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An Illinois divorce is a series of orders that are usually agreed which finally culminate in a final set of orders: A Judgment For Dissolution Of Marriage, A Marital Settlement Agreement and perhaps an Allocation Of Parenting Time and Parental Responsibilities. These agreements are usually the result of informed negotiations between the parties, hopefully with the help of a licensed attorney experienced in Illinois divorce law and procedure. But, sometimes one party to a divorce can have buyer’s remorse and request to undo a prior agreement. This is especially likely if there is a power imbalance between…
Divorce cases are about finally terminating a long-dying relationship and finally unwinding the the married parties’ joint affairs. Eventually, a final hearing is performed which awards all assets to each party, determines maintenance and child support and allocates parenting time and parental responsibilities to each parent (if applicable). Those final orders are memorialized in writing and filed with the court. “If at the time of announcing final judgment the judge requires the submission of a form of written judgment to be signed by the judge or if a circuit court rule requires the prevailing party to submit a draft order,…
In America, the ability to own a home is part of the American Dream. In furtherance of this, there are numerous laws which encourage home ownership such as the mortgage interest deduction and the concept of the homestead exemption. What Is A Homestead in Illinois? A homestead is a building or collection of buildings where people actually live. “Homestead is a freehold estate in land, the purpose of which is ‘to insure to the family the possession and enjoyment of a home ” Willard v. Northwest National Bank of Chicago, 137 Ill. App. 3d 255, 264 (1985) Labelling a house…
Some parents are good. Some parents are bad. Some parents are so bad that they are deemed to be unfit parents by an Illinois court of law. A finding that a person is an “unfit parent” essentially strips that parent of their rights to their children. Because of this extreme result of terminating a parent’s rights, unfitness is taken very seriously by Illinois courts. In Illinois, a finding of unfitness is only done in an adoption or a juvenile case. A parent cannot simply accuse another parent of being unfit and thereby terminate the unfit parent’s rights. Certain…
At the moment an Illinois divorce is registered, the final court documents capture a moment in time. A moment where both parties are unmarried…but they won’t be for long. People who get divorced usually get married again. A remarriage means an entangling of a spouse’s finances with their new spouse. How does a new spouse’s income affect maintenance, child support and other matters after an Illinois divorce? Initially, a Marital Settlement Agreement and an Allocation of Parenting Time and Parental Responsibilities will govern the divorced couple. As time passes, either couple may petition for a modification of the…
When you’re getting married you hear the words “”Til Death Do Us Part.” When you contemplate divorce, you don’t want your current spouse to have anything after you die. So, how do you disinherit a spouse in Illinois? A Divorce Automatically Disinherits A Former Spouse After a divorce, a spouse is automatically written out of any existing wills. “No will or any part thereof is revoked by any change in the circumstances, condition or marital status of the testator, except that dissolution of marriage or declaration of invalidity of the marriage of the testator revokes every legacy or interest…
Trust funds are way to set aside money for a specific purpose. Trusts are especially useful for applying money for the benefit of someone who cannot manage the money themselves such as a child. A trust is “an equitable or beneficial right or title to land or other property, held for the beneficiary by another person, in whom resides the legal title or ownership, recognized and enforced by courts of chancery.” Black’s Law Dictionary (10th ed. 2014) The assets held in trust can then be applied for the trust’s special purpose as supervised by the trustee. Illinois divorce courts have the…
Divorce is the end of a relationship but the relationship is rarely truly over. During a divorce, the marriage is still unwinding as parties arrange schedules with their children, divide assets and debts and arrange for support. During the divorce, the parties may have their own divorce attorneys who communicate with each other regarding the divorce. These divorce lawyers’ communications will be formal, direct and expensive. So, are you allowed to talk with your spouse during an Illinois divorce? Even if you are allowed, should you talk with your spouse during an Illinois divorce? Divorce Lawyers Communicating During…
While adultery and betrayal can be central to any divorce, there seems to be no greater betrayal than financial betrayal. Illinois, while being a no-fault state for divorce, does recognize financial betrayal and takes strict accounting of extreme financial malfeasance on the part of either spouse. This accounting of marital moneys spent on girlfriends, boyfriends, drugs, gambling or other non-marital purposes is referred to as a “dissipation of assets.” What Is A Dissipation Of Assets In An Illinois Divorce? “Dissipation is defined as the use of marital property for one spouse’s sole benefit for a purpose unrelated to the marriage…
Tax refunds can be afterthought in an Illinois divorce. Maintenance, child support and the division of assets and debts will dwarf the money the at the U.S. government owes one or both parties to an Illinois divorce. Still, money is money and someone is going to get that last tax refund. So, who gets the tax refund in an Illinois divorce? Filing Jointly During An Illinois Divorce Spouses may file their taxes together and thus receive a joint tax refund. “A husband and wife may make a single return jointly of income taxes under subtitle A, even though one…
Much of the divorce process looks like backroom horse trading…and it kind of is. But, when you can’t agree in those back rooms, you have the right to go to a full hearing in front of a judge. At that point, the bargaining is over and your case is 100% governed by evidence presented as applied to the Illinois law. Presenting evidence is no joke. There is no time to look up how to do present evidence properly. There’s even less time to object to someone presenting evidence you don’t like. And, there’s less than a second to…
Every divorce litigant ends up realizing that a massive amount of their divorce is devoted to discovery. Discovery is the accumulation of relevant information which either gives a party peace of mind or gives a party evidence to use in a trial later. Either way, information must be exchanged to resolve a divorce case. When relevant information for a divorce case goes missing or is destroyed, it is a problem for the divorce case in general and the person responsible for that evidence in particular. What happens when evidence is missing or destroyed in an Illinois divorce case? Purposely missing…
In an Illinois divorce hearing or trial before evidence is put on there will be the opportunity for each side to deliver an opening statement “The opening statement is intended generally to inform the [finder of fact] concerning the nature of the action and the issues involved and to give them an outline of the case so that they can better understand the testimony….Counsel may summarily outline what he expects the evidence admissible at the trial will show but no statement may be made in opening which counsel does not intend to prove or cannot prove.” Gillson v. GM &…
If you cannot agree with your spouse as to the terms of your divorce, you are going to have ask a judge to resolve your disagreements. In Illinois, the finder of fact is a judge NOT a jury. “There shall be no trial by jury” 50 ILCS 5/103 Often, you can present your case to your judge in a more informal pre-trial setting where the judge will make recommendations based on the summary of the facts by the respective sides. If you don’t agree with the judge’s recommendations, you can present your evidence to the judge and request a…
When a parent goes away it’s sad for everyone but when a parent is literally locked up and inaccessible to their children and unable to provide for their children, it’s a tragedy. But, just because someone is in jail and cannot get a job from which their check can be garnished, does not relieve them of the obligation to support their children. How Does Child Support Get Established In Illinois If the parents of the child were married, there will be a child support order if either parent files for divorce or separation. “[T]he court may order either…
In the lead up to a marriage there is much thought given to how to build a life together but very little thought as to how those intertwined lives would be unwound if there was a divorce. People entering into a marriage with significant assets always think about how to unwind the marriage…with all their assets in tact. The wealthy are especially nervous about divorce if they’ve been divorced before. Whether it is to protect assets or to reduce the possible outcomes in a divorce, soon-to-be-married couples enter into prenuptial agreements. Prenuptial agreements or “prenups” are contracts entered into by…