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630-575-8585

2015 Spring Road, Oak Brook, IL 60523

Top Chicago Area Divorce Lawyers
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Hinsdale asset division attorney

The term “dissipation” refers to assets that are wasted, destroyed, or used recklessly near the end of a marriage. When a spouse uses assets for a purpose not related to the marriage while the marriage is undergoing a breakdown, the other spouse may have a valid dissipation claim. Illinois law describes what type of spending constitutes dissipation and when the spending must occur in order to qualify as dissipation. If you are planning to get a divorce, and you have reason to believe that your spouse has squandered assets, a divorce lawyer experienced in handling dissipation claims can help protect your rights during the division of marital property.

What Type of Spending Is Considered Dissipative?

The Illinois Supreme Court defines dissipation as “the use of use of the marital property for the sole benefit of one of the spouses for a purpose unrelated to the marriage at a time that the marriage is undergoing an irretrievable breakdown.” Spending money on groceries, utility bills, or other legitimate needs is not considered dissipative. However, spending that is wasteful or reckless in nature may be considered dissipation. In previous Illinois divorce cases, the following types of spending have been deemed as dissipation:

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Oak Brook child support attorney

If you are considering divorce, you may have several questions about how it will impact you and your spouse financially. If you share children with your spouse, it is likely that either you or your spouse will be required to make child support payments to the other. Child support allows a child to benefit from the financial support of both of his or her parents, even when the parents are not married or living together. Child support can be a major expense for the paying parent, and it also represents a major source of financial sustenance for the receiving parent. Whether you are the payor or recipient of child support, it is important to understand how child support payment amounts are calculated in Illinois.

Income Shares Guidelines

The way child support is calculated in Illinois underwent dramatic changes in 2017. Prior to the change, child support payment amounts were based only on the paying party’s income and the number of children needing support. This outdated calculation method was replaced by the Income Shares calculation model. This method takes both parents’ net incomes into consideration. With this method, a child support obligation will be determined based on the parents' combined income and the number of children they have together. This amount will represent what parents would be expected to spend to care for their children if they remained married. The support obligation will then be divided between the parents according to each parent's percentage of their combined income. Typically, the non-custodial parent who has the minority of the parenting time with the couple's children will pay his or her portion of the child support obligation to the custodial parent.

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Cook County asset division attorney

Marriage is not only a romantic relationship, but it is also a financial partnership. Consequently, the complexity of any divorce case is largely determined by the couple’s finances. Divorcing couples who do not own significant assets are often able to resolve divorce issues such as property division much faster than those with more complicated financial portfolios. Many high net worth individuals own assets such as business holdings, real estate, stock options, and more. These complex assets can significantly influence the divorce process. Therefore, if you are contemplating divorce, it is crucial for you to have legal assistance to ensure your rights are protected during the proceedings.

Determining the Worth of Hard-To-Value Assets  

Typically, the more wealth an individual has, the more likely he or she will be to have put that wealth toward investments. High net worth individuals may own a variety of assets in many different classes. Many of these assets may not be owned by the person himself or herself, but they may instead be contained in businesses, holding companies, or investment structures. For example, he or she may own assets such as retirement plans, pensions, life insurance policies, stock options, restricted stock, brokerage accounts, and deferred compensation. An individual may also have invested in fine art, an extensive wine collection, antiques, or other high-value items. Before these assets can be fairly divided during a divorce, the assets must be properly inventoried and valued. In many cases, the assistance of financial appraisers or other experts will be required to establish a value for all of the property owned by a couple.

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Burr Ridge child support attorney

Child support payments can be a significant expense, but they are also vital to helping unmarried or divorced parents share the costs of raising their child. Child support amounts are calculated using the Income Shares model in Illinois. Both parents’ net incomes and other factors are used to determine a fair, reasonable child support arrangement. However, circumstances can change, and a parent may need to modify a child support order, whether he or she is the paying or receiving parent.

Adjusting Child Support

Illinois child support orders are eligible for a “modification review” every three years, but this does not mean that a modification will automatically be granted. During the modification review, the parents’ financial circumstances and other information are evaluated in order to determine if a modification is necessary. Child support orders may also be eligible for modification if there has been a “substantial change in circumstances,” the child’s healthcare needs are not being met, or there is a considerable difference between the current child support order and the child support guidelines established by Illinois law.

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Oak Brook parenting time attorney grandparents

For many children, spending time with grandparents is just as vital to their happiness and success as spending time with their parents. Across the country, millions of grandparents are an integral part of their grandchildren’s lives. Many older parents worry that if their child gets divorced, they will no longer be able to spend time with their grandkids. In some cases, a grandparent may need to petition the court in order to be granted visitation with their grandchildren. If you are seeking this type of order, it is essential that you obtain professional legal counsel so you fully understand your rights as a grandparent.

Circumstances That May Lead an Illinois Court to Order Grandparent Visitation

Unless parents have lost their parental rights due to abuse, abandonment, serious drug addiction, or another reason, they have a legal right to spend time with their children. This right does not automatically extend to grandparents. However, grandmothers and grandfathers may be able to receive a court order that grants them the legal right to visitation with their grandkids in certain situations. If you are a grandparent, you may be able to receive court-ordered visitation with your grandchildren if:

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DuPage County divorce attorney property division

In many marriages, “yours” and “mine” can become “ours” in regard to property and debt. Marriage is as much a financial partnership as it is a romantic relationship, and undoing those financial ties in a divorce may be a complicated process. Property division becomes especially challenging when there is a question as to what property should be classified as marital property and what should be deemed nonmarital property. When marital and nonmarital property is commingled, determining a fair and reasonable property division arrangement during divorce can be very difficult, and it is crucial to receive assistance from a qualified divorce attorney.

Understanding Equitable Distribution

Not every state has the same laws about how marital property is dealt with during divorce. Some states use a property division method called “community property," in which a married couple’s estate will be divided 50/50. Illinois, on the other hand, is an “equitable distribution” state. This means that if a divorcing couple cannot agree on how to divide their assets, the court will divide the assets according to equitable distribution rules. Illinois courts divide property in a way that is reasonable and fair based on each spouse’s health, employability, financial circumstances, needs, and other factors.

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DuPage County child custody attorney

Going through a divorce when you and your spouse have a child together is often much more complicated than a divorce that does not involve a minor child. There are many questions that divorcing parents will need to address as part of the legal process of ending your marriage, including whether you will share custody of your child or assign the majority of the parental responsibilities to one parent. If you plan to have a co-parenting arrangement, you will need to determine which parent the child will spend the majority of his or her time with, how the child will be transported between households, and a number of other issues, such as parenting time during the holidays.

Parental Responsibilities and Parenting Time

Illinois replaced the terms “child custody” and “visitation” with the terms “allocation of parental responsibilities” and “parenting time” in 2016 as part of a major overhaul of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA). Divorcing parents in Illinois must decide how they will distribute parental responsibilities and parenting time, and these decisions will be formalized in their official parenting plan or parenting agreement.

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Western Springs divorce attorney order of protection

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) estimates that one in every four women and one in every nine men have suffered from intimate partner violence or stalking. Domestic violence includes physical abuse, such as hitting and kicking, as well as sexual abuse, psychological abuse, financial abuse, and more. If you are considering divorce, and your spouse has harmed you or used psychological manipulation to control you, you probably have many concerns. Divorcing an abusive or deceitful spouse is often more complex and emotionally taxing than a divorce not involving this type of mistreatment. Fortunately, you do not have to face the divorce process alone. If you are planning to leave an abusive spouse, a divorce attorney experienced in managing cases involving domestic violence can be an essential source of legal guidance and support.

Illinois Protective Orders

When any victim of domestic violence attempts to leave his or her abuser, the abuser may escalate his or her aggressive behavior. If you are worried that your spouse may try to harm you, your children, your pets, or your property, you may want to consider obtaining an order of protection. Also called restraining orders, protective orders are legally binding court orders that prohibit a person from contacting or coming within a certain distance of the person who requested the order, called the petitioner. An Emergency Order of Protection can be obtained based on the petitioner's testimony alone, and it will go into effect as soon as the judge approves it. If the subject of a protection order violates any of the directions contained in the order, he or she may face arrest and criminal consequences.

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Western Springs spousal maintenance attorney

The end of a marriage not only brings dramatic personal changes but also considerable financial consequences. If you are considering divorce, you may wonder how spousal maintenance, also referred to as spousal support or alimony, is handled in Illinois. Maintenance payments can be a significant expense for the payor spouse and a significant source of financial support for the recipient spouse. Disputes about the terms of spousal maintenance can be contentious. That is why it is essential that you seek guidance from an experienced divorce attorney in order to understand how this type of support is calculated and your rights regarding these benefits.

When Is Spousal Maintenance Awarded?

If spouses had previously signed a marital agreement such as a prenup that contains directions regarding spousal maintenance, the court will typically uphold these directions. However, there are many issues that may cause a prenuptial agreement to be declared invalid, such as if it was signed under coercion or it contained fraudulent information about assets.

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Hinsdale divorce mediation attorney

When a couple decides to divorce, there are a number of issues that the spouses must agree upon before the divorce can be finalized. The spouses will need to determine how the marital estate will be divided, whether or not the lesser earning spouse will receive spousal maintenance (alimony), and how issues related to the allocation of parental responsibility (child custody) and child support will be handled. It can be very hard for divorcing spouses to reach an agreement about these and other terms of the divorce without help. One way that many divorcing couples are able to resolve divorce-related disagreements without the need for court litigation is through mediation.

How Does Mediation Help?

Divorcing spouses may be required to attend family law mediation by the court, or the couple may decide to attend mediation voluntarily. During this process, the spouses meet with a specially trained mediator who helps them identify the unresolved divorce issues, facilitates productive negotiation about these issues, and works with the spouses to find mutually agreeable resolutions. Spouses who reach an agreement about divorce issues through mediation are much more likely to comply with the terms of their final divorce decree than spouses who are subject to divorce terms determined by the court. Furthermore, mediation is much less antagonistic than litigation. Divorcing spouses who share children together often find mediation to be especially useful, because it encourages an amicable co-parenting relationship in the future.

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Western Springs child custody attorney

Illinois courts make all child-related decisions based on the child’s best interests. Unfortunately, it is sometimes in a child’s best interest not to spend time with one of his or her parents. If a mother or a father cannot adequately protect a child’s safety or provide for the child’s basic needs, that parent may be declared an “unfit” parent. This means that the court may place restrictions on some or all of the parental rights, including parenting time. If you have reason to believe that parental fitness may be a consideration in your child-related legal dispute, speak to an experienced divorce attorney to receive the personalized guidance you need for a favorable outcome.

Establishing Parental Fitness

The question of parental fitness is often brought up during child custody disputes. If evidence shows that a parent is unfit, he or she may no longer be permitted to share in decision-making responsibility for the child, and restrictions may be placed on his or her parenting time. A range of issues can bring a parent’s fitness into question, but courts typically consider a parent to be unfit if one or more of the following elements are present:

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Burr Ridge child support attorney

According to Illinois divorce laws, child support obligations are calculated using a method called the “Income Shares” model. In order to determine a child support order that is feasible and adequately provides for the child’s needs, this model takes each parent’s net income, parenting time, and other factors into consideration. Most child support orders terminate when the child turns 18 years old and graduates high school. However, sometimes a child has special needs that require non-minor child support well into adulthood.

Child Support for an Adult With a Disability

Once a child is able to become financially independent and start his or her adult life, child support payments are typically no longer necessary. However, if a child has a disability, he or she may need the financial assistance provided through child support as an adult. Either parent may petition the court for non-minor child support if a child has any type of mental, physical, or intellectual disability. When determining a child support order for a disabled adult child, the court will consider a variety of factors, including:

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DuPage County collaborative divorce attorney

If you have decided to divorce your spouse in Illinois, you may be researching your options. Divorcing spouses who struggle to reach an agreement regarding property division, spousal support, the allocation of parental responsibilities, parenting time, and other issues may benefit from an alternative dispute resolution method called “collaborative divorce.” As the name suggests, this type of divorce is a cooperative process that aims to resolve divorce issues using amicable negotiation and discussion without the need for direct judge oversight. Read on to learn more about what this beneficial process entails.

What Is a Participation Agreement?

During a collaborative divorce, each spouse is represented by an attorney who has received special training in collaborative law. The spouses and their lawyers hold several meetings during which they identify the divorce issues that still need to be settled and work to find resolutions to these matters that both spouses can agree on. The lawyers and spouses may also work with other professionals like financial planners and child specialists during the collaborative process. The members of the collaborative team sign a “participation agreement” in which they promise to:

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Oak Brook prenuptial agreement attorney

Research shows that prenuptial agreements, or “prenups,” are becoming increasingly popular – especially for the millennial generation. Many millennials are getting married later in life compared to their parents or grandparents. They may already own a home, a small business, or have other substantial assets by the time they tie the knot. They may also have accumulated significant debts, such as student loans. A prenuptial agreement is a great way for couples of any age to define and protect their financial rights in the event that their marriage ends in divorce. If you are considering creating a prenuptial agreement, it is essential to know the common mistakes that can make this important legal document invalid.

Financial Transparency Is a Requirement

A prenuptial agreement mainly deals with financial issues such as property or asset division and spousal maintenance (alimony). In order for a couple to come to a resolution about the details of their prenup, they must both fully disclose all of their assets, income, and debts. If a spouse lies about his or her finances, then the terms contained in the prenuptial agreement are based on misinformation. If the couple does end up filing for divorce, and it is determined that the prenuptial agreement was founded upon false financial information, the document may not be legally enforceable.

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Western Springs divorce attorney

The Holmes-Rahe Life Stress Inventory lists divorce as the second-most stressful experience a person can endure. You may be surprised to learn that according to the inventory, the end of a marriage is considered to be more stressful than being fired from your job, the death of a close friend, and even experiencing a major injury or illness. If you are considering divorce, you know just how mentally taxing it can be. Fortunately, many people are able to build a post-divorce life that is much happier and more serene than they could have imagined. Because the divorce process can be so trying, it is essential that you make your mental well-being a priority during this time. The following tips can help you address the difficulties you may experience during your divorce.

Allow Yourself to Grieve the End of Your Marriage 

Some people assume that if they are the party who initiated the divorce, then they have no reason to be sad about the end of their marriage. This is simply not true. It is completely normal to feel sad and disappointed about your divorce -- even if the split was your idea. You may have had hopes and dreams of what you wanted your marriage to be, and you may be deeply upset that you were unable to meet these expectations. Regardless of why your marriage is ending, give yourself time to grieve this loss, and do your best to avoid bottling up your emotions. Many mental health experts suggest that writing your feelings down in a journal can help you work through these emotions and heal.

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Burr Ridge division of assets attorney

Property division during divorce can vary significantly in its complexity. If a divorcing couple does not own a home or significant assets, the division process is typically more straightforward. However, if the couple has complex assets such as a family business, the division of property will be much more complicated. Illinois courts use a method called “equitable distribution” to split marital assets and property. This means that the marital estate is divided fairly based on each of the spouse’s contributions to the estate, their financial circumstances, and other relevant factors. Before a family-owned company can be divided in a divorce, the value of the business must be determined. There are several different ways to perform a business valuation, so read on to learn which option will work best for your situation.

Determining the Monetary Value of a Business

The business valuation method used by a couple during divorce will depend largely on the couple’s plans for the business moving forward. If the couple is going to sell the business, one way to determine the value of the business is by comparing the business to similar companies that were recently sold. This is referred to as a “market approach.” Another way to value the business is to use an “asset approach.” This involves calculating the total value of the assets owned by the business and then subtracting the business’s liabilities. In an “income approach” to business valuation, the present value of projected future income is used to determine the value of the company. 

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Cook County divorce attorney parental relocation

Sharing parental responsibility and parenting time with your ex-spouse can sometimes be challenging. You and your child’s other parent may disagree about certain aspects of your child’s upbringing, or you may struggle to find a division of parenting time that allows you both to see your child as much as you want. One issue that often leads to disputes after a divorce is parental relocation. If you or your ex is planning to move, you may wonder how this relocation will affect your shared parenting time arrangements. Illinois law dictates when a parent must seek approval from a judge before moving, so it is important to know the stipulations that may apply to your situation. If you have any child-related disputes with your child’s other parent, an experienced divorce attorney can help find a solution that works for you.

How Far Away Is the New Residence?

The law treats parental relocations differently depending on how far away the parent is planning to move. Local relocations do not require the parent to seek court approval. However, the parent will be required to take additional steps if moving involves any of the following aspects:

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Burr Ridge high-asset divorce attorney

As a general rule, the more wealth and property a married couple has, the more complicated their divorce will be. Divorces involving a family business, multiple real estate properties, 401ks, pensions, royalties, offshore accounts, deferred compensation, investments, stocks, trusts, and other complex assets are often especially hard to navigate. One issue that anyone undergoing a high asset divorce should watch out for is hidden assets. If you have reason to suspect that your spouse may be lying about financial information during divorce, speak with a knowledgeable divorce lawyer as soon as possible.

Red Flags of Financial Fraud

In order for a couple to reach a fair divorce settlement, each spouse must be fully transparent regarding his or her income, property, and debt. Decisions regarding property division, child support, spousal maintenance, and other issues are heavily influenced by the spouses’ financial circumstances. When a spouse does not fully disclose his or her assets and income for the purposes of skewing the divorce settlement in his or her favor, this is considered financial fraud. A spouse engaging in financial fraud may undervalue or fail to report certain assets or revenue streams, overstate debts, or claim that his or her expenses are much higher than they actually are.

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DuPage County spousal maintenance attorney

In some divorce and separation cases, a higher-earning spouse is required to make payments to a lesser-earning spouse. These payments are called spousal maintenance under Illinois law, but they are also commonly referred to as spousal support or alimony. There are a variety of reasons that a spouse may be required to make these types of payments. Spousal maintenance arrangements may be stipulated in the couple’s prenuptial agreement, or a large discrepancy in the spouses’ assets and incomes may necessitate maintenance. Whether you are the payor or the recipient of spousal support, you may be wondering how long maintenance payments will be mandated. Like most family law concerns, the answer will depend on several factors.

Spousal Maintenance Duration

If the spouses have signed a valid prenuptial or postnuptial agreement that specifies the terms of spousal maintenance, the court will typically uphold these terms. If the spouses did not have an agreement dictating spousal maintenance arrangements, the court will consider factors such as the spouses’ income, assets, employability, health, impairment to future earning capacity, and other elements to determine whether maintenance is appropriate. Typically, spousal maintenance is intended to give a lesser-earning spouse time to gain the skills and education needed to become self-supporting, and it can also ensure that a person is able to maintain the standard of living they enjoyed during their marriage.

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DuPage County divorce parenting plan attorney

If you and your spouse have children together, and you are going to get divorced in Illinois, you will be required to create a parenting plan or agreement. A parenting plan outlines the way the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time will be managed after the divorce. In some cases, one parent may have all of the parenting time, often referred to as having “sole custody,” but many divorced couples have a shared parenting arrangement. Coming to an agreement about the required provisions in a parenting plan is not always easy, but with an experienced attorney’s help, you can resolve many of these issues. 

Key Elements of a Shared Parenting Arrangement

There are several issues that must be addressed in your parenting plan. You will need to list your child’s official address for school enrollment purposes as well as each parent’s address and contact information. You will need to decide which parent will have the majority of parenting time as well as how important child-related decision-making responsibilities should be divided or shared between the parents. You will also be required to create a plan for how the child will be transported between the two households. An Illinois parenting plan must also include information about how any future proposed changes to the parenting plan or future parental relocations should be handled. There are also provisions describing other parental rights and responsibilities.

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Botti Marinaccio, LTD.

630-575-8585

2015 Spring Road, Oak Brook, IL 60523

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