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During a divorce, couples with children often find themselves in disagreement regarding what actions or decisions are in the best interests of their children amid emotionally charged proceedings, sometimes losing sight of their priorities. In such cases, understanding the roles of certain third-party advocates is crucial.
What Are Third-Party Advocates?
Third-party advocates, appointed by the court or motioned by the parties’ attorneys, ensure the children’s needs are prioritized during a contested family law proceeding. This is important because the court’s decision regarding parental responsibility (formerly known as “custody”) and parenting time (formerly known as “visitation”) is based on the best
Continue Reading What is the Difference Between (1) an Attorney for the Child, (2) a Child Representative, and (3) a Guardian ad Litem?

Keeping track of your finances is a key aspect during your divorce proceeding. Your attorney will ask for all of your credit card and bank statements from a specific period of time during the discovery phase of your divorce proceeding. Collecting and organizing your financial records is important in order to see how you and your spouse spend your money.
What is Dissipation?
Another reason to collect your financial records is to see if your spouse has dissipated your marital assets.

  • According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, dissipation of marital assets occurs when one spouse uses

Continue Reading What is dissipation and why should you be aware of it in a divorce proceeding?

A parent’s obligation to pay child support generally terminates upon the earliest of the following dates:

  • the child’s emancipation, which occurs when the child turns 18
  • the child’s high school graduation, if they are still in high school; or
  • the child’s  19th  birthday. 

However, there are certain situations in which parents may still be required to financially support their child into adulthood, even after divorce.
College Expenses After Divorce
The court may award money for an adult child’s college expenses until the child is 23. In special circumstances, this may be extended up until the child is 25. The court can
Continue Reading Do I Have to Financially Support My Adult Children After Divorce?

Families and individuals considering adoption face many obstacles, including financial considerations. To help ease the financial burden, both the federal government and the state of Illinois offer adoption tax credits that can make a significant difference in the adoption journey.
What is the Federal Adoption Tax Credit?
The federal government offers a non-refundable tax credit to eligible adoptive parents, helping offset qualified adoption expenses. As of 2023, the maximum credit amount is $15,950 per child, however, it’s important to note that this credit changes yearly.  Any credit difference may also be carried forward for up to five years.
Qualified adoption
Continue Reading How Does Adopting a Child Impact Taxes in Illinois?

One of the most urgent concerns clients have regarding their divorce is whether they will retain certain assets. As such, Kogut & Wilson attorneys take an incisive and assertive approach to this process, always ensuring that the court is informed of our clients’ needs and what they are entitled to as they enter this new stage of their lives.

Illinois Requirements for Division of Assets & Property

Illinois is an equitable property division state. While an equitable division may be 50/50, there are also many circumstances where the division of assets and/or debts may need to deviate in order to
Continue Reading Process of Asset & Property Division in Illinois

In Illinois, a child’s legal parents, who are typically the biological parents, must consent, waive or surrender their parental rights for an adoption to proceed. While this process seems straightforward, it is important for birth parents to have legal representation, even if they are in agreement with the adoption, as the judicial processes regarding parental rights can be a complex subject to navigate alone.
Understanding a Birth Mother’s Rights
A woman who gives birth to a child is presumed to be the child’s biological and legal mother, and she can surrender her parental rights or consent to an adoption 72
Continue Reading Birth Mother and Father Representation in Uncontested Adoption Proceedings

The State of Illinois recently transformed its legal landscape by introducing alternative methods for service of summons including e-mail, text or direct messaging via social media. Summoning is a procedure that orders a party to appear in court and answer a claim made against them. Previously, individuals could only be summoned by personal service or in specific instances, court-approved methods such as certified mail.
Traditional methods of summons are still required by the court to be tried first, with electronic services only being utilized when the other methods are deemed impractical.
In order to be summoned electronically, a court motion
Continue Reading Illinois Summons of Service Regulations Goes Digital

Kogut & Wilson’s Eva M. Kogut recently shared insights with other family law professionals on mediation best practices.   
Eva’s discussion focused on preparing clients for the mediation process including:  

  • Discussing what is and what is not mediation, goals and if the process should be attorney assisted 
  • Making a list of gross and net assets and liabilities 
  • Gathering financial information 
  • Discussing different types of parenting schedules, child support, health insurance, maintenance and division of property 
  • Explaining Memorandums 
  • Assisting client in outlining their priorities  
  • Focusing on the future  

Other panel participants discussed attorney preparation, business tips for mediators, zoom tips and tricks
Continue Reading Eva M. Kogut Discusses Mediation Best Practices with Family Law Professionals

Adopting a child can be a complex process, but when the adoptive parents and the child reside in different states, a layer of complexity is added. These adoptions are known as interstate adoptions and are controlled by the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) federal statute.
Understanding the ICPC
The ICPC was established to ensure the protection and well-being of children who are placed in foster homes, adoptive homes and other childcare facilities across state lines. This law has been enacted by all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the United States Virgin Islands with a primary objective
Continue Reading Interstate Adoption and the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children

During a divorce or parentage proceeding in Illinois, a child support order is often established to ensure the well-being of the child. As financial situations may evolve over the years, many individuals find themselves seeking modifications to Court Ordered child support  to ensure that the child’s needs continue to be adequately met. Kogut & Wilson explores the various circumstances under which modifications may be considered.
Substantial Change in Circumstances                                 
In many proceedings, child support orders may be modified if a requesting parent can demonstrate a significant change in circumstances since the previous support order. The court will evaluate various factors
Continue Reading Navigating Illinois Child Support Modifications

Maintenance, formally known as alimony or spousal support, is a common element of a divorce settlement.  While maintenance could take several forms, the most common form is a monthly financial award paid by a higher income spouse to a lower income spouse. The maintenance award is based on the circumstances of both spouses at the time of the divorce, most importantly, the income of both parties.  However, it is common for the circumstances of one or both people to change after an order or judgment has been reached. As such, maintenance modification can be allowed by a judge if a
Continue Reading Process of Maintenance Modification in Illinois

International adoptions, while increasingly less common than their domestic counterpart, do still occur worldwide.  Individuals hoping to adopt a child from a foreign country have a distinct set of requirements they must meet before and after the process is complete to ensure the child has access to the benefits of US citizenship and to prevent issues from evolving as they grow up.

Illinois Requirements for International Adoption of Children Still Residing in Birth Country

Prospective adoptive parents must follow all requirements for adoption within the country where the child resides. While requirements differ between countries, as part of the international
Continue Reading Requirements and Process of International Adoption in Illinois

Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) is an immigration classification that can provide a path to lawful permanent residence or even citizenship in the United States. While life-changing, there are many uncertainties and misconceptions surrounding the process, making the method seem out of reach for those in need.

Popularity of SIJS in the US

The SIJS application process has been increasing in popularity over the last few years as changes to various statutes have expanded availability. These expansions include:

  • Codification of SIJS specific language within the
    • Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act
    • Probate Act
    • Adoption Act
  • Expansion of jurisdiction for

Continue Reading Special Immigrant Juvenile Status Qualifications for Young Adults

Kogut & Wilson partner Bryan J. Wilson has been appointed to serve another term as a member on the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) Standing Committee on Legislation for 2023-2024.
The Legislation Committee serves members by monitoring legislation introduced in the Illinois General Assembly. Legislation affecting the profession and the administration of justice is referred to interested sections and committees for their comments. Based on this review, the ISBA may support, oppose or suggest amendatory language to legislation. The ISBA also proposes legislation for introduction that has been suggested by its sections or committees and monitors federal legislation.
Founded in
Continue Reading Bryan J. Wilson Reappointed to ISBA Standing Committee on Legislation in 2023

After a major life event, such as marriage, divorce or adoption, a name change can signify the start of a new life or closing of the previous chapter. Though many name changes occur after a major event, obtaining a legal name change does not require a qualifying event.  While it is possible for a person to complete this process on their own, as the process varies depending on the circumstances, having a lawyer by one’s side can relieve the stresses and unknowns of the process. Kogut & Wilson outline the eligibility requirements and process of an official name change.

Continue Reading Requirements and Process of Changing Your Name in Illinois

While purchasing a home is likely an exciting chapter for married couples, in divorce proceedings, owning a home can bring a wave of questions and concerns.

In a divorce, a very important shared asset to divide is the marital home. One of the simplest and most cost-effective methods to avoid a contentious battle is to assume the mortgage on the marital home rather than buying out the home from a former spouse.

What is a Buyout? 

A “Buyout” is when the buying spouse pays the other for their share in the value of the home or mortgage. It is important
Continue Reading Mortgage Assumption vs. Buyout: What’s the Best Course for Your Divorce?