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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 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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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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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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Botti Marinaccio, LTD.

630-575-8585

2015 Spring Road, Oak Brook, IL 60523

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