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630-575-8585

2015 Spring Road, Oak Brook, IL 60523

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IL family lawyerStatistically, about 40% of first marriages end in divorce. That jumps to around 60% for second marriages, and all the way up to 70% for second or third marriages with children. In addition to these statistics, fewer people are getting married before they have children, resulting in large numbers of blended marriages later in life. Of course, some of these marriages end in divorce.

Blended families – where both parents have children from previous relationships – face special complications during divorce. Here, we look at some of those factors affecting parents who are getting divorced for the second or third time.

Custody Arrangements

Figuring out a custody plan is complicated, especially when parents seek visitation with their step-children. If you did not adopt the children from your spouse’s previous marriage, visitation is not guaranteed.

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IL family lawWhen you feel as though your marriage is reaching its end, deciding what to do can be difficult. Is there hope for reconciliation? Do you really want something as final as a divorce? Legal separation and divorce are both processes that couples use in Illinois to end a relationship. They are similar in some ways, but they have fundamentally different outcomes: A divorce completely ends the marriage under the law, but a legal separation does not.

Legal Separation

Legal separation is different from a couple merely deciding to break up or live in different homes; legal separation involves petitioning an Illinois court with formal filing for separation. A legal separation enables couples to navigate issues like child support, visitation rights, and property division in a way that is legally binding but does not dissolve the relationship.

Legal separation also allows couples the chance to begin separate lives while still having the opportunity to reconcile. At the end of a legal separation, a couple may ultimately go forward with a divorce; but in the meantime, they have more time and space to tackle problems in the marriage, attend therapy, or do anything else before they are completely sure the relationship has irretrievably broken down.

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IL divorce lawyerIn uncontested divorces, both spouses are typically willing to hand over whatever information the other party requests or needs. However, in divorce cases that involve spouses who do not get along with one another, it is not always guaranteed that you will get all of the information that you asked for. The process of discovery is simply just the formal process of asking your spouse for their financial information and handing over any information that they request in turn.

How Can I Gather Information During the Discovery Process?

There are various things you can do during the discovery process to help gather information. Not all divorces will include all forms of discovery, but they are all available to use as legal tools for gathering information. These discovery tools include:

  • Formal requests: Generally, the discovery process begins when an attorney sends a formal request for certain financial information to the other party. This request could be for documents such as tax returns, bank statements, pay stubs, retirement account ledgers, insurance policies, and even estate planning documents.
  • Interrogatories: If your attorney utilizes interrogatories, a list of questions will be sent to your spouse for them to answer. They are required to answer these questions truthfully, under the full disclosure requirement of Illinois law. These questions typically serve the purpose of gathering evidence to support your claim for marital property and/or spousal support.
  • Admissions of fact: If your spouse is dancing around a question and will not directly answer it, an admission of fact can force them to answer. An admission of fact is similar to an interrogatory, though your spouse must answer simply “yes” or “no” depending on the question.
  • Requests for reproduction: You can ask for a request for reproduction of certain documents if they were not already handed over. For example, if you are notified that your spouse is going to call an expert witness during the trial to testify, you might want to request any and all documentation that the other party has on the witness.
  • Depositions: A deposition is a sort of interview that takes place between your attorney and your spouse. Your attorney will have a list of questions that they will ask your spouse in the presence of a court reporter. The statements taken by your spouse through a deposition are sworn statements that could result in perjury if they lie deliberately. The court reporter will transcribe the entire conversation between your attorney and your spouse.
  • Subpoenas: If your spouse is difficult and does not comply with your discovery requests, a subpoena may be warranted. Subpoenas are court orders that are often used as a last resort when a party is being particularly uncooperative and can force that person to either testify in court or produce certain documents.

Discuss Your Situation With a Burr Ridge, IL Divorce Attorney

If you and your spouse do not agree on property division issues during your divorce, you should speak with a knowledgeable DuPage County contested divorce lawyer about your case. At Botti Marinaccio, LTD, we have experience working with a variety of couples in many different situations, including contested divorces. Our team of skilled attorneys can help you fight for your best interests. To schedule a consultation, call our office today at 630-575-8585.

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IL divorce lawyerIn contested divorces, it is not uncommon to have disagreements about marital finances. In many divorces - and even marriages - finances are a point of contention because of their importance. It is also not uncommon for either spouse to become angry at the other, which can cause them to do things to attempt to sabotage the other partner. Many times, an angry soon-to-be-ex-spouse can make hasty and often irresponsible financial decisions during the divorce in an effort to prevent the other spouse from even having a chance at being able to have those assets. In Illinois, this is called “dissipation” in many circumstances. Dissipation can be frustrating to the affected spouse, but thankfully a successful dissipation claim can help make sure that your fair share of the marital assets are preserved.

What Is Considered Asset Dissipation?

Asset dissipation refers to the use of marital assets by a spouse during an “irreconcilable breakdown” of the marriage for their sole benefit. To qualify as asset dissipation, you must be able to prove that the assets were indeed used in a way that benefitted your spouse only and that your spouse wasted or destroyed those assets intentionally, as a way to prevent those assets from being included in the marital estate. Examples of asset dissipation can include using marital funds for:

  • Paying for a drug or alcohol addiction
  • Supporting a gambling issue
  • Gifting or doting upon an extramarital lover
  • Unusual or excessive purchases that are not warranted, such as purchasing a new car

Asset Dissipation Process

If you plan to claim that your spouse dissipated certain assets to prevent you from receiving the value of those assets, there are certain things that must be in place before the court accepts your claim. According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), you must notify your spouse no later than 60 days prior to the trial that you intend to claim they dissipated marital assets. In that notice, you must include when you and your spouse started to experience an “irretrievable breakdown,” what assets you are claiming that your spouse dissipated and the date or range of time during which the dissipation occurred.

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IL divorce lawyerIf you were to ask a divorcing homeowner what their most valuable asset is, it is very likely that they would say it is their home. Not only are houses often worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, but they also usually carry some sort of sentimental value to the people who live in them. Many people have an emotional connection to their family home, especially when they have lived there for years, raised their children in that home, and made so many warm memories there. Unfortunately, you cannot simply just cut a home in half when you get a divorce. One of the biggest arguments that can arise from divorce is determining who gets to claim ownership of the house.

Equitable Division in Illinois

According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), all marital property in Illinois is divided in an equitable manner between the spouses. Marital property is considered to be anything that you or your spouse acquired while you were married but before a legal separation. Certain property is excluded from marital property, however. This includes gifts, property acquired by inheritance or legacy, property excluded from the marital estate through a valid prenup or postnup, and any property that was acquired by either spouse before the marriage.

Dividing Your Home’s Value

In most cases, there are typically only three different situations that can come out of this: you can either continue to co-own the home in the same manner, the spouse who wants the home can “buy out” the other spouse for their half of the home, or you can sell the home and split any proceeds you have from the sale:

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Botti Marinaccio, LTD.

630-575-8585

2015 Spring Road, Oak Brook, IL 60523

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