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Children are expensive. You have to feed them, clothe them, give them shelter and keep them healthy. Keeping children healthy means having your children insured both during and after your Illinois divorce.

“The duty to provide health insurance is an integral part of a parent’s current and future support obligations.” In re Marriage of Seitzinger, 775 NE 2d 282 – Ill: Appellate Court, 4th Dist. 2002

Health Insurance For Children Is Mandatory During And After An Illinois Divorce

An Illinois divorce court must be sure that the children have some kind of health insurance before finalizing any paperwork regarding child
Continue Reading Children’s Health Insurance In An Illinois Divorce

You cannot just show up in an Illinois divorce court with a bunch of documents for a judge to review. Documents are an “out of court statement to prove the truth of the matter asserted.” Therefore, documents are hearsay and inadmissible in an Illinois court of law.

The theory is that anyone could have written the document and you cannot cross-examine a document. So, a document, by itself, is inherently unreliable.

There are some documents that are so inherently reliable that an Illinois divorce court will automatically admit them. Most documents made by a government agency are inherently reliable and
Continue Reading Public Records In An Illinois Divorce Trial Or Hearing

An Illinois divorce judge is the finder of fact during an Illinois divorce trial. The Illinois divorce judge determines what are true facts based on the testimony of the witnesses presented.

A judge can use many different factors to determine which facts are true: instructions from the law, credibility of the witness and/or logic. A party to a divorce has little control over these factors beyond the presentation of the evidence for consideration.

One thing a party can do is to present A LOT of evidence. The purpose of cumulative evidence is to corroborate the previous evidence.

To corroborate
Continue Reading Keeping Non-Party Witnesses Out Of Court During An Illinois Divorce Trial

In an Illinois divorce trial each party has the right to call their own witnesses in order to take testimony and/or present evidence. The initial questioning of a witness is called direct examination.

After a witness is called to testify in a divorce, the other party has the right to question that same witness. This next step in questioning a witness is called a cross-examination.

Cross-examination gives the questioner more control over the questions in that the questions can be leading, a cross-examination is restricted to the bounds of the scope of the direct examination.

Any further questions during
Continue Reading Questions Beyond The Scope Of Direct Examination In Illinois Divorce

Raising kids is not easy. Disciplining children throughout the stressful divorce process is even harder. Parents often resort to spankings or other methods of corporal punishment. When corporal punishment occurs, the other parent will always be tempted to make that corporal punishment an issue…whether it is an issue or not.

While everyone agrees that corporal punishment is not the ideal means for disciplining children, there is much disagreement as to whether corporal punishment in any form is acceptable.

Illinois case law is based on long-standing traditions. Corporal punishment is as old as the Bible.

“He that spareth his rod
Continue Reading Corporal Punishment In An Illinois Divorce or Parentage Case

The first duty of a parent is to keep a child safe. At least twice a day, this involves putting a child in an automobile to go school, daycare, a friend or relative’s house. In Illinois, the child must be in a specific kind of car seat or be wearing a seatbelt, depending on the child’s age and size.

Children Under Age 8 Must Have A Car Seat Or Booster Seat In Illinois

All children UNDER age 8 (that is ages zero through seven) must use a car seat depending on the type of car they are in.

“When any
Continue Reading When Does A Child Need To Be In A Car Seat or Have A Seat Belt In Illinois?

You are at an impasse with your ex. You both cannot agree on an issue so you have to let the judge decide. Finally, it is your day in court! Your ex is asked a simple question and then tells his or her entire life story on the stand. Wait! What? Is this how court is supposed to work?

No, it is not.

An Illinois divorce hearing or trial is not just two parties giving the judge a long speech…but it sure can seem that way unless you object to narrative answers.  

What Is Narrative Testimony In An Illinois
Continue Reading Narrative Answers In An Illinois Divorce Hearing or Trial

In my 15 years of experience as a divorce attorney, I’ve found that most divorces are the result of a personality disorder or addiction problem on the part of one or both of the parties. Most other married couples seem to work their problems out.

When a party to a divorce has such a glaring character flaw it is tempting to make that character flaw the star of the divorce trial. This way the judge will see who they are REALLY dealing with.

Bringing up spouse or ex-spouse’s character must be done with great particularity during an Illinois divorce trial.
Continue Reading Character Evidence In An Illinois Divorce Trial

They say the two best days in a boater’s life are the day they buy the boat and the day they sell it. Perhaps the same may be said of a marriage.

Boats are a curious asset in an Illinois divorce because they are an extravagance. While a boat has value (if the boat is paid off), a boat requires expensive maintenance throughout the year. Furthermore, boats are often entertainment associated with new paramours. Additionally, the extreme expense of a boat means that the sale of the boat modifies both parties’ financial capacity and needs.

Who Gets The Boat After
Continue Reading Boats And Divorce In Illinois

The average person has some concept of the basic rules of jurisprudence in the Anglo-American system. One of those concepts is “the statute of limitations”

A statute of limitations is “a time limit for suing . . . based on the date when the claim accrued.” Black’s Law Dictionary (7th ed)

“Statutes of limitations are intended to prevent unnecessary delay in bringing a claim by barring the claim after a certain period has elapsed.” Koelle v. Zwiren, 672 NE 2d 868 – Ill: Appellate Court, 1st Dist., 1st Div. 1996

“Statutes of limitation are designed to accelerate settlement of controversies
Continue Reading Statutes Of Limitations, Timeliness and Laches In An Illinois Divorce

When two people are married and buy real estate, there are incredible incentives to hold the property jointly.

Jointly held property has the right of survivorship. If one spouse dies, the entire property passes to the other spouse without the hassle of probate court.

“[A]n intrinsic feature of joint tenancy is the right of survivorship, which entitles the last surviving tenant to take the entire estate” Sathoff v. Sutterer, 869 NE 2d 354 – Ill: Appellate Court, 5th Dist. 2007

Furthermore, married people in Illinois, if they buy the home they’ll live in, they are automatically deeded the
Continue Reading Quit Claim Deeds And Divorce In Illinois

If you or your spouse own a business or part of a business, that business must be determined to be marital or non-marital for the purposes of division of assets in your Illinois divorce.

If the business was started, acquired, or built during the marriage, it is presumed to be marital and, thus, divisible. Interest in a business can be divided via stock in the business or one party can buy the other party’s marital interest in the business in order to effectuate an equitable division of assets. The income from each party’s share of the business will impact the
Continue Reading How To Read A Cash Flow Statement In An Illinois Divorce

In a contested Illinois divorce, sooner or later, there will be an evidentiary hearing to allow the judge to weigh the evidence and resolve the issues that prevent the parties from coming to an agreement.

What Is A Notice To Appear In An Illinois Divorce?

As a contested hearing or trial comes close, you or your spouse may receive a notice which will read “Pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 237(b), you are hereby notified that the Petitioner, [your name] is required to appear in open court on [date] at [time]., before the Honorable Judge [name] or any other judge
Continue Reading Notice To Appear In An Illinois Divorce

The most basic principle in Anglo-American common law is that if you make a promise, you have to keep your promise.

In Illinois, promises between former spouses are usually enshrined in a Marital Settlement Agreement and other subsequent orders entered and approved by the court. Additionally, those agreements must be enforced by the domestic relations judge to which the divorce case is assigned. It is not uncommon, however, to find that the domestic relations judge does not appropriately enforce a Marital Settlement Agreement. In such a situation, can you try to sue your former spouse for breach of contract in
Continue Reading Can I Sue My Ex For Breach Of Contract In Illinois?

A divorce trial doesn’t unwind a single incident the way a personal injury or criminal case does. Rather, a divorce takes the totality of a relationship and creates binding orders based on the cumulative past behaviors of both spouses.

How can someone testify to everything they did in a relationship that spanned years?

Simple. A party to a divorce can testify to their usual behavior or their spouse’s typical actions as a whole by testify to their own or their spouse’s habits.

Habit Evidence In Illinois

“Evidence of the habit of a person or of the routine practice of an
Continue Reading Habit In An Illinois Divorce Hearing Or Trial

While questioning a witness in an Illinois divorce hearing or trial, the witness may provide an answer…that is not the answer to your question.

Answering a question with an evasive or equivocal answer is either dumb, rude or manipulative. Answers such as these should be brought to the court’s attention with an objection…by the questioner, themselves.

Upon receiving an answer which is not the answer to your question, you may object “Objection. Nonresponsive! Please strike that answer from the record.”

“It is the duty of the court to strike nonresponsive answers to questions, when a proper motion to do
Continue Reading Nonresponsive Answers In An Illinois Divorce