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Posted on in Divorce

b2ap3_thumbnail_divorcing-couple_640.jpgWhen you are deeply in love with your spouse, it can be nearly impossible to imagine that your spouse would ever do anything to hurt you, let alone cheat on you. To be fair, episodes of infidelity are rarely the result of a person intentionally looking to cause pain for their spouse or committed romantic partner. In many cases, in fact, unfaithfulness is often the manifestation of much deeper problems in the relationship, including a lack of communication, feelings of isolation, and discontent with one another. Infidelity, however, may be the last straw that leads the offended spouse to file for divorce, often with the expectation that such behavior may afford him or her additional considerations in the divorce process.

Limited Legal Impact

It is completely understandable that a spouse whose partner is guilty of infidelity would feel betrayed and angry and would wish to hold the cheating party accountable for his or her behavior. If you ever found yourself in that type of situation, it would only seem fair for your spouse to be responsible for breaking up your marriage in that way. Unless you and your spouse negotiated an infidelity clause in a valid prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, however, you are most likely going to be out of luck, at least as far the law is concerned.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_lady-crying_600x400.jpgDespite countless public education campaigns and social efforts, domestic violence and abuse continue to plague millions of families around the country, including many right here in Illinois. Public awareness of the problem offers little consolation to a victim who is currently being terrorized in his or her own home or place of employment. That is why, in addition to taking steps to eliminating domestic abuse, it is so important to understand what your options are if and when you are being abused by an intimate partner or family member.

Get to a Safe Place

If domestic violence is part of your daily reality, you need to take action to protect yourself and, if applicable, your children. Depending on the circumstances of your situation, your best option may be to temporarily leave your home and to stay with a trusted friend or family member. Resist the temptation to let your abuser know where you have gone, even if the abuser is your child’s other parent. Your safety and that of your child must be your top priority.

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Posted on in Divorce

b2ap3_thumbnail_Divorce-decree2_640.jpgRelationships can break down for any number of reasons. Some couples simply grow apart over time, with each spouse becoming less and less interested in the other. In other situations, the situation may be more dramatic. Cheating, mental or physical abuse, abandonment, and substance abuse can all lead to an explosive end to the relationship. For many years, such behavior could be cited as the official reason for a divorce in Illinois, effectively assigning fault to one spouse. Recent changes to the law, however, have changed the way that divorce is handled throughout the state.

No More Fault Grounds

In January of 2016, a series of sweeping changes to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act were enacted.  No longer will divorce applicants need to cite a reason why their marriage is dissolving.  Prior to the law changes, there were about a dozen fault-based reasons that could be used as the basis for the divorce, including:

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b2ap3_thumbnail_gray-divorce_600x400.pngWhile every divorce is different, those that occur later in life come with some especially unique challenges. Interestingly enough, these types of divorces are also becoming more common. If you are nearing your retirement and are thinking about or planning to divorce, the following information can help you learn how to protect yourself, and your financial future, in a “grey divorce.”

Later-Life Divorces Rates on the Rise

Among the younger generations, divorce rates have been steadily declining since the 1980s. Yet, among those nearing retirement age, the rate of divorce has more than doubled over the past two-and-a-half decades. Why is this happening? There are a lot of theories.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_real-estate-lawyer_640.jpgWhen couples divorce, there are often many closely intertwined assets to sort through and divide. However, few items manage to outweigh the emotional attachment that a couple may have to their marital home. Sadly, it is this very same attachment that can make it difficult to make a decision that satisfies both parties. If you are filing for an Illinois divorce and are concerned about your home, the following information may help. 

Keep It or Sell It?

Before a couple can truly decide what will happen to the marital home, they must first determine if either party can reasonably maintain it. This consideration should include more than just the mortgage and insurance costs. Monthly maintenance, cleaning duties, and possible repairs should also be factored into the equation. If it turns out that neither you nor your spouse have the time, resources, or energy to keep up, it may be best to go ahead and sell it and distribute the proceeds accordingly. While it might be difficult to come to terms with this decision, try to frame it in a positive light. For example, selling your larger home gives you the chance to cut down on your bills and responsibilities, giving you more freedom in your new life. Who knows? Selling your home could be just the fresh, new start that you need.

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Posted on in Child Custody

b2ap3_thumbnail_child-support2_640.jpgAfter a divorce, it is not uncommon for people to want to relocate, to leave bad memories behind and hopefully make new ones. However, many do not realize that they cannot simply pick up and move, especially if they have children. In Illinois, there are laws that must be complied with before a court will allow you to move too far away from the site of your marital home.

Pre-2016

Before the sweeping changes to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) that took effect in January 2016, a parent essentially could not move out of state without court permission, and permission was not always forthcoming. The prevailing standard by which a court would review such requests was (and still is) the best interests of the child, and the standard list of factors did (and do) apply, such as the child's relationships in their current situation, the parent’s motives for moving, and the feasibility of visitation.

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Posted on in Divorce

b2ap3_thumbnail_after-divorce-finances_640.jpgDivorces are expensive. There is no way around it. What was once one household now becomes two, along with all of the property and bills necessary to maintain the family. There are attorneys' fees, court costs, moving-related expenses, child support payments, and spousal maintenance payments. Needless to say, your financial future can take quite a hit once your Illinois divorce is resolved. Additionally, if your divorce becomes contested and complicated, this financial drain can go on for a significant period of time.

Pitfalls of "Do-It-Yourself" Divorce

Some individuals believe that the ultimate way to save money on divorce is to do it themselves. With multiple low-cost form services and online advice sites out there, it is tempting to forgo an attorney's retainer and simply take matters into your own hands. The problem is, many people end up paying even more in attorneys' fees in the future to fix a legal nightmare that has occurred.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_child-custody3_640.jpgIf you are planning on filing for divorce and have children in common with your spouse, there are certain legal requirements that you must meet as parents. One of the most complex and difficult to navigate is the creation of your parenting time schedule. This document, which must adhere to certain guidelines, will determine where your child lives and when. It sounds easy, but many parents find themselves overwhelmed, confused, and stressed while trying to balance the requirements with their needs, wishes, and best interests of their child. Start off in the right direction with the following information.

Parenting Time and Parenting Time Schedules

At its simplest definition, a parenting time schedule is a mutual agreement between both parties that outlines the duration and frequency of each parent’s physical time with their child. During that time, they are the caregiver who will meet their child’s physical, emotional, mental, and medical needs. They will make any and all non-significant decisions and be allowed to bond with their child without interference from the other parent. This also essentially means that the “visiting parent” will actively and fully meet their responsibility by showing up on time for pick-ups and drop-offs, including those that may be scheduled to occur at school or while at an extracurricular activity.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_divorce5_623.jpgFinancial infidelity in marriage is more common than most realize. In divorce, it is even more likely, and it can be devastating to the spouse left in the dark. In extreme cases, financial infidelity can lead to serious credit problems or divorce-induced poverty after the marriage has dissolved. If you suspect that you are the victim of financial infidelity during your divorce, know how to protect yourself. Learn how to spot asset hiding, and how you can effectively prevent it from damaging your financial future.

How Common is Asset Hiding?

According to a study from CreditCards.com, at least one in five married Americans admitted to spending $500 or more on a purchase without ever telling their spouse. However, the problem goes much deeper. Around 7.2 million individuals admitted to hiding a hidden bank account or credit card (4.4 million were men and 2.8 million were women) from their spouse or significant other. Keep in mind, these studies were done on unmarried couples, not those who were going through a divorce. If it had considered married couples, the numbers might be even higher since, in divorce, assets must be equitably divided among both parties.

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Posted on in Divorce

b2ap3_thumbnail_divorce-words1_640.jpgIn nearly every divorce consultation we conduct, our client asks us this question - how long will my divorce take? And if our client does not ask, we generally supply them with the answer anyway because odds are they forgot to ask it in the flurry of other information we were exchanging and discussing during our consultation.

And our answer is almost always the same: the divorce process lasts as long as two spouses make it last. The start and the end of a divorce case are generally the same: you start by filing, and end with either a settlement or a trial - but the middle - the middle is whatever you make of it, and whatever the other sides chooses to make of it.

Can we settle with a quick divorce?

The divorce process can be quick, if the parties swiftly agree upon settlement terms that ultimately both parties' counsel advise them are acceptable (it is never advisable to agree to settlement terms without having them first reviewed by your attorney); it is also important if settlement terms are reached fairly quickly that both parties are well advised of the assets and debts and are comfortable making decisions about the allocation of assets and debts based on complete knowledge of what the marital estate, and each party, possesses.

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