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If you are asking if you can change, fire or be done with your current Guardian Ad Litem or Child Representative in your Illinois divorce you already know exactly what a Guardian Ad Litem or Child Representative is and does…and you are NOT happy about it.

While you may not appreciate the Guardian Ad Litem or Child Representative’s actions, opinions or recommendations…there is not much you can do about it.

Guardian Ad Litems and Child Representatives can be removed from an Illinois divorce case but only with good cause.

The only good causes to remove a Guardian Ad Litem or
Continue Reading Can I Change My Guardian Ad Litem Or Child Representative In My Illinois Divorce?

A divorce with children often provokes selfless feelings by the parents. “So long as the kids are okay,” can quickly turn into, “So long as the kids get everything.”

Parents can find themselves transferring marital assets to children to either secure their children’s inheritance or to effectively keep those marital assets from being split in a divorce. No matter the motivations, it is a massive hassle when parents make significant gifts to children during an Illinois divorce.

Marital Assets And Gifts In An Illinois Divorce

Illinois divorce courts “shall divide the marital property without regard to marital misconduct in
Continue Reading Gifts To Children During An Illinois Divorce

The wishes of a minor child are both the most important thing and the least important thing in an Illinois child custody dispute.

A judge has told me, “A child gets a voice but not a choice.” Children have opinions but those opinions have weight appropriate to the maturity of the child. Otherwise, the parent who gave the child ice cream for dinner would always be the custodial parent.

So, how does a child express their wishes to the judge in an Illinois custody dispute?

Often, a child will express what they’ve seen, heard and felt to a judge
Continue Reading In Camera Interviews Of A Child In An Illinois Custody Case

The more money you make, the more you realize that there is the price you pay for things…and the price you pay for things after taxes.

The taxability (or lack thereof) of maintenance (formerly known as alimony) should impact the settlement negotiations of your divorce as you may have to write one check to your spouse…and another check to the IRS.

Who Pays The Taxes On Maintenance During Or After An Illinois Divorce?

If are required to pay maintenance during or after an Illinois divorce you will not be able to deduct those payments from your gross income
Continue Reading Is Maintenance (Formerly Known As Alimony) Tax Deductible In Illinois?

To the non-lawyer, litigation looks a lot like homework. In divorce litigation, you prepare paperwork, submit it to the judge, the judge reads the paperwork and then says “good job” or “sorry, I don’t agree.”

Judges like information. Judges like written information. Hmm…I bet the judge would really like a letter explaining what’s really going on in my Illinois divorce.

You are trying to be helpful, which is commendable, but you cannot send a letter to the divorce judge who is overseeing your Illinois divorce.

Communication from one party to the judge without the other party present (which is what
Continue Reading Can I Write A Letter To My Illinois Divorce Judge?

The first question I ask a potential client is “how long have you been married?”

The length of the marriage impacts everything about an Illinois divorce. A short marriage will cause a judge to shrug and think, “They barely even know each other,” while a long marriage will result in pronouncements of permanent support and complete division of all assets.

Length Of Marriage And Maintenance In Illinois

Short marriages meant that the two parties barely relied on each other during the marriage. Therefore, Illinois divorce courts are less likely to award maintenance (formerly known as alimony) to a spouse who
Continue Reading How Does Length Of Marriage Impact An Illinois Divorce?

Whenever I tell people I am a divorce lawyer they say, “You must have a lot of stories.”

I do have a lot of stories, but I cannot tell any of those stories because of attorney-client privilege and general human decency.

Sadly, human decency can be rare in a divorce. In fact, bad behavior is rampant during divorce litigation. The opposing side’s prior poor behavior make it very tempting to argue, “Oh yeah? Well, judge, you’ll never guess what they did before that.”

Not surprisingly, seasoned divorce judges don’t take give much weight to tattle-tales and one-up-manship. Neither does the
Continue Reading Bad Behavior And “Unclean Hands” In An Illinois Divorce

We have all seen hundreds of advertisements over the years where a lawyer says “you don’t pay, if we don’t win.” That sounds like a good deal. After all, you want to win your divorce. Your divorce lawyer should just get some of what your divorce lawyer “wins” from your spouse.

Contingency fees are common in personal injury cases and other matters where there is a clear winner and loser of the case.

A contingent fee is “a fee charged for a lawyer’s services only if the lawsuit is successful or is favorably settled out of court. Contingent fees are
Continue Reading Can An Illinois Divorce Attorney Work On Contingency?

For forty years it was simple to get your spouse off your mortgage so you could keep the marital home after an Illinois divorce. The spouse that kept the marital house would refinance the mortgage. Some of the debt would have been paid off and mortgage rates were typically lower than they were when the mortgage was set or last refinanced. So, even if you had to pay your spouse their marital share of the equity in the home, the ongoing monthly payments post-refinance were usually lower.

Then came 2022! Mortgage rates are now climbing. A spouse cannot simply
Continue Reading Mortgage Assumption In An Illinois Divorce

I recently saw an advertisement on Facebook that said “Protect your assets in a divorce with a trust.”

Hmm. I’m a divorce lawyer who is obsessed with divorce law and strategy. Why had I not heard that a pending divorce could be resolved by simply transferring all of one’s property into a trust?

Probably because what sounds too good to be true…usually is.

Upon further research, I discovered that you can remove marital assets from the marital estate rendering the assets untouched by a later divorce by putting those marital assets in a trust…but only if you have no ill
Continue Reading Trusts And Marital Assets In An Illinois Divorce

People are rarely surprised when they find out their spouse wants a divorce. Discussing the prospect of divorce is preferable to bombarding your spouse with filed divorce papers. Still, there are considerations about how much you should tell your spouse about your plans to divorce them and when you should reveal those plans.

Should you tell your spouse that you are going to file for divorce before you have actually filed for divorce in Illinois?

There is nothing wrong with spouses talking with a counselor or a mediator before either spouse files for divorce.

Talking through your potential divorce with
Continue Reading Should You Tell Your Spouse You Are Filing For Divorce In Illinois

Power of Attorney is “[a]n instrument granting someone authority to act as agent or attorney-in-fact for the grantor” Black’s Law Dictionary (11th ed. 2019)

Power of Attorney is a state designated form that allows one person to act on another person’s behalf. This usually means the person granted power of attorney can make decisions for and then entering into contracts on the part of the person that granted them power of attorney.

This is a big deal! The ability to run around town and sign contracts which commit and obligate a separate person to God knows what? Who could possibly be
Continue Reading Power Of Attorney And Divorce In Illinois

Most people know quite a bit about divorce law before they ever even have to consider divorce: kids get a schedule with each parent, one spouse may pay the other spouse support and assets get divided.

Below each of those principles are thousands of rules which help Illinois divorce courts come to equitable conclusions and guide Illinois divorce lawyers to manageable settlements.

While all things are possible by agreement, there are definitely some things that are impossible when put before an Illinois divorce judge. Those impossibilities need to be determined as soon as possible in order
Continue Reading What Assets Cannot Be Split In An Illinois Divorce?

Employers want good employees to stay working for them. One way that employers can ensure that an employee will still be working for them next year or even five years from now is to offer them benefits which will vest in the future.

Employers will offer employees retirement benefits or stock options which will only vest after a certain number of years. Therefore, the employee will be tempted to remain at that employer in order to get actual ownership of the retirement benefit or stock option which they were promised.

Until that vesting condition occurs (usually a certain number of
Continue Reading Vested and Non-vested Retirement Benefits And Stock Options In An Illinois Divorce

Every year, one or two gentlemen call me and with quivering voices they tell me, “I just found out that my child is not mine…what can I do?”

I can’t imagine how heart breaking it is to realize that the relationship with your children’s mother wasn’t true…but to also discovery that your relationship with your own children is not what you thought.

There are two options for the fathers that find out their child is not actually their biological child: 1) say nothing and be the father figure the child needs or 2) sue the mother for the deceit and
Continue Reading I Found Out My Child Is Not Mine In Illinois

Sometimes we barely know the people we marry. We get a call from the police station and find out they are accused of crimes. Shortly, thereafter, we file for divorce.

Will you be responsible for the crimes your spouse committed in Illinois?

Will You Be An Accessory To Your Spouse’s Crime In Illinois?

You will only be held criminally responsible for your spouse’s crime if you had something to do with that crime.

In Illinois, “A person is legally accountable for the conduct of another when:

(a) having a mental state described by the statute defining the offense, he or she
Continue Reading Am I Responsible For My Spouse’s Crime In Illinois?