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Top Chicago Area Divorce Lawyers
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Western Spring divorce attorney child support

Divorce brings about a number of financial implications. If you are a parent planning to divorce, one of the most pressing financial concerns you may be facing is your child’s college education. Public and private university tuition has skyrocketed in the last several decades. While you were married, you probably assumed that you and your spouse would finance your child’s college education together. Now that your Illinois marriage is ending, you may be unsure of how to deal with college-related costs for your son or daughter.

Child Support May Extend into College Years

When most people think about child support, they assume that a recipient parent is only entitled to support while the child is still a minor. However, an Illinois child support obligation may extend past the child’s 18th birthday if he or she is still in school. Illinois law gives courts the authority to allocate college-related expenses to unmarried or divorced parents. These expenses typically include tuition, textbook rental, course fees, housing, and healthcare. In many cases, a divorced couple’s marital settlement agreement addresses how college expenses should be handled.

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DuPage County divorce attorney asset division

Finances have a tremendous impact on divorce. Without accurate, up-to-date financial information, it is impossible to negotiate a fair divorce settlement. This is why each spouse is required to complete a financial affidavit during the first stages of the Illinois divorce process. Unfortunately, not every spouse is truthful when filling out the affidavit. Spouses may lie about their income, assets, debts, and expenses in order to sway the divorce settlement in their own favor. Doing this is not only unethical, it is also unlawful. An experienced divorce attorney can help protect your rights to marital assets.

Hiding Assets By Transferring Funds

One of the easiest ways to hide money during a divorce is to simply move the funds into a bank account that the other spouse is not aware of. A spouse who wants to artificially lower his or her net worth may transfer money from joint accounts into separate accounts. He or she may even transfer assets to a friend or relative with the understanding that the loan is temporary and that the money will be returned after the divorce. Another way spouses may try to transfer money under the radar is by getting cash back on everyday purchases like groceries. Doing this once or twice will not make a major impact, but over time, thousands of dollars may be transferred into cash this way.

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DuPage County divorce attorney

Divorce is already difficult enough. Adding the stress of being in the public eye can make the divorce process even more daunting. If you or your spouse is well-known or you simply value your privacy, you may have concerns about confidentiality during a divorce. One legal tool for protecting your privacy during your Illinois divorce is a confidentiality agreement. A confidentiality agreement or non-disclosure agreement is a legal contract that prohibits parties from sharing certain information. If a party breaches the contract, the non-breaching party may be entitled to damages. Confidentiality agreements are often a crucial component in protecting privacy during a high-profile divorce.

When Should A Divorcing Couple Utilize a Confidentiality Agreement?

If you are ending your marriage, you will likely be divulging financial data and other sensitive information during the divorce process. You may even participate in a psychological evaluation, medical evaluation, or home study for child custody-related purposes. Details about marital misconduct such as an affair may also come up during the divorce. If you are a business owner, you may be divulging information like business financials, practices, client information, or other proprietary information. Understandably, you may be worried about this type of information falling into the wrong hands. Information you share with your attorney is already protected under attorney-client privilege. However, any information you share with third parties such as accountants is not automatically protected. A confidentiality agreement can be used to keep confidential information from being shared with the media or other parties.

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Cook County divorce attorney parenting time

If you are a parent who is planning to divorce, you may be unsure of how you and your spouse will share parental responsibilities and parenting time. You and your soon-to-be ex-spouse may not see eye to eye about parenting roles or what is best for your child and you are worried about how this will affect your ability to share custody. Fortunately, you and your spouse have the ability to design your own custody arrangement that takes your complicated relationship into consideration. There are two main strategies when it comes to sharing parental responsibilities and parenting time: co-parenting and parallel parenting.  

Co-Parenting Involves Collaboration and Teamwork

The term co-parenting is typically used to refer to situations in which divorced or unmarried parents work together to raise their children. They may communicate about the children regularly and keep each other up to date about what happened during their parenting time. The co-parenting relationship is often complex in nature. Each parent can still have some residual anger or resentment toward the other. They may also sometimes disagree with the parenting decisions that the other parent makes. However, both parents strive to be amicable and cooperative.

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Cook County divorce lawyers“Gray divorce” or divorce at an older age is remarkably common in the United States. More and more often, couples in their 50s, 60s, and 70s are choosing to end their marriages and pursue a happier future apart. Making the decision to divorce is difficult regardless of age. However, when a couple over age 50 gets divorced, there are often additional considerations and concerns. If you are an older adult who is thinking about filing for divorce, it is important to educate yourself about the issues you may face.

Legal Considerations and Financial Issues in a Gray Divorce

Divorce involving older adults is often more complicated than divorce involving younger spouses for several reasons. One of these reasons is that older spouses typically own complex assets and assets of a higher value than younger spouses. Before you and your spouse can divide marital property during divorce, a full inventory of your assets will need to be taken. You may also need to have certain assets such as small businesses and investments professionally valued. Retirement funds are an especially crucial issue in gray divorce. Generally, both spouses have a right to any retirement funds that accumulated during the course of the marriage. However, valuing retirement assets and determining how to divide retirement accounts is often more difficult than spouses expect.

It is also very possible that you or your spouse will be entitled to spousal maintenance or alimony. Maintenance if often awarded to spouses who sacrificed career advancement and educational opportunities to perform homemaking or child caretaking services. The amount of alimony a spouse may receive in Illinois is typically determined by statutory formula and calculated based on each spouse’s net income. The duration of spousal maintenance is usually based on the length of the marriage. Divorcing spouses who were married for 20 years or more may be entitled to permanent maintenance.

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Burr Ridge divorce attorney spousal maintenance

In decades past, taking care of children, cooking, cleaning, and maintaining the marital home were largely seen as the wife’s responsibility. Today, American families come in all shapes, sizes, and varieties. Married couples have the freedom to assign responsibilities according to each spouse’s skillset. More and more often, this means that the majority of the childcare and homemaking duties falls to a husband. If you are a stay-at-home father or “house husband” who is getting divorced, you may have questions about your rights. Fortunately, Illinois law treats men the same as women with regard to spousal maintenance, property division, and other divorce issues.  

Alimony or “Spousal Maintenance” in Illinois

If you have not worked outside the home in several years, you may be concerned about the financial implications of your impending divorce. You may be dependent on your spouse’s income and hesitant to reenter the workforce. Most of the time, when a spouse has sacrificed employment opportunities for the betterment of the marriage or family, that spouse is entitled to alimony or spousal maintenance. However, if you have already signed a prenuptial agreement waiving your right to this financial support, the court will probably uphold this agreement. In the absence of a marital agreement describing a spouse’s right to maintenance, Illinois courts make maintenance determinations based on each spouse’s present and future earning capacity, the impairment to a spouse’s earning capacity caused by his or her focus on domestic duties, the duration of the marriage, and several other factors. The amount of maintenance you may be entitled to will likely be based on Illinois statutory formula. If you and your spouse’s combined income is above $500,000 per year, the court has the discretion to set aside the statutory formula when determining the amount of spousal maintenance.  

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DuPage County divorce attorney parenting plan

Several years ago, Illinois enacted considerable changes to the way child custody is allocated to divorced or unmarried parents. The terms child custody and visitation have been replaced by “parental responsibilities” and “parenting time” respectively. This change is intended to represent parenting authority as a spectrum instead of an either-or situation in which one parent is the custodial parent and the other parent only receives visitation. If you are planning to divorce, you and your spouse may design whatever type of parenting arrangement you see fit. However, if you cannot agree on a parenting plan, the court will determine a plan for you. In order to do so, the court will consider the best interests of the child.  

What Does “Best Interests” Mean?

If there is a dispute about the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time, Illinois courts use a series of factors called “best interest factors” to determine what type of parenting arrangement would be best for the child. The best interest factors the court considers when allocating decision-making authority include but are not limited to:

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Cook County divorce attorney asset division

If you are like most married people, the property you owned and the property owned by your spouse merged when you got married. According to Illinois law, only marital property, or property held by the marital estate must be split during a divorce. However, telling the difference between marital property and nonmarital property is often much more difficult than it seems. Commingled assets, or assets that contain marital property and non-marital property, can change identity, making asset division much more complex. Property that was once considered marital property may be classified as non-marital property. Likewise, property classified as nonmarital property may become marital property.  

Division of Marital Assets and Debts

One of the most consequential aspects of many divorce cases is the division of assets and debts. This is often especially true in high-income divorces. If you and your spouse do not have a prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement describing how to classify and divide assets, you have several options. You and your spouse may be able to reach an agreement about how to divide assets with help from your respective attorneys or through an alternative resolution method like mediation or collaborative law. If you cannot reach a decision outside of court, your case will go to trial and the court will make a decision about how to divide marital property.

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Cook County divorce attorney child custody

Deciding to divorce is a deeply emotional decision. If you are like many people, you may have assumed that the most difficult part of the divorce process would be the actual decision to walk away from the marriage. While the mental aspect of divorce is certainly challenging, legal and logistical concerns can often be just as difficult to navigate. If you are in a high-conflict divorce, you and your spouse may struggle to see eye-to-eye on anything. You may disagree about property division, child custody, child support, spousal maintenance, and numerous other issues. If you cannot reach a decision about the terms of your divorce, there are several things to keep in mind.

Seek Assistance from a Lawyer and Other Professionals

If you are someone who values your independence, you may be hesitant to reach out for help during your divorce. However, divorce issues are multifaceted and complex – both legally and psychologically. Getting support during a high-conflict divorce is crucial.

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Cook County divorce attorney spousal maintenance

Most people know that child support payments are used to help a divorced parent pay for child-related costs. However, fewer are aware that a similar form of support called spousal support or spousal maintenance exists. Spousal maintenance, which is commonly referred to as alimony, is financial support that a spouse pays to the other spouse during or after divorce. The amount of support that a spouse may be entitled to depends on several factors. If you are interested in pursuing spousal maintenance, an experienced divorce lawyer can help.  

Determining Spousal Maintenance in the Absence of a Marital Agreement

If you and your spouse do not have a prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement that addresses spousal maintenance, or, your agreement is considered invalid, the court will make a decision about your entitlement to maintenance. When deciding whether or not to award maintenance to a spouse, the court will consider many factors, including:

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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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Botti Marinaccio, LTD.

630-575-8585

2015 Spring Road, Oak Brook, IL 60523

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