinois Divorce

The point of a 401(k), 403(b) or other tax-deferred account is to save money before paying taxes on the money saved.

If a worker saves 7% of their income in a 401(k) account, the worker will only be taxed, the year of that contribution, on the remaining 93%.

The money saved in a 401(k) grows over the years. Eventually, that saved 401(k) money must be taxed when the money is finally withdrawn. That is why 401(k) accounts are referred to as tax-deferred accounts.

When you are old and retired, you are not earning a regular income so you will
Continue Reading Paying Taxes On A 401k Divorce Settlement In Illinois

A Marital Settlement Agreement contains your entire financial life and financial future as of the moment you sign the Marital Settlement Agreement. As you review your proposed Marital Settlement Agreement, your divorce lawyer may skim over some sections while mumbling “this is all boilerplate.”

Boilerplate is “ready-made or all-purpose language that will fit in a variety of documents. Fixed or standardized language that the proposing party often views as relatively non-negotiable.” Black’s Law Dictionary (11th ed. 2019)

Just because some language is non-negotiable “boilerplate” does not mean you shouldn’t understand it.

Perhaps the first boilerplate language you will encounter on a
Continue Reading Reservation Of Rights In An Illinois Marital Settlement Agreement

In an Illinois divorce, the parties’ testimony is predictable: I am great and my soon-to-be-ex-spouse is terrible. An Illinois divorce judge is going to need more and more credible information to make the appropriate conclusions. That information is going to come from third party witnesses that must be subpoenaed to testify.

Subpoenas that notify people that they must appear in court must be followed.

“Any witness shall respond to any lawful subpoena of which he or she has actual knowledge” Ill. Sup. Ct. R. 237(a)

Unfortunately, people do not always appear in court even if they are properly subpoenaed.
Continue Reading The Collective Knowledge Doctrine In An Illinois Divorce

Marital Settlement Agreements handle the monetary obligations of each spouse in an Illinois divorce.

“When an agreement by divorcing spouses concerning property rights is approved by the court and incorporated into the divorce decree, it becomes merged in the decree and the rights of the parties thereafter rest upon the decree.”In re Estate of Coleman, 395 NE 2d 1209 – Ill: Appellate Court, 2nd Dist. 1979

Marital Settlement Agreements handle three matters, all of which are numbers based: child support, maintenance (formerly known as alimony) and division of assets.

Each of these items is either expressed as
Continue Reading Numbers In An Illinois Marital Settlement Agreement

Discovery is the term for the process where litigants exchange required and requested documents in order to have all the necessary information to either settle or try their case.

“The purposes of litigation are best served when each party knows as much about the controversy as is reasonably practicable.” Mistler v. Mancini, 111 Ill. App. 3d 228, 231 (Ill. App. Ct. 1982)

There is a variety of ways to request discovery from the opposing side in an Illinois divorce: mandatory financial affidavits, notices to produce, interrogatories, depositions and subpoena deuces tecums.

“Information is obtainable as provided…through any
Continue Reading How To Sort Through Discovery Documents In An Illinois Divorce

When you are a divorce attorney, you are always the bad guy in someone else’s movie.

An Illinois divorce attorney owes numerous duties to their own client.

“A lawyer shall provide competent representation to a client.”  Ill. Sup. Ct. R. 1.1

“A lawyer shall act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a client.” Ill. Sup. Ct. R. 1.3

“A lawyer shall not reveal information relating to the representation of a client unless the client gives informed consent” Ill. Sup. Ct. R. 1.6

“A lawyer who has formerly represented a client in a matter shall not thereafter represent another person
Continue Reading Can You Sue Your Ex-Spouse’s Divorce Attorney In Illinois?

After months of back and forth negotiations the broad principles of the divorce agreement can be memorialized in detailed writings called the Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage, the Marital Settlement Agreement and/or the Allocation of Parenting Time And Parental Responsibilities.

Coming to an agreement is only half the effort in crafting a quality final divorce agreement. Ensuring that the agreement can and will be followed by the parties and a third party interpreter (lawyer, mediator and/or judge) is the where the real legal talent gets applied.

The written divorce settlement agreements will have incredible detail in order
Continue Reading Defining Terms In An Illinois Divorce Settlement

When an Illinois divorce is finalized, two to three documents are entered with the court: 1) a Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage, 2) a Marital Settlement Agreement and (possibly) 3) an Allocation of Parenting Time and Parental Responsibilities.

These documents are usually signed by all parties and become binding contracts.

“[Divorce S]ettlement agreements are binding.” In re Marriage of Stoker, 2021 IL App (5th) 200301

The beginning of a Marital Settlement Agreement or Allocation of Parenting Time and Parental Responsibilities will list various statements of fact that help the reader understand the contract as a whole.

For
Continue Reading Recitals In An Illinois Divorce Decree

In order to properly start and, eventually, finalize an Illinois divorce, both parties must have proper notice of the divorce proceedings. This requirement of notice is called “due process” and is fundamental to the entire American legal system.

“No state shall make or enforce any law…without due process of law” U.S. Const., amend. XIV

“At a minimum, due process requires that a deprivation of property cannot occur without providing notice and an opportunity for a hearing appropriate to the nature of the case.” In re Marriage of Beyer and Parkis, 753 NE 2d 1032 – Ill: Appellate Court, 1st
Continue Reading What If My Spouse Refuses To Accept Divorce Papers In Illinois?