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Divorces are heated. Often, parents don’t agree on how to raise their children. Sometimes, parents, their relatives and/or friends can even believe a child is in danger to the point where they call the authorities. In Illinois, the Department of Children And Family Services (DCFS) is responsible for investigating the possible endangerment of a child.

What happens if the report to DCFS is false? What are the consequences for the reporter and the reported parent?

What Happens When DCFS Receives A Report?

When DCFS receives a report they are obligated to investigate the allegations and, if necessary, act on those
Continue Reading False Reports To DCFS In Illinois

When a divorce happens in Illinois, the income of both parties is used to determine the support one party will pay the other. Additionally, the income the parties should be able to earn will be considered in making the determination of maintenance and/or child support. How do you do determine what a divorcing spouse should be earning, however? Can an expert be used to determine what a divorcing spouse’s income would be in the current job market?

Maintenance and Chlld Support In An Illinois Divorce

Maintenance and Child Support in Illinois are determined by the parties incomes.

In an Illinois
Continue Reading Vocational Evaluations In An Illinois Divorce

Sophisticated business people know that arbitration is much cheaper and simpler than litigation. Therefore, contracts will often include an arbitration clause that will pre-empt litigation by agreement of the parties.

Can arbitration be a substitute for divorce court proceedings in Illinois?

What Is Arbitration

Arbitration is “[t]he investigation and determination of a matter or matters of difference between contending parties, by one or more unofficial persons, chosen by the parties, and called “arbitrators,” or “referees.”” Black’s Law Dictionary (10th ed. 2014)

Arbitration can only happen in Illinois if there was a written contract agreeing to arbitration.

“A written agreement to submit
Continue Reading Can I Send My Illinois Divorce To Arbitration?

During a divorce there may be a need for an expert to testify as to the value of a marital asset or the psychological make-up of a parent and child. The expert is not allowed to just walk into court and start giving their opinion. The expert must be qualified first for their expert opinion to be considered by the judge.

To present evidence in an Illinois court to be weighed by a judge, that evidence must be reliable. Something someone experienced first-hand is more reliable than something they merely heard about second-hand (hearsay).

In an Illinois court room all
Continue Reading How To Qualify An Expert Witness During An Illinois Divorce Hearing Or Trial

As a divorce attorney, I have been told many times by potential clients that “my spouse is crazy.” Are all these spouses really mentally ill? We can always find out if a spouse has mental health issues using Illinois law.

“Information is obtainable as provided in these rules through any of the following discovery methods: …physical and mental examination of persons.” Ill. Sup. Ct. R. 201(a)

A motion can be filed for a mental examination of a party to a divorce under Illinois Supreme Court Rule 215.

“In any action in which the physical or mental condition of a party
Continue Reading Mental Examinations In An Illinois Divorce

In an Illinois divorce hearing or trial evidence is usually taken by testimony. The court then weighs that testimonial evidence against other evidence presented. But, what if the testimonial evidence is wrong? Or worse, what if the testimonial evidence is a lie?

If testimonial evidence is provided in an Illinois divorce which is wrong or untrue, the other party has the opportunity to rebut that evidence via impeachment.

Furthermore, if the witness is known to say untrue things, generally. That witness’s habits can be brought to the attention of the court via impeachment.

Additionally, if the witness has an inherent
Continue Reading Impeachment In An Illinois Divorce Hearing Or Trial

Divorces are highly emotional. People are breaking their sworn bond with their spouse. So, firing a divorce lawyer is no big deal when you’re in the process of firing your spouse through a divorce.

You entered into a contract with that divorce lawyer and while you have fired your divorce lawyer, you may still have obligations under that contract. Specifically, you probably owe your divorce lawyer some money.

Illinois divorce law has provided your divorce lawyer with the capacity to collect what is owed to him or her through the divorce court directly or the collections courts. After firing,
Continue Reading Can An Illinois Divorce Lawyer Hold The Client’s File From Them?

As of the writing of this article, we are currently a year and a half into the COVID-19 crisis. Courts across the nation have been conducting status calls, hearings and trials via Zoom or other software that allows for remote communication.

I personally, have found Zoom to be breakthrough for litigation. I can represent people in multiple counties and states…all within the space of the same hour. I no longer have to bill for travel or even the time it took to take two different elevators to run between courtrooms at the Daley Center.

Illinois courts can and
Continue Reading Can You Do A Hearing Or Trial Via Zoom In An Illinois Divorce?

As of the writing of this article, people don’t physically go to court per many local court rules due to COVID. Still, parties to an Illinois divorce must appear sometimes in court to either say something before the court or hear what the court has to say.

When Do I Have To Appear In Court During An Illinois Divorce?

Attendance in an Illinois court is only mandatory if a Notice To Appear subpoena has been issued or a previous order requests the presence of a party at the next court date.

“Any witness shall respond to any lawful
Continue Reading What Happens If I Don’t Go To Court In My Illinois Divorce Case?

While everyone knows, more or less, how a trial works, a deposition is a little baffling. An attorney can ask anyone they like to appear at a date and time certain to be questioned about matters which will be revealed…on the deposition date.

Furthermore, the rules of evidence are completely different during a deposition. The many objections that you hope you have memorized do not apply during a deposition…but some do.

The questions in a deposition are not submitted in advance to the deponent. The questions will be a complete surprise.

With so little known in advance of a deposition,
Continue Reading Objections At A Deposition During an Illinois Divorce

People come to see me about divorce and sometimes wonder if they need a divorce or if they can still work on their marriage. I always advise people “Try to work it out. There’s always hope.”

In my opinion, the only time divorce is truly inevitable is when one party has a personality disorder or an addiction.

When a party does have a personality disorder or an addiction, that issue often becomes central to the entire divorce case. In the hopes of treating the issues of mental health and addition humanely and effectively, Illinois law does not allow for the
Continue Reading Disclosure Of Mental Health, Drug and Alcohol Abuse In An Illinois Divorce

When a couple owns real estate together and gets divorced one of three things will happen to that house.

  • One party will keep the real estate and the other party will receive other marital assets have an equivalent value of their share of the house.
  • One party will be awarded the real estate and then refinance the real estate to withdraw cash equivalent to the marital share of equity the other party had interest in. The cash will then be transferred to the party who does not keep the real estate.
  • Under both of scenarios, nothing will be owed to
    Continue Reading 1031 Exchanges And Divorce In Illinois

    When your personal life is been turned upside down from a divorce, it is especially difficult to learn the nomenclature of the Illinois court system.  The legal world is ripe with words that seem to only apply within the confines of a court case: subpoena, judgment, affidavit, etc.

    Your signature will be required many times throughout your divorce. Usually, your signature is necessary to verify facts that help your case. In an Illinois divorce, the verification of facts is usually done via an affidavit.

    “An affidavit is a written declaration under oath sworn to before a person with
    Continue Reading What Is An Affidavit In An Illinois Divorce?

    An Illinois divorce court has enormous powers…so long as the court can enforce those powers. It is very difficult to enforce an Illinois court order when one of the parties has left Illinois or the United States of America. What happens when a spouse leaves or threatens to leave Illinois or the United States of America? Can an Illinois court keep them in Illinois? What happens if a spouse disappears?

    Ne Exeat Or Forbidding A Spouse From Leaving The State or Country

    If a spouse is threatening to move to another place or country to avoid dealing with their pending
    Continue Reading What If My Spouse Disappears During Our Illinois Divorce?

    When two parties to an Illinois divorce cannot agree on an issue, they turn to an Illinois divorce judge to make the decision for them. That decision by the court is an “order.”

    After every appearance in court, the judge will direct one or both parties to prepare an order reflecting the judge’s findings, rulings, subsequent future dates and what is to happen on those future dates.

    “When the court rules upon a motion other than in the course of trial, the attorney for the prevailing party shall prepare and present to the court the order or judgment to be
    Continue Reading What Is An Order In An Illinois Divorce?

    If your divorce requires an evidentiary hearing or trial you may need testimony from someone who is not on your side. You may need a witness who is your spouse, your spouse’s relatives, your spouse’s boyfriend/girlfriend or just some jerk to testify in your divorce hearing or trial.

    It doesn’t matter what the person thinks of you, if you subpoena them to testify at your hearing or trial, they have to attend.

    “Any witness shall respond to any lawful subpoena of which he or she has actual knowledge.” Ill. Sup. Ct. R. 237

    Once your unwilling witness is on
    Continue Reading Hostile Witnesses In An Illinois Divorce Hearing Or Trial