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2015 Spring Road, Oak Brook, IL 60523

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IL divorce lawyerFinding out that your spouse has gone behind your back and had an affair is one of the most upsetting experiences a person can have. You may feel as though your world has turned upside down and that you now doubt many of the things you previously assumed to be true. Complicating your personal experience is the ensuing divorce. Illinois is a no-fault divorce state, meaning that regardless of the reason for your divorce you will simply file citing “irreconcilable differences.” Nevertheless, marital infidelity can still affect the outcome of your divorce.

Child Custody

Typically, infidelity will not impact parental responsibilities and parenting time. Your spouse will generally still be able to advocate for their right to see your child and spend time with them. However, if your spouse’s new partner presents a credible threat to your child, courts will take this into account when parental responsibilities are allocated.

For example, if your spouse’s new boyfriend or girlfriend is a registered sex offender, or if they have a criminal history of child or domestic abuse, the court will take this into consideration and may limit your spouse’s parenting time.

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IL divorce lawyerAlthough circumstances can vary when building towards a high asset divorce, common contributing factors are spouses who are high earners and have had a long marriage. When spouses commonly hold many assets that are valuable and complicated, a complex divorce is inevitable.

If you are considering divorce and have high-value assets or high net worth, you will need an experienced, assertive attorney who will advocate for your best interests. In addition to having an outstanding legal team, here are other things to consider when beginning a high asset divorce.

Hire a Forensic Accountant

Complex assets include things like stock options, overseas investments, trusts, pensions, retirement plans, and private art or vehicle collections. Assets such as these can make divorce very complicated.

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Posted on in Divorce

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 family lawyerDuring a divorce or separation, child custody is often among some of the most contentious issues that a couple can face throughout the process. Any topic has the potential of becoming an issue in a divorce, but child-related issues are especially subject to disagreement. When parents do not live in the same state, things can become even more complicated. Many parents move away after a divorce or separation, sometimes to a different state, even when they have children. Before you are able to begin a custody case, you will first need to make sure that you file the case in the correct state. A knowledgeable Illinois family law attorney will help you determine which state has jurisdiction over your case.

The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA)

When it comes to things like parenting time and decision-making responsibilities, each state has its own laws regarding the way those issues are handled. The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) is a law that was enacted by 49 states and various U.S. territories to determine how the jurisdiction would be decided in custody cases that involved parents living in a different state from their child. In general, the state that is considered to be the child’s “home state” is the one with jurisdiction over the custody case.

Can Your Child’s Case Be Heard in Illinois?

As a parent living in Illinois, you are likely wondering whether or not your case can be heard in Illinois, or if it must be heard by the state in which your ex lives. The UCCJEA states that there are four different elements that are used to determine which state the custody case should be filed in. These elements are, in order of importance:

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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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IL divorce lawyerFor many divorcing couples, it is hard to say exactly when the relationship is over. Many couples experience marital problems for months or years before they start the divorce process. Spouses often live apart or lead separate lives within the same household long before they actually file for divorce. If you are in a situation like this, you may have questions about the timing of your divorce petition. Should I file for divorce sooner rather than later? Is there a benefit to waiting to file for divorce? The answers depend on a multitude of factors, so it is best to receive personalized advice from an experienced divorce attorney.

Illinois Waiting Period for Divorce

In Illinois, at least one spouse has to be a resident of Illinois for 90 days before either spouse may file for divorce. If you and your spouse agree that “irreconcilable differences” have led to the “breakdown” or collapse of your marriage, there is no waiting period for filing the divorce petition. If your spouse disagrees with this assertion, living separately from your spouse for six months creates an automatic presumption that irreconcilable differences have caused a marital breakdown.

When You File Can Influence Child Custody, Property Division or Alimony

The date you file for divorce, or “Petition for Dissolution of Marriage,” marks the end of the marriage for the purposes of calculating spousal maintenance or alimony. The duration of Illinois alimony payments is typically based on the duration of the marriage so the longer you hold off filing, the longer your marriage will be for alimony calculations.

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IL divorce lawyerDivorce is much more common than it was in previous decades. Nevertheless, divorce can still have a profound impact on children. If you are a parent and your marriage is nearing its end, you may understandably be worried about how the separation will affect your children. You may wonder if there is anything you can do to help your kids cope with this stressful life event. Fortunately, there are many resources for parents in this situation. A good deal of research has been conducted about how children process the divorce and what parents can do to lessen kids’ emotional turmoil.

Telling Your Children About the Split

Experts agree that it is best to plan for the “divorce talk” ahead of time. Do not tell your children about the separation or divorce until you are sure of it. Sit your children down together with your spouse if possible. Calmly explain that mom and dad will not be living together. You may need to assure your children that the separation is not their fault and that they are still loved and cared about. Children have various reactions to the news of divorce. Some need space to cool off, while others need immediate hugs and reassurance.

Avoid Letting Children Hear Arguments with Your Spouse

The process of ending your marriage may be contentious and legally complex. One of the best things you can do during this difficult time in your children’s lives is shielding them from adult conversations regarding divorce. If you and your spouse need to have a difficult discussion about dividing property or spousal maintenance, try to discuss the earshot of your children. Studies show that children are deeply affected by parental arguments and fights.

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IL divorce lawyerMany people aspire to notoriety. However, few realize that there are also downsides to being in the public eye. Many recognizable individuals find themselves subject to public scrutiny and privacy violations. If you or your spouse are well-known, you may have concerns about how you can protect your privacy during divorce. The end of your marriage is a deeply personal matter, and it should never serve as entertainment or gossip for others. Fortunately, there are several steps that you can take to protect yourself in a high-profile divorce.

Consider Using a Non-Disclosure Agreement

A confidentiality agreement or non-disclosure agreement is a contract that requires parties to keep certain information confidential. During your divorce, you will likely share detailed information about your real estate holdings, investments, businesses, and other assets. You will also share information about any debts and liabilities you are subject to. Keeping private financial information like this confidential is a top priority in a high-profile divorce. Furthermore, information about your personal life may come to light during a divorce. Medical and psychological records, the results of child custody evaluations, and information about marital infidelity are just some examples of the personal topics that may be brought up during the divorce. A confidentiality agreement can be used to prohibit third parties from divulging confidential information. If a party violates the contract, the non-breaching party may be entitled to legal remedies including monetary damages.

Alternative Resolution Methods May Help You Avoid a Divorce Trial

When a divorcing couple cannot agree on property division, child custody, spousal maintenance, or other divorce issues, the case may go to trial. Most civil trials are a matter of public record. This means that your personal information may be available for anyone to view. If you can reach an out-of-court settlement through an alternative resolution method, you can avoid going to trial.

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IL divorce lawyerDivorce cases vary as wildly as marriages do. Some divorce cases are relatively straightforward. The couple is able to agree on the terms of their divorce, file the paperwork with the court, and walk away. Other divorces involve complicated financial disagreements, hostile child custody disputes, or spouses who insist on divorce terms that are grossly unfair. High-conflict divorce cases such as these are often much more involved than typical divorce cases. Read on to learn about some of the signs that you may divorce may be high conflict.

Issues that Often Lead to High-Conflict Divorce

For divorcing spouses, it can be hard to know what the divorce process will look like. Many spouses hope that their soon-to-be-ex will freely hand over the needed information, agree to reasonable terms, and resolve the divorce quickly and amicably. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Some signs that your divorce may have a high degree of contentiousness include:

  • Lying about money – If your spouse has a history of lying about money during your marriage, this could be a sign that he or she will falsify financial data during divorce. Some spouses attempt to shield assets from division during divorce by transferring or undervaluing assets, underreporting income, or falsifying business financials. Financial deception can also heavily influence child support and spousal maintenance concerns.
  • Cheating – Although Illinois is a no-fault divorce state, marital infidelity can still have a major effect on divorce. Couples with a history of cheating may have a very difficult time working cooperatively. Some spouses may even use the divorce as an opportunity to seek revenge for past wrongs.
  • Parenting arguments – If you and your spouse have dramatically different ideas of what “good parenting” looks like, you may find it nearly impossible to reach an agreement about the terms of your Illinois parenting plan.
  • Narcissism – The term “narcissist” may refer to a person with a narcissistic personality disorder or someone who exhibits characteristics associated with the disorder. Narcissists are typically characterized by grandiosity, exaggerated self-importance, lack of empathy, and a sense of entitlement.
  • Refusal to compromise – Some divorcing spouses are intent on “winning” the divorce at all costs. They refuse to agree to even the most generous compromises, intentionally drag out the divorce process, and make the divorce as difficult as possible.

Contact a DuPage County High-Conflict Divorce Lawyer

You do not have to face a high-conflict divorce alone. The knowledgeable Hinsdale divorce attorneys at Botti Marinaccio, LTD. can provide the tenacious legal advocacy you need to assert your rights during a contentious divorce. Call us at 630-575-8585 today for a confidential consultation.

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Cook County divorce attorney asset division

Per Illinois law, divorcing spouses have a right to an equitable share of the marital estate. Spouses also have a right to fair child support and/or spousal support arrangement. However, to get a fair divorce resolution, an accurate and complete inventory of the spouses’ finances must be obtained. When spouses have complex or high-value assets or are unwilling to be truthful about property and debt, securing the financial information needed to reach a fair divorce settlement or judgment is particularly complicated. Forensic accounting is a process during which a detailed examination of a spouse’s finances is taken, assets are valued, and evidence of financial deception is uncovered.

Your Lawyer May Work with a Forensic Accountant to Interpret Complex Financial Portfolios

A forensic accountant is an accountant with strong investigative skills. Forensic accountants are often utilized during the discovery portion of the divorce process to evaluate financial records, scour financial documents for signs of deception, trace assets, appraise a spouse’s business, or find hidden accounts. Forensic accountants may also testify about financial issues during a divorce trial. A divorce lawyer experienced in cases involving complicated financial matters may work closely with a forensic accountant to ensure that an accurate, complete assessment of a spouse’s finances is conducted.

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DuPage County divorce attorney parenting plan

Divorce involving children brings about additional concerns. Parents will need to decide how they will make major decisions about the child, including where he or she will attend school, what types of extracurricular activities he or she will participate in, how the child’s medical care will be managed, and much more. Parents must also decide how they will divide “parenting time” or the time that a parent is directly caring for a child. Disagreements about parental responsibilities and parenting time can be difficult to overcome. Understandably, most parents have strong opinions about what they think is best for their child. Read on to learn about some of the most common child custody dispute resolution methods in Illinois divorce cases.

Negotiating an Agreement Through Your Lawyers

Divorcing parents in Illinois must make specific plans about how parenting duties will be handled after the divorce. In their “parenting plan,” the parents will describe which parent will make decisions about the child’s healthcare, education, religious upbringing, and other major concerns. They must also describe a method or schedule for dividing parenting time. The parenting plan also describes the child-related rights that parents have, including the right to know about child-related emergencies, access to the child’s school reports and medical records, and more.

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Cook County divorce attorney asset division

During a divorce, spouses are expected to disclose truthful information about their assets, liabilities, expenses, and income. However, some spouses lie about their financial situation in an attempt to gain an advantage during a divorce. If you are thinking of divorce and your spouse owns a business, it is important to know what you are entitled to in the divorce. It is also crucial that you are aware of the ways that some business owners hide assets or falsify financial information in order to manipulate property distribution.

Underreporting Business Revenue and Undervaluing Business Assets

Spouses who want to manipulate the divorce settlement may use their business to hide assets and income. Typically, this is accomplished by undervaluing the business or reporting lower-than-actual business revenue. A business owner may temporarily lower business revenue or assets by:

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DuPage County family law attorney divorce

While every divorce is bound to involve some conflict, some divorce cases are much more contentious than others. Toxic spouses may engage in behaviors that intentionally upset the other spouse, undermine progress during the divorce, and make the process of ending their marriage more difficult than it needs to be. If you suspect that your divorce will be wrought with conflict, you should know that there are steps you can take to protect your rights and avoid falling into common high-conflict divorce pitfalls.

Do Not Stoop to Your Spouse’s Level

A toxic spouse may spread lies about you, threaten to ruin you financially or even attempt to keep your children away from you. Anyone would be infuriated by this type of conduct. Unfortunately, the most important thing you can do in a high-conflict divorce is also the hardest to actually accomplish. You must avoid responding to your spouse’s manipulative and offensive behavior by counterattacking him or her. Ignore your spouse’s calls, texts, and social media posts. If needed, request an emergency order of protection to stop your spouse from harassing you.

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Cook County family law attorney parenting time

Being a parent is a tremendous responsibility. Being a parent also affords individuals certain rights under Illinois law. For example, a parent has a right to “parenting time” or the right to spend time with his or her child. However, there are situations in which a parent’s parental rights can be terminated. Some parents voluntarily relinquish their parental rights while others have their parental rights involuntarily terminated because they are found to be “unfit.”

Voluntary Relinquishment

Children can only have two parents according to Illinois law. If an individual such as a stepparent wishes to become a child’s legal parent, the other parent may need to relinquish his or her parental rights. Once a parent has relinquished his or her parental rights, he or she no longer has a right to parenting time or the right to make decisions about his or her child’s upbringing. The parent is also relieved of child support obligations. Illinois courts always make child-related determinations based on what is in the child’s best interests. Courts generally assume that a child should have financial support from two parents instead of only one. Therefore, courts typically only grant a voluntary relinquishment of parental rights if another individual is prepared to adopt the child.

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DuPage County divorce attorney mediation

When a couple divorces, they must address several difficult and complicated issues. They must reach an agreement about how to split up their assets and debt, what to do with the marital home, how child custody issues will be managed, whether a spouse will receive spousal maintenance, and more. If the spouses are unable to reach an agreement, their case may go to trial. Most divorcing spouses want to avoid divorce litigation if possible. Mediation is an alternative resolution method that may help a couple reach an agreement about the terms of their divorce; however, mediation is not right in every case.

Mediation May Not Suffice When There are Complex Legal and Financial Issues

Many couples who are still on relatively good terms wish to resolve divorce issues through family law mediation so that they can avoid a contentious court battle. However, mediators are not required to have legal training or a law degree. They are not there to give you legal advice or representation but instead to facilitate productive discussions and negotiations about the divorce issues. Mediation alone may be insufficient when a couple has a high net worth, owns complex investments, owns a business, or has other unusual financial or legal situations.

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Cook County divorce attorney

The need for companionship is only human. For many, the end of marriage offers hope of a brighter future with a new romantic interest. If you are in the middle of a divorce or soon will be, you may wonder if it is okay to start dating while the divorce is still ongoing. You may even already have a boyfriend or girlfriend and you are wondering how this can influence your divorce. Only you can know if dating during divorce is right for you, but it is important to know how dating during divorce can affect your divorce proceedings.

Dating During Divorce May Have Personal and Emotional Implications

If you do decide to date during your divorce, you should know that this may increase the level of contention between you and your spouse. Divorces are already quite emotional. Dating someone new before the marriage is officially over may lead to anger and resentment. You and your spouse may have planned on an uncontested divorce, but your spouse suddenly changes his or her mind once he or she learns that you are dating someone new.

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Cook County divorce attorney child support

The average cost of raising a child through age 18 is estimated to be over $250,000. As any parent can tell you, having children is expensive. Child support is a key source of financial assistance for single parents in Illinois. Most unmarried and divorced parents rely on child support for help with housing, education, childcare, food, and other costs. These financial needs do not disappear because the parent responsible for paying child support is incarcerated in jail or prison.  

Illinois Courts May Deviate from Statutory Guidelines When a Parent is in Jail

Illinois child support payments are based on both parents’ net incomes and, if the parents have a similar amount of parenting time, each parent’s allocated parenting time. The amount that a parent pays in child support is proportional to his or her net income. The parent with the greater share of parenting time receives child support from the parent with less parenting time or “obligor.” Usually, the amount of child support that an obligor pays is determined by statutory formulas and tables. However, an incarcerated parent is usually not earning an income while in prison so courts may deviate from the statutory formulas when a parent is incarcerated.

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Botti Marinaccio, LTD.

630-575-8585

2015 Spring Road, Oak Brook, IL 60523

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