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Except for parenting time, almost everything in an Illinois divorce is about who owes what to whom.

The transfer of assets, debts and other financial transactions are done pursuant to the orders that were entered by the Illinois divorce court. When a transaction that was ordered does not occur on time, the party owed the money has a money judgment.

A money judgment is “a court’s official decision with respect to the rights and obligations of the parties to a lawsuit…A judgment, of course, may require one party to pay money to another.” In re Marriage of Logston,
Continue Reading Interest On Money Owed In An Illinois Divorce

A divorce has a lot of moving financial parts. Divorcing people are earning money. Divorcing people are spending money. Divorcing people are selling assets. Divorcing people are buying things.

As my dad used to say when he held up a coin, “It’s made round to go ‘round.”

How do we keep track of this marital money as the parties inevitably divide their financial connection entirely in a final Illinois divorce judgment.

Often, an Illinois divorce court will order that marital money be held in escrow until further order of court.

Escrow is “[a] writing, deed, money, stock or other
Continue Reading Escrow In An Illinois Divorce

When a divorce is filed in Illinois…that divorce is filed somewhere.

The legal location of a divorce is called the venue.

Venue is “the county or district in which a case is to be tried.” Black’s Law Dictionary (11th ed. 2019)

The final decisions regarding a divorce will be made in a specific venue.

“Venue. The proceedings shall be had in the county where the plaintiff or defendant resides” 750 ILCS 5/104(a)(note: this is the only time the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act refers to the parties by the antiquated and adversarial terms “plaintiff or defendant. In the rest
Continue Reading Forum Non Conveniens In An Illinois Divorce

When parents split up they must immediately make arrangements to keep the children’s lives and schedules as stable as possible. Maintaining a consistent schedule for the children is difficult in the opening phases of a divorce. Typically, one parent disappears from the home at the initial stages of the divorce and is absent from the children’s lives until further orders are made for temporary visitation and then final custody.

What happens to visitation and custody at the beginning of a divorce or parentage action before any orders are entered?

It first has to be determined whether the courts even
Continue Reading Who Has Custody Of A Child If There Is No Court Order In Illinois

A deposition is “a witness’s out-of-court testimony that is reduced to writing (usually by a court reporter) for later use in court or for discovery purposes.” Black’s Law Dictionary (11th ed. 2019)

“Any party may take the testimony of any party or person by deposition upon oral examination or written questions for the purpose of discovery or for use as evidence in the action.” Ill. Sup. Ct. R. 202

At the end of a deposition, the court reporter will announce, “do you waive signature?” The court reporter is asking if the deponent will certify that everything the court reporter wrote
Continue Reading What If The Deponent Does Not Sign A Deposition Transcript In An Illinois Divorce?

After 17 years of divorcing people, I have learned that the average Illinois resident only has two assets: their 401(k) and their home.

Their home is worth as much as it would sell for on the open market less than the balance of the mortgage for that home. This amount of surplus in value over what is owed is referred to as the “equity” of the home.

The equity of the home is usually divided between divorcing couples via a buyout or a division of proceeds after the sale of the home.

When the outstanding mortgage owed is greater than
Continue Reading Illinois Divorce With An Upside Down Mortgage

The divorce process is a massive buildup. You file a petition for dissolution of marriage, you exchange discovery, you participate in pretrials, you finally either settle all issues or take the matter to trial.

During the entire divorce process, your soon-to-be-ex-spouse is your opponent. If only there was a way to know what your divorce opponent was thinking during the machinations of your divorce.

Actually, there is a way to determine what your spouse is thinking, planning and even what they will testify to at the eventual divorce trial…you can just ask them.

During the course of an Illinois divorce
Continue Reading How To Depose Your Spouse In An Illinois Divorce

Parents will immediately offer to help their children, emotionally and financially, when their children get divorced. Some parents actively encourage their children to get divorced. Some parents wish they could take it a step further…and ensure that their ne’er-do-well son-in-laws and daughter-in-laws cannot profit from an inheritance. Can a will actively require a child to divorce a spouse in order for that child to collect an inheritance?

You can write anything you want in a will or trust. There is no governing body that oversees wills and trusts for “acceptability.” If someone decides to write in a will or trust,
Continue Reading Can A Will Or Trust Encourage Divorce In Illinois?

There used to be a very specific order in which people did things: they got engaged, they got married, they bought a house and then they had a baby. At least that’s what they told us.

Now, people often get engaged, buy a house and then get married (and there might be a baby before or during all of that).

What happens to a house that is bought before marriage and/or during an engagement if the couple eventually get divorced in Illinois?

Houses bought before marriage are divided depending on who is on the deed.

If Both Parties Are On
Continue Reading What Happens In An Illinois Divorce To A House You Bought When You Were Engaged?

Custody battles occur when two parents have different parenting styles. Naturally, two parents from two different cultures will be prone to different parenting styles and the subsequent conflict that can create. While the parties may have looked past or embraced each other’s racial differences in the marriage…they may make issue of those racial differences during their divorce. Race can be a factor in an Illinois custody determination but race cannot be the only factor.

Custody in Illinois is now split into the twin, usually parallel concepts of parenting time and parental responsibilities. Illinois divorce courts determine the parenting time
Continue Reading Race And Child Custody In Illinois

If you have ever read any of the articles on my website, you can tell that I really like case law. Case law fills in the blanks when the statute favors brevity over detail. Case law explains the theory of the law. Case law even lays out the past decisions that have led to today’s jurisprudence.

Reading case law will truly help you understand the law as a whole. As Isaac Newton said, “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”

However, not all case law is created equal.

Case law is based
Continue Reading Can I Use Case Law From Other States In My Illinois Motions And Pleadings?

When relationships fall apart, people quickly seize the items that they believe are theirs (or just want). Often, they will take things that do not truly belong to them in order to spite the other party.

“No, you didn’t have to stoop so lowHave your friends collect your records and then change your numberI guess that I don’t need that, thoughNow you’re just somebody that I used to know” – Gotye, “Somebody That I Used To Know”, Making Mirrors (2011)

Some items matter; keepsakes, unique items, items with sentimental value. Illinois law is not operated by the rule of
Continue Reading Replevin Actions Against Spouses and Other Exes In Illinois

It is one thing to get a child support order in Illinois. It is another thing to ensure the child support is paid. It is a further effort to ensure that the child support is paid in a timely manner. When child support is late, the payor or the payee must review the child support order to determine what (if any) penalties exist regarding late child support payments.

The amount of child support in Illinois is calculated based on the monthly incomes of the two parents.

“The court shall compute the basic child support obligation by taking the following
Continue Reading When Is Child Support Considered Late In Illinois?

Lawyers are expensive. Good lawyers are REALLY expensive. As the old saying goes, “you get what you pay for.”

In an Illinois divorce, there are a variety of ways a divorce litigant can ask the other side to pay for their attorney’s fees.

“The court from time to time, after due notice and hearing, and after considering the financial resources of the parties, may order any party to pay a reasonable amount for his own or the other party’s costs and attorney’s fees.” 750 ILCS 5/508(a)

Attorney’s fees can be awarded during the divorce proceedings based on who has
Continue Reading Can A Pro Se Litigant Ask For Attorney’s Fees In An Illinois Divorce?

While some people may buy 10 shares of Microsoft, an infinitesimal amount of stock with zero voting power, other people may buy stock that allows them to control a portion of the company. Upon a significant sale of stock, the remaining stockholders have a new business partner…and that business partner often has a spouse.

The spouse of a stock purchaser will then be asked to sign what is called a “Spousal Consent Form.” Every spousal consent form is different but below is an example:

“The undersigned spouse of [Spouse’s Name] (the “Purchaser”) has read, understands and hereby approves all the
Continue Reading Spousal Consent For Stock Purchase Agreements In An Illinois Divorce

In an Illinois divorce, the amount of maintenance (formerly known as alimony), the duration of maintenance, the modifiability of maintenance are all important considerations. The first step in considering maintenance in an Illinois divorce is to determine which spouse will be paying maintenance.

Obviously, the spouse who makes more money pays maintenance (formerly known as alimony) to the other spouse in an Illinois divorce…but it is not so simple.

Maintenance is far from automatic in Illinois.

“Maintenance issues are presented in a great number of factual situations and resist a simple analysis.” In re Marriage of Mayhall, 311 Ill.App.3d 765, 769, 244
Continue Reading Which Spouse Pays Maintenance In An Illinois Divorce?