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Residents of Illinois may own assets outside of the U.S. for many reasons. Perhaps they are a citizen of another country who lives in Illinois but owns property abroad or are a native Chicagoan with business interests in another part of the world. Regardless of why someone owns international assets, Illinois divorce law requires that these assets be considered as part of the divorce process. Asset division in a divorce is nearly always a complex and disputed process, and this is especially true when international assets are concerned. The allocation of assets located outside of the United States is influenced…
Social media use has become nearly ubiquitous in Americans’ everyday lives. We post pictures, talk to old friends, and share our thoughts, often without pausing to pay attention to the ways that social media influences our behavior.  One way social media changed the nature of marriage forever is the ease with which we can now connect with people outside of in-person interactions. Unfortunately, some studies have indicated that social media usage has contributed to marital unhappiness and made it easier to have undetected extramarital affairs. On a state level, the divorce rate goes up with increased social media usage.  Can…
When a couple is heading for divorce, both partners are typically aware that someone will need to file divorce papers with the Illinois county’s Clerk of the Circuit Court. Only one divorce case may be filed for a couple at a time, so it is natural to wonder whether there are any advantages to filing for divorce first.  Because Illinois is a state that only allows for no-fault divorce, you do not have to prove that your spouse did anything wrong. You must simply attest to having irreconcilable differences, and that there is no chance of the marriage succeeding.…
Grandparents are frequently overlooked in the divorce process, but conflicts between a child’s parents and changes to a child’s schedule can seriously impact the quality of the relationship between grandparents and their grandchild. Prior to divorce or separation, grandparents are often deeply involved in their grandchild’s life, and a sudden separation from a grandparent may cause harm to a grandchild’s emotional and mental health.  Unlike parents, grandparents are not automatically presumed to have the right to visitation or parenting time with their grandchild. If one parent has full custody rights, formally known as parental responsibilities, they may prevent the…
Although caring for a child after divorce may seem like common sense, there can be genuine questions about what the responsibilities of a custodial parent are. Fortunately, Illinois law provides very specific areas in which caregivers are responsible for children. This makes it easy for spouses or judges to recognize areas in which a custodial parent may be failing to meet a child’s needs, and sets the standard for what a child is legally able to expect from a parent. While the term “child custody” is no longer used in Illinois law, the parent with the majority of parental responsibilities…
Prenuptial agreements are an important part of marriage for many people. As single individuals look ahead and consider the possibility that their marriage will not last forever, they should create a prenuptial agreement that protects their property and personal interests in the event that a divorce takes place.  Careful planning is a crucial part of drafting a prenuptial agreement; divorce proceedings are the worst possible time to discover that your prenuptial agreement is unenforceable. However, with cautious preparation and the aid of an attorney skilled in prenuptial agreements, you can avoid errors and protect your property rights in the…
During a divorce, many things change, and others are uncertain. Because many people are insured through their spouse’s plan, they may worry about what will happen to their insurance coverage during the divorce process and after the divorce is finalized. There are several options for getting insured during or after a divorce. You should anticipate the change in insurance and keep in mind that getting new insurance can take several weeks to process and begin. Allowing your insurance to lapse can cause additional complications such as large, unexpected medical bills, so plan ahead and be prepared.  Here are a few…
The division of financial assets in a divorce is complicated and often unpleasant. It can be frustrating to see the results of your hard work split between you and your spouse, especially when the divorce is hostile. This is particularly true when a divorce triggers the division of high net worth financial assets, like bonuses and stock options. In this post, we’ll look at some of the most common financial assets above and beyond salary or hourly wages and how they might be divided in an Illinois divorce.  Bonuses If you received a bonus before you filed for divorce, it…
Following a 2016 change in Illinois law, couples who are seeking a divorce in Illinois no longer need to have a waiting period before finalizing their divorce. However, a waiting period of at least six months is only waived if both parties agree that there are irreconcilable differences and neither party objects to the divorce.  If spouses cannot agree that there are irreconcilable differences, or if one spouse objects to the other spouse petitioning for divorce, they must follow a law that requires them to live separate and apart for six months or longer before the divorce can take place.…
 For most people, gambling is a fun pastime that takes up very little time and money. Some people, however, will gamble away years of income, sometimes even going into debt to support a gambling habit. If the gambling partner cannot stop this behavior and drives their family into debt, the other partner may seek divorce.  When a spouse seeks divorce because gambling is an issue, the couple will still file using “irreconcilable differences” as grounds for divorce. But there are special actions a spouse filing for divorce can take to ensure that the couple’s shared assets are not entirely…
Divorce and legal separation are both processes married couples can use in Illinois to bring their relationship to an end. While they share some similarities, they are not the same and have very different outcomes. The fundamental difference between the two is that divorce legally ends the marriage, but legal separation does not. While you can pursue divorce and legal separation on your own, hiring an experienced lawyer can help streamline the process and avoid costly legal mistakes.  Divorce Divorce is a final, legally binding order that completely ends a marriage. Under Illinois law, in a divorce, all assets must be…
You’re about to separate from your spouse – you might even have gone through the preliminary steps – and it’s natural to want to look out for your own interests, especially if you anticipate the divorce getting hostile. But spending, hiding, or not declaring money, assets, and even smaller items like jewelry, precious metals, and bonds, can backfire and make a divorce longer and more hostile. Even reckless spending of money on gambling, fancy toys, or a new partner can be a huge mistake and may even count as dissipation. What is Dissipation? According to the Illinois Supreme Court, dissipation…
In Illinois, marital property is broadly defined to include nearly all assets acquired by one or both spouses during their marriage. When a marriage ends in divorce, these assets must be considered in the equitable division of property. With this in mind, retirement accounts with contributions made during your marriage will almost certainly be a factor in your divorce, and this can be especially complicated if you are divorcing later in life after a marriage of many years. Understanding how retirement accounts are treated in an Illinois divorce can help you protect your financial security throughout the rest of…
In any divorce case that involves children, child custody issues are some of the most contentious. No parent wants to face the possibility of not being able to spend as much time with their children as they would like to. In some cases, parents may even fight for more parenting time just to spite their spouse. Unfortunately, the conflict does not always end after divorce. When that is the case, parallel parenting may be the answer. Parallel Parenting vs. Co-Parenting Co-parenting typically involves two former spouses working together to raise their children in separate homes. It often involves numerous discussions regarding child-related…
UPDATE: This post was originally published in February 2016. Since then, Illinois significantly overhauled its method for calculating a parent’s child support obligations, with the changes taking effect for new support orders issued as of July 1, 2017. Under the old model, child support was always paid by the non-custodial parent, and the amount was calculated using only that parent’s net income. Now, however, Illinois uses an income shares model that incorporates the net income of both parents in the calculation. This means that even when the mother is the primary custodial parent, she may receive less child support from…
A prenuptial agreement can be a useful tool for protecting both partners’ financial and property interests during their marriage. It can often help simplify the divorce process if the marriage fails. However, prenuptial agreements can be a sore subject for some couples, especially if one spouse has significantly greater assets and is more interested in creating the agreement than the other. If your spouse asks you to sign a prenup, there are several things you can do to ensure that the agreement is fair to you as well as your spouse. Considerations When Signing a Prenup Before you go through…