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630-575-8585

2015 Spring Road, Oak Brook, IL 60523

Top Chicago Area Divorce Lawyers
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Burr Ridge divorce attorney child support

Child support is an important source of financial support for divorced and unmarried parents. It can also be significant financial responsibility on the part of the paying parent or “obligor.” If you have a high income and are planning to divorce, you may have questions about how your financial status may affect your child support order. Illinois uses the “Income Shares” model to determine child support. The amount an obligor pays in child support is mostly based on the discrepancy between the two parents’ net incomes, but other factors may also play a role in child support calculations.  

Statutory Guidelines for Child Support Payments

Considerable modifications and updates to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) went into effect in 2017. Child support payments in Illinois used to be based solely on the obligor parent’s income and the number of children requiring support. Illinois now uses a child support calculation method that takes both parents’ net incomes into account. The parent with the majority of parenting time, previously called the custodial parent, receives child support while the parent with less parenting time is the payor. Child support payment amounts based on statutory guidelines are determined by the following main steps:

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Oak Brook divorce attorney dissipation of assets

It is no secret that money is the source of countless marital arguments. Many married couples fight about finances because one of the spouses made purchases or accumulated debt without the other spouse’s knowledge. Spouses may also hide assets or income from the other spouse. If you and your spouse are considering divorce, and there has been a history of financial deception in your marriage, you should be aware of the ways that this may impact your divorce.

Almost Half of All Married Couples Admit to Hiding Debt

Most people would agree that honesty is a critical component of a healthy marriage. However, a surprising number of married spouses have admitted to being dishonest when it comes to money. Approximately 41 percent of adults admit to hiding bank accounts, spending habits, or debts from their partners. This so-called “financial infidelity” or deceitful behavior can lead to dramatic consequences, including the end of the marriage entirely.

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Oak Brook divorce lawyer parental relocation

Dividing the time you and your ex-spouse spend with your child can prove difficult after your divorce. So, the thought of spending even less time with your child can be gut-wrenching. If your child’s other parent wishes to move a significant distance away, you may worry about how this will affect your parenting time arrangement. You may wonder if there is anything you can do to ensure that you will still get adequate time with your son or daughter or if you can prevent the relocation entirely. An experienced attorney can explain the laws regarding parental relocation and how it applies to your situation. 

Defining “Relocation” With Regard to Illinois Law

One of the updates to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) that went into effect in 2016 specifically addressed the rules regarding parental relocations. Special rules apply when a parent with the majority of the parenting time or equal parenting time relocates to a location that is:

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Cook County divorce attorney

When a couple decides to divorce, issues such as the division of marital assets and debts and the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time must be resolved. Some couples are able to reach a settlement agreement about the terms of their divorce through negotiations or alternative resolution methods such as mediation and collaborative divorce. Others, however, cannot reach a solution that both spouses agree to. If a divorcing couple cannot reach an agreement about one or more of the relevant divorce issues, the case may go to trial.

The Fact Gathering Phase

The “discovery” phase occurs prior to the divorce trial. During discovery, each party and his or her respective attorney will gather information about the unresolved divorce issues. Several methods may be used to gather financial data and other relevant information, including:

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Oak Brook divorce attorney hidden assets

When we hear the word “addiction,” most of us assume the addiction is a substance abuse problem. However, many people suffer from addictions that are not related to drugs and alcohol in any way. A shopping addiction, also called compulsive shopping or compulsive buying, can be a major problem that has significant implications on a person’s life as well as the lives of family members. If your spouse is a compulsive shopper or simply spends too much money on unneeded items, you may have concerns about how this excessive spending will influence your divorce.

Protecting Your Financial Future

Most individuals with a shopping addiction are not simply greedy or consumeristic. Many use shopping as a means of coping with low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, or other personal struggles. Although their excessive spending may not be malicious, it can have devastating effects on a couple’s finances. If you are planning to divorce your spouse and he or she has a problem with overspending, there are several steps that may help you protect your financial future:

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Western Springs divorce attorney

The term “self-care” refers to actions a person takes to protect their own physical, emotional, and psychological well-being. Although everyone should be practicing good self-care, prioritizing your health during divorce is crucial. Divorce ranks as the second-most stressful life event according to the research conducted by psychiatrists Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe. Fortunately, there are many actions that you can take to reduce your stress and improve your ability to cope during and after your Illinois divorce.

Coping with Divorce By Recognizing and Prioritizing Your Needs

If you are like many adults, you probably put other people’s needs far above your own. The needs of your children, your aging parents, or even your boss may leave you with little time and energy to focus on your own well-being. However, taking time to care for yourself during your divorce can do wonders for your mental and physical health. Some of the ways you can practice self-care during divorce include:

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Posted on in Divorce

DuPage County divorce attorney spousal maintenance

The wish to share your life with a romantic partner is human nature. After you decide to file for divorce, you may be eager to find a boyfriend or girlfriend who can become the loving partner you wished your soon-to-be ex-spouse would have been. You may have even decided to end your marriage because you met someone else. While the desire to date before a divorce is finalized is understandable, dating during divorce can negatively impact the outcome of your divorce in several different ways.

Legal Implications of Dating During Divorce

You may be shocked to learn that adultery is technically a misdemeanor criminal offense in Illinois. Of course, it is almost never prosecuted and the chances of a person being convicted of adultery are nearly zero. However, dating before the completion of your divorce can have significant civil consequences.

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DuPage County contested divorce attorney

There are two types of divorce cases in Illinois: contested and uncontested. If you and your spouse cannot agree about the terms of your divorce, your divorce is contested. You and your soon-to-be ex-spouse may be able to reach an agreement about divorce issues through negotiation, mediation, or collaborative law. If you cannot reach a settlement outside of court, your case will go to trial. Although divorce can vary from case to case, there are several basic steps involved in the contested divorce process in Illinois.

What to Expect During the Contested Divorce Process

Reaching an agreement about asset and debt division, the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time, child support, and spousal maintenance is not always easy. This is especially true in complex divorce cases such as those involving high income or hard-to-value assets. If you know that you and your spouse will struggle to reach an agreement about one or more divorce issues, your divorce will likely involve the following steps:

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Western Spring divorce attorney spousal maintenance

Leaving the workforce to become a full-time mother or father can be a huge advantage to your children as well as a risky career move. When you first decided to stay home with your children, you probably made the choice because it was in your children’s best interests. You placed your own professional goals on hold for the betterment of your family and trusted that your spouse’s income would sustain you. Now that you are facing the end of your marriage, you may have major concerns about the financial consequences brought on by the impending divorce. Fortunately, Illinois law provides several options that may help mitigate the negative financial effects of divorce for homemakers and stay-at-home mothers and fathers.

Non-Financial Contributions Are Considered 

Spousal maintenance refers to payments that the spouse with a higher income makes to the spouse with the lower income after divorce. If you and your spouse have already reached an agreement about maintenance through a valid prenuptial agreement, the court will likely uphold this agreement. If you do not have a marital agreement addressing maintenance, you have the right to petition the court for spousal maintenance. When deciding whether or not to award maintenance or alimony to a spouse, Illinois courts consider each spouse’s income and property, in addition to his or her needs. They also take into account any impairment to a spouse’s present and future earning capacity caused by child care obligations. The amount and duration of spousal maintenance is usually determined by statutory formula. If the combined yearly income of the spouses is greater than $500,000, the courts may deviate from the statutory formulas.

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Burr Ridge divorce attorney asset divisionResearch shows that approximately 60 percent of married individuals have committed some form of infidelity during their marriage. Marital infidelity may range from brief emotional affairs to long-term extramarital relationships. While some married couples can overcome an affair and rebuild a trusting relationship, others cannot and choose to divorce. If you have decided to end your marriage and infidelity played a role in the decision, you probably have questions about how the cheating will impact your divorce. Affairs can lead to legal implications as well as emotional complications during the divorce process.

Grounds for Divorce in Illinois

The spouse initiating a divorce is called the petitioner according to Illinois law. He or she petitions the court to grant the divorce. Traditionally, a spouse would need a valid reason or “grounds” for requesting the divorce. These grounds included impotence, abandonment, severe alcohol or drug abuse, mental cruelty, adultery, and other issues that led to the destruction of the marriage relationship. In 2016, Illinois eliminated all fault-based grounds. It is now a “pure no-fault” state and the only ground for divorce is “irreconcilable differences.” Although adultery is no longer a legal reason for divorce, there are still several ways that infidelity may influence the outcome of your divorce.

Dissipation of Assets

Illinois law defines the “dissipation of assets” as the use of marital funds for a purpose that does not benefit the marriage during a time when the marriage is experiencing an “irretrievable breakdown.” One common example of dissipation occurs when a spouse spends a great deal of money on an affair partner. If a divorcing spouse buys expensive gifts for his boyfriend or girlfriend or takes an affair partner on a luxurious vacation, the other spouse may have a valid dissipation claim. If the innocent spouse and his or her lawyer can prove that the other spouse dissipated assets, the innocent spouse may be entitled to a proportionally larger share of the marital assets during property division.

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Burr Ridge divorce attorney spousal maintenance

Spousal maintenance, also called spousal support or alimony, can be a valuable source of financial support following a divorce. However, the order for spousal maintenance may become inappropriate if either party’s financial circumstances change dramatically. If you are currently paying spousal support to your ex-spouse or you are the recipient of maintenance payments, you may have questions about how and when a spousal maintenance order can be changed. Illinois courts only grant spousal support modifications if certain qualifying criteria are met.  

Alimony May Be Modified if There is a Substantial Change in Circumstances  

A spousal maintenance obligation typically terminates if the party receiving maintenance remarries or if either party passes away. If the receiving party is cohabitating with a romantic partner in a marriage-like relationship, the paying party may petition the court to have his or her maintenance obligation terminated. Illinois courts may modify the amount or duration of spousal maintenance if there is a “substantial change in circumstances.” When determining whether or not to grant a spousal maintenance modification, courts will consider factors such as:

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Oak Brook family law attorney prenuptial agreement

When people get divorced, they may fear that they will never find love again. If you have met someone special after your divorce and intend to get remarried, you are probably excited to make this important commitment to your new partner. However, you may also worry about the possibility of your second marriage ending in divorce. A prenuptial agreement is a legally enforceable contract that protects a spouse’s rights in the event of divorce or death and helps an engaged couple ensure that they are on the same page before tying the knot. An experienced family law attorney can help you draft this legally binding document. 

Advantages of Signing a Prenup Before Your Second Marriage

Prenuptial agreements or “prenups” are often misunderstood. Signing a prenup does not mean that you think your marriage will fail. However, prenuptial agreements do provide a multitude of benefits if a couple does eventually decide to divorce. During the creation of a prenuptial agreement, a couple decides how they want to handle issues related to property or asset division, spousal maintenance, life insurance policies, retirement funds, and estate planning upon divorce or the death of a spouse. Many engaged couples find that creating a prenuptial agreement allows them to discuss money-related issues openly and honestly. Research shows that financial disagreements are the number-one predictor of divorce in the United States. By discussing concerns related to property and debt before getting married, you and your soon-to-be spouse set yourselves up for a happy, successful marriage.  

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Burr Ridge high-conflict divorce attorney

Marriages end for countless reasons. Some spouses simply grow apart while others experience a major breach in trust that brings the relationship to a screeching halt. If an issue such as infidelity has led to the breakdown of your marriage, there may be a great deal of tension and resentment between you and your spouse. If you are a parent, you are probably worried about how this tension will affect your children. Fortunately, there is considerable research about the effects of high-conflict divorce on children and the steps that parents can take to reduce their children’s stress during this tumultuous experience.

Avoid Arguing With Your Spouse or Discussing Legal Matters in Front of Your Kids  

Numerous studies have demonstrated the harmful effects of parental conflict on children. Although many parents in miserable marriages stay married for their children’s sake, research shows that many children feel less anxiety and depression once their parents separate compared to what they did when the parents were living together. Being exposed to arguments and tension between parents can increase a child’s chances of developing mental health problems and behavioral issues. One of the best ways to help reduce your children’s stress during divorce is to avoid talking about divorce-related issues such as child support or spousal maintenance in front of the children as much as possible.

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Western Springs divorce attorney collaborative law

Collaborative divorce is a process during which divorcing spouses, their attorneys, and other relevant professionals work together to reach an agreement about unresolved divorce issues. When spouses use collaborative law to settle the terms of their divorce, they avoid stressful courtroom litigation while still benefiting from their lawyers’ legal guidance and protection. Collaborative divorce may be right for you if you and your spouse do not see eye to eye regarding the terms of your divorce but you are willing to negotiate these issues amicably and cooperatively. The collaborative law process may help you and your spouse reach an agreement about the division of marital assets, child custody, spousal maintenance, and more.

What Happens During a Collaborative Law Divorce?

If you choose to use collaborative law to settle your divorce, you and your spouse will each hire your own attorney. Before you meet as a group, you and your lawyer will meet to discuss what you would like to achieve in the settlement as well as any concerns you may have. Next, the spouses and their respective lawyers will sign a “Participation Agreement” in which they agree to freely exchange information, negotiate in good faith, and cooperate in the collaborative divorce process. The spouses and attorneys will then hold a series of meetings aimed at reaching a resolution. Other professionals such as financial advisors, accountants, and child specialists may also participate in the collaborative divorce process.

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Western Springs divorce attorney business valuation

Illinois is an equitable distribution state when it comes to the division of assets in a divorce. This means that marital assets are divided fairly, but not necessarily equally, based on the spouse’s financial circumstances, employability, health, and more. Whether a couple is determining their own asset and property division arrangement or the court is issuing a property division judgment, a complete and accurate inventory of the couple's assets must be taken. If a spouse owns complex assets such as a business, the value of those assets must be determined before the property can be equitably distributed.

A Forensic Accountant Is Often Necessary

If you and your spouse agree to do so, you have the option to figure out the business’s value on your own. However, most people do not have the skills needed to accurately value a business. Mistakes made during the valuation of your business can lead to arguments between you and your spouse, an unfair divorce settlement, and unnecessary headaches during an already stressful time. Hiring a business valuator may be the best way to ensure that the estimated value of your business is as accurate as possible. If a more in-depth analysis of the business’s finances is necessary, you may want to hire a forensic accountant. A forensic accountant has special investigative and auditing skills, which he or she can use to thoroughly examine the business. The forensic accountant, if he or she is not also qualified to conduct business valuations, will provide vital information to the valuation professional. If you suspect that your spouse may be lying about business revenue or assets, a forensic accountant is essential to make sure you receive your fair share of the marital estate.

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Oak Brook divorce attorney division of assets

You may be surprised to learn that the divorce rate for adults over 50 has more than doubled in the last several decades. Called “gray divorce,” divorce involving older adults often presents unique challenges. One of these challenges involves the division of retirement funds. If you have been out of the workforce for many years, you may be worried about making ends meet without your spouse’s retirement benefits. If you were the main income earner during the marriage, you may have concerns about how much of your hard-earned retirement funds will be awarded to your spouse. Read on to learn about how retirement accounts are divided in an Illinois divorce and how you can obtain the legal support that you need.

Marital Assets Versus Non-Marital Assets

Only marital assets are divided in an Illinois divorce. Non-marital assets, including assets acquired by the spouses before getting married, are not divided. Before a retirement account can be divided, a determination must be made about the account’s identity. Retirement accounts are different from other types of assets because they can be classified as both marital and non-marital. Typically, the portion of the retirement account that a spouse earned before getting married is considered non-marital. The non-marital portion of the account is assigned to the original owner. However, the portion of the retirement account that was earned while the spouses were married is part of the marital estate and therefore subject to division.

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Cook County family law attorney

Every parent should understand his or her parental rights under Illinois law. If you are a father or soon will be and you are unmarried, taking action to protect your parental rights is essential. When a married couple has a child, the husband of the woman who gave birth is automatically presumed to be the biological and legal parent of the child. However, if you are unmarried at the time of your child’s birth, you will need to take certain steps to establish yourself as the child’s legal parent. This is crucial in protecting your parental rights, including your right to enjoy parenting time with your child.

Establishing Paternity in Illinois

The first step you need to take to protect your rights as a father in Illinois is to establish your legal parent-child relationship. Establishing paternity provides a number of benefits to both the child and the parents. Unless there is a reasonable concern that spending time with the father would put the child’s well-being in danger, a father who has established paternity has a legal right to parenting time. Once you have established paternity, you will be able to put your name on your child’s birth certificate. Additionally, your child will gain access to your health insurance, Social Security benefits, veteran’s benefits, and pension benefits if applicable. Establishing paternity also allows the custodial parent, meaning the parent with the majority of the parental responsibilities, to collect child support payments.

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Burr Ridge prenuptial agreement attorney

When a married couple decides to divorce, one of the most pressing concerns often involves the family home. If you are a homeowner and you are considering divorce, you may wonder what Illinois law says about who gets to continue living in the family home and who must find another place to live during the divorce proceedings. As with most family law concerns, the answers to these questions will vary dramatically depending on the circumstances of the case. However, there are some situations in which a spouse may be ordered to vacate the family home.

Negotiating an Agreement With Your Spouse

The divorce process can last months or possibly years depending on the circumstances. If you are like most divorcing spouses, you probably do not want to continue living in the same home as your soon-to-be ex-spouse during the divorce proceedings. In this situation, the easiest solution is for you and your spouse to negotiate an agreement regarding who will stay in the family home during the divorce process and who will move out. You will also need to decide how to pay for the new accommodations. In some cases, these issues may have been resolved ahead of time through a prenuptial agreement or a postnuptial agreement

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Hinsdale spousal support attorney for divorce over 50

You may be surprised to learn that although the overall divorce rate is declining in the United States, divorce among spouses over age 50 has dramatically increased. Research shows that the rate at which older adults get divorced in this country has doubled since the 1990s. This may be due to increasing life spans, a reduction in the stigma associated with divorce, or simply because older adults want to enjoy their retirement years on their own terms. Whatever the reason, if you are over age 50 and considering a so-called “gray divorce,” you should know that it may involve unique challenges and obstacles. It is very possible that either you or your spouse will be entitled to spousal support payments. For help with maintenance-related concerns and much more, speak with an experienced family law attorney.

Spousal Maintenance in Illinois

Spousal maintenance, also known as spousal support or alimony, refers to financial payments that a higher-earning spouse makes to the lesser-earning spouse after divorce. While it is not appropriate in every situation, it may be necessary in a gray divorce, especially if one spouse has been out of the workforce for many years and would struggle to support themselves without assistance from their former partner. 

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Hinsdale property division attorney

The division of assets is often one of the most complex aspects of a divorce case. Whether spouses negotiate their own property division agreement, or the court makes a decision on their behalf, a fair asset division arrangement can only be reached when both spouses are honest and forthcoming about their finances. However, spouses are not always as truthful as they should be. Some divorcing spouses may attempt to influence property distribution during divorce by withholding or falsifying information. If you are getting divorced, and you are worried that your spouse may lie about financial information in an attempt to avoid sharing these assets, an experienced divorce attorney can help you uncover this type of deception.

Start Preparing Now by Copying Financial Documents

You may be in the very beginning stages of the divorce process. Perhaps you have not yet even filed for divorce. However, it is never too soon to start preparing. One of the best things you can do to protect your right to a fair division of property is to educate yourself about your financial situation. Read over important financial documents so that you can have a full understanding of the assets that you and your spouse own. These documents will provide valuable insight into your family's finances, and they may also be crucial pieces of evidence in the event that your spouse attempts to conceal assets from you. It is important to make copies of:

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Botti Marinaccio, LTD.

630-575-8585

2015 Spring Road, Oak Brook, IL 60523

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