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Top Chicago Area Divorce Lawyers
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shutterstock_132478784.jpgThe process of untangling marital finances is complicated and often very messy. Divorce is already a tough process in many ways, but when significant financial issues are at stake, an already degrading relationship between spouses can quickly become hostile. Every divorce is different, with its own unique challenges and complexities, but there are certain steps divorcing spouses can take to prepare themselves financially for a high-asset divorce. 

Be Cautious When Acting on Advice

Everybody has an opinion when you get divorced. You may have a friend whose attorney recommended they take a specific action that yielded positive results; your mother may be certain that you need to do the exact opposite. Before you make any major financial decisions that could have long-term consequences, get help from financial experts and divorce attorneys who are familiar with the details of your case and can explain your options to you. Once you know the options, you can make an informed decision. 

Spend and Save Prudently

Although individuals in high-asset divorce cases may be accustomed to living a comfortable lifestyle, refrain from taking on any major financial expenditures before filing for divorce or while your divorce is ongoing. While you may be able to afford it, the appearance of conspicuous wealth can affect the negotiation process over child support and spousal support. Whether you anticipate giving or receiving support payments, be fiscally conservative and avoid flashy or showy purchases. Illinois courts have wide discretion when making decisions about support payments in high-net-worth cases that may deviate from standard formulas. 

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oak brook divorce lawyerFinancial differences and disagreements are among the most common reasons couples cite for relationship breakdown. The inability to manage financial resources can lead to difficult and complex issues, such as debt or burdensome shopping habits, that can ultimately make a divorce inevitable. Perhaps surprisingly, higher-income couples with significant net worth are actually more likely to disagree about finances in ways that lead to divorce. If you are considering a divorce in Illinois and are worried that your spouse may take irresponsible financial actions, a financial restraining order may benefit you. 

What is a Financial Restraining Order? 

A financial restraining order is a temporary court order that freezes a couple’s marital assets until they can be divided equitably as part of the divorce process. A financial restraining order can keep a spouse from hiding, spending, transferring, or otherwise disposing of any money, assets, or property they do not need for daily necessities. Spouses who seek a restraining order must prove the following in court: 

  • There is a clear need for a financial restraining order (such as evidence of behaviors of concern)

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Burr Ridge Family Law AttorneyOften, the only things we hear about divorce are the worst parts. It can be expensive, stressful, and last far longer than one might hope. But there are also major benefits to getting divorced–especially if you are trapped in an unhappy marriage or find that you and your spouse no longer share common goals. If you are considering divorce, here are five ways that doing so could make your life better. 

Your Finances Could Improve

Although divorce is notoriously expensive, for many people the money they save from divorcing a spouse sooner rather than later can pay off in the long run. For example, although a divorce settlement with your spouse might involve spousal maintenance for a fixed period, if your spouse is a serious spendthrift then you may actually save money compared to staying married to them forever. 

Your Relationships Could Get Better

Many toxic relationships leave spouses alienated from family and friends. Ending such a marriage could have a positive impact on your relationships with everyone else in your life. Rediscovering old friendships, nurturing relationships with family members, and committing yourself to better romances in the future are all positive relational outcomes of divorce. 

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oak brook divorce lawyerOf the many parts of your financial picture that will likely change after divorce, health insurance is one of the most important. This is especially true for spouses who have been homemakers or out of the workforce for any other reason. Becoming financially self-sufficient can take some time and knowing whether you can remain on your former spouse’s insurance is an important part of preparing financially for your divorce. Fortunately, Illinois’ Spousal Continuation Law allows former spouses to continue coverage after the divorce is finalized. 

Getting Continued Insurance Coverage After Divorce 

If you want to remain on your spouse’s insurance, your spouse must notify their employer that you want spousal continuation coverage within 30 days of receiving your final divorce decree. In turn, your spouse’s insurance company will give you notice, letting you know the details of the continued coverage. You have 30 days to respond to this notice and confirm your request. 

Keep in mind that once the divorce is final, your spouse’s company will no longer pay their portion of the insurance premium - covering the entire cost is up to you. While this means you will likely pay 70 to 80 percent more for insurance than you did previously, the cost of insurance premiums is so high that many former spouses still save money and have a better plan than they could get on the exchange. 

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oak brook divorce lawyerAccording to the Illinois Department of Public Health, divorce rates have been on the decline since 2012. Even so, divorce is still a common practice amongst adults who have tried to make their marriage work yet no longer believe the partnership is worth continuing. 

The decision to pursue a divorce is not one that anybody takes lightly. Whether you have made the decision to divorce your current spouse or your partner presented you with divorce papers, the process can seem daunting. 

Thankfully, an attorney can support and guide you through the process of getting a divorce in the state of Illinois. Before you hire a divorce attorney, you should pose a handful of questions to make sure you find the right lawyer for your situation.  

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dupage county alimony lawyerDivorce is a very complex matter. It signifies the finality of a marriage, but divorce proceedings do not end there. They also entail a lot of technicalities, such as child custody, the separation of assets, and alimony. 

Otherwise known as spousal maintenance or spousal support, alimony is a main player in many divorce cases. Alimony is financial support paid by one former spouse to the other.

Who Determines the Value and Dispersal of Alimony? 

During divorce proceedings, whether or not alimony will be paid by one former spouse to the other party will depend on the specific details pertaining to the divorce at hand. Some of the many factors that play a role in the presence or absence of alimony are as follows: 

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shutterstock_1933822739.jpgChild support can be a difficult part of divorce to navigate. The parent paying child support often feels upset because he or she may be paying more money but getting less parenting time, and the parent receiving child support often feels as though the amount is inadequate to meet the children’s true needs. Whichever side you are on - paying or receiving - you have a legal obligation to provide financial support to your children, and it is important to know how child support is calculated in Illinois. Here are three factors to consider as support payments are determined: 

Both Parents’ Net Income

Because both parents are responsible for financially supporting their children, both parents’ incomes are considered when establishing payments. It is important to provide documentation establishing your income honestly - hiding income to try to raise or lower payments can result in legal consequences. It is also important to include certain expenses, like pre-existing child support or spousal maintenance obligations from another marriage. 

The Children’s Health Care

Child support covers basic needs like food, clothing, and shelter, but parents are also usually responsible for paying for their children’s medical care. This can include monthly insurance premiums, whether through a parent’s employer or via the health insurance exchange, and the cost of premiums may be divided between parents according to the percentage of their combined net income that each parent earns. Parents should also consider the potential cost of copays, regular doctor visits, prescription costs, and ongoing treatment such as occupational therapy. 

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cook county divorce lawyerParents getting divorced in Illinois with underage children face the daunting challenge of understanding Illinois’ child support laws. Although the laws are not unnecessarily complex, it still requires some effort to set clear expectations and ensure parents always meet their obligations. If you are getting divorced and have questions about child support, these five facts may be helpful. 

Child Support is Calculated Using Both Parents’ Incomes 

Some people may be surprised to learn that the income of both parents is considered when calculating child support payments. Both parents’ net incomes are combined and then divided according to how much each parent earns and the percentage of time the child spends with each parent. Illinois has a standardized income table for estimating child support payments, although, as discussed below, these estimations are subject to change depending on the circumstances. 

Child Support Pays for More Than Just Food and Clothing 

Although child support does cover the basics, it can also cover daycare or other childcare costs, extracurricular activities, vacations, and medical expenses. If a child has needs that exceed the average child support tables, such as an ongoing illness or need for regular therapy, child support payments can be adjusted accordingly. 

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oak brook divorce lawyerCouples enter marriage with high hopes - nobody wants or expects to get divorced in Illinois. But divorce rates are notoriously high, and many relationships ultimately come to an end. When a couple decides to get divorced, certain issues must be resolved and codified in a formal divorce decree. Asset division, parenting agreements, and child support payments are either agreed upon by both spouses or ordered by a judge and then written in the divorce order. 

It is one of those unfortunate facts of life that both spouses may not be completely satisfied with the divorce arrangements. Under very limited circumstances, a divorce order may be appealed and changed. If you feel as though your divorce judgment was made in error, it is important to understand when divorce decrees can be appealed. 

When Can a Divorce Decree Be Appealed? 

Although the right to appeal is an important part of Illinois law, individuals cannot appeal their divorce decree simply because they dislike it or disagree with the terms. Appeals can only be made within 30 days of the original judgment when there has been a potential error. Examples of errors include: 

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shutterstock_1011733588-min.jpg Divorce can get hostile, and spouses often resort to unusual measures to try to catch each other in the act of wrongdoing. Sometimes spouses will track each other, follow each other’s communications, and even install secret listening devices to find out information they could not get otherwise. Sometimes these actions are simply strange or unethical, but other times they are downright illegal. 

Spying on a spouse is never a good idea. In addition to the fact that illegally-obtained evidence cannot be used in court, spying often backfires because it opens up the perpetrator to the possibility of criminal charges with serious consequences. If you are getting divorced or want to get a divorce and believe your spouse may be monitoring your activities, a qualified Illinois divorce attorney with experience in high-conflict divorce may be able to help you. 

Why Would My Spouse Spy on Me? 

Even though Illinois no longer requires spouses to prove “fault” when they file for divorce, this does not eliminate the fact that spouses may feel compelled to discover or prove that their partner did something wrong. If one spouse suspects the other of lying, cheating, abusing alcohol or drugs, or wasting money behind their back, they may try to collect evidence proving the suspected behavior. Sometimes, spouses are just plain suspicious or controlling.

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shutterstock_1660007995-min.jpgGetting divorced in Illinois is often a contentious process, but for spouses dealing with abuse, it can be especially challenging. Research shows an alarming number of Illinois residents deal with domestic violence, and - perhaps most alarming - that victims of domestic violence may be at greatest risk when they try to leave their abuser. 

For those who are afraid that filing for divorce could trigger escalated abusive behavior from their spouse, an Order of Protection may be helpful. There are several types of Orders of Protection, and although each can help protect a victim and their children, a victim’s circumstances will dictate which protection order is appropriate. A qualified Illinois divorce attorney can help you petition the court for an Order of Protection. 

Types of Orders of Protection in Illinois

There are three basic types of Orders of Protection in Illinois. They are as follows: 

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oak brook divorce lawyerDivorce is never easy for anyone, but for some divorcing couples, it can turn into a high-conflict nightmare. When one or both spouses are narcissistic or have other toxic personality traits, they may deliberately try to upset or destabilize their partner and make the divorce process very difficult.

Often, spouses seeking divorce will delay discussing it with their partner or filing for divorce because they are worried that it may trigger an escalation in an already difficult relationship. However, staying in a high-conflict or abusive relationship forever is simply not a solution for most people, and at some point, it becomes time to take action. In this blog post, we will look at a few ways spouses can try to reduce anger and bitterness during divorce.

Create a Strong Team and Rely on Them

Individuals getting divorced face an enormous number of stressors. In addition to the breakdown of the relationship, they must tackle major changes with their finances, a reduction in time spent with children, and must often move to a different home. All of this becomes much easier when spouses can create a team of experts, family, and good friends to support them and help them work through the process. 

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 Western Spring Divorce AttorneyThe prospect of getting divorced is never easy, but for high-profile or public-facing individuals in Illinois, divorce comes with the additional difficulty of potentially drawing the attention of the public. Public servants, media figures, and high-net-worth individuals often have journalists, photographers, and nosy neighbors who seek personal information, following them and searching for details to sell or discuss online.  

In addition to the frustration and embarrassment this may cause, having personal information go public can make the overall divorce process much more stressful. Fortunately, there are things you can do to keep your divorce private. An attorney with experience in high-profile divorces can help you maintain privacy while creating a divorce strategy that works to your benefit. 

File for a Protective Order During Discovery

Spouses can file for protective orders during the discovery process when spouses and their attorneys are requesting and passing information back and forth. Protective orders prohibit spouses from sharing private information such as bank statements or business contracts from anyone besides their attorneys. Judges can grant protective orders even if the only reason is to prevent unreasonable annoyance or disadvantages to one spouse. This prevents spouses from going public with the personal details of the other spouse, under threat of being held in contempt of court. 

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What is Parallel Parenting? 

Posted on in Divorce

Western Springs Family Law AttorneyCreating a parenting plan during divorce is particularly challenging for parents who are so hostile towards each other that even the most minimal communication elicits an argument. Of course, this has a negative impact on the emotional and psychological well-being of parents, but the primary victims of this hostility are children who get exposed to conflict. 

In cases like this, Illinois parents may pursue a strategy called “parallel parenting.” Parallel parenting is an explicit acknowledgment that the children will be better off if the parents communicate as little as possible. 

Prevent Conflict with a Parallel Parenting Plan

Many couples can share the allocation of parental responsibilities, even if they do not get along all the time. But for parents who need to practice parallel parenting, parental responsibilities will not be shared at all - even if each parent has equal parenting time with the children. This is done by addressing issues as specifically as possible within a parenting plan so there is no question as to which parent is responsible for which issue. 

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DuPage County Divorce AttorneyWhen two people get married, any assets either spouse owned before the marriage generally remain under the exclusive ownership of the original owner. Many couples sign a prenuptial agreement before getting married to ensure assets that are personally owned remain that way if a couple gets divorced

However, sometimes both spouses use their personal property and money in a way that causes something called “commingling,” or the mixing of individual and marital assets. When a couple decides to get divorced, commingled assets can make it difficult to determine which parts of an asset or bank account belongs to which spouse during the asset division process. This can cause conflict when, for example, a spouse who shared his or her inheritance acted with generosity and now faces having to split the entire amount.

Illinois has strict laws when determining how commingled assets are handled, giving legal preference to a commingled asset over the process of “tracing” the source and use of an asset back far enough to prove individual ownership (or lack thereof, if you are the spouse claiming the previously personal asset is now marital). However, many individuals have successfully protected their premarital assets in divorce despite commingling them during the marriage. 

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Burr Ridge Divorce Mediation AttorneysAmerican tabloids love to cover the sultry details of high-profile divorce trials. Consumers may love to read about other people’s divorces, but for those going through a divorce trial, it can be a nightmare. Long wait times between court dates, hostile disputes with former partners, and the expense of a protracted trial -- to say nothing of the public exposure -- are all strong incentives to avoid the trial process altogether. 

Fortunately, Illinois courts encourage divorcing couples to do exactly that. Using mediation, collaborative divorce, or a similar alternative dispute resolution process, even the most high conflict spouses can usually prevent divorce litigation. Although certain issues must be approved by a court before a divorce can be finalized, couples can spare themselves from the stress and expense of a lengthy divorce trial by working towards a mutually agreeable compromise using alternative dispute resolution. 

Mediation

Mediation is a popular method that is often mandated by Illinois divorce courts before a case can go to trial. The reason is simple: Mediation is really quite effective. Mediators are usually attorneys and are always trained in conflict resolution. They help spouses work out their differences by minimizing conflict and helping everyone stay focused on the relevant issues. 

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oak brook child custody lawyerThe “best interests” of a child are the primary concern of Illinois courts and judges when making decisions about a parent’s ability to spend time with and make decisions for their child. But reasonable people can and often do disagree about what is best for a child - parents getting divorced being a prime example - so how does anyone make decisions about what is truly best for a child? 

How Are a Child’s “Best Interests” Determined? 

In a divorce or parenting time modification, Illinois judges encourage parents to work together closely to try to create an arrangement for the children outside of court. When parents are able to cooperate, both parents generally find that, while the parenting plan may not be exactly what they hoped for, they are more satisfied than if a judge made all the decisions on their behalf. 

Unfortunately, it is not always possible for parents to agree on some or all of the parenting arrangements. Irreconcilable disputes about who gets to make important decisions for the children (parental responsibilities) and who gets to have the children in their physical custody (parenting time) can force courts to take action. In cases like this, the court considers many factors when determining the best interests of the child. 

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oak brook divorce lawyerCouples owning a million dollars or more in assets face unique challenges when getting divorced in Illinois. There is a lot at stake in a high net worth divorce, and both parties are likely to hire excellent attorneys to represent them. The proceedings can be long and protracted and often involve the assistance of outside experts. 

In this blog, we will discuss some of the most common challenges we see in our clients’ high net worth divorces. If you are considering divorce and are worried about what it might mean for your assets, business interests, or spousal maintenance obligations, contact a qualified Cook County divorce attorney for help.  

Privacy Concerns

Many high net worth couples have public profiles and want to curtail any public interest in their decision to divorce. When couples have been involved in community, business, or political leadership, maintaining privacy during divorce can be more difficult. We go beyond the standard attorney-client relationship and make every attempt to help you protect your privacy and minimize public exposure during your divorce. 

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hinsdale spousal maintenance lawyerFormerly known as alimony, spousal maintenance is financial support that must be paid from one spouse to another following a divorce. The unique circumstances of each case determine which spouse is responsible for paying the maintenance and how much and for how long payments must be made. 

Spousal maintenance can be one of the most complex and high-conflict parts of a divorce. The paying spouse often feels as though they are being taken advantage of, and the receiving spouse often feels as though the time and effort they put into the marriage are not sufficiently compensated. 

Regardless of whether you are the paying or receiving spouse, spousal maintenance payments can be subject to change based on a change in your circumstances. In this article, we will address the circumstances in which payments may be modified or terminated, as well as how you can request a modification. 

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 illinois parenting lawyerAn unmarried father-to-be may worry that he will have no say in the life or wellbeing of his child. After all, it is the mother who carries the child through pregnancy, and she may feel that if she wants no contact with the father, that is the end of the story. 

Fortunately for fathers, this is simply not true. Illinois law recognizes the importance of fathers and recently updated its laws regarding parental responsibilities and parenting time to reflect the necessity of both parents’ involvement in a child’s life whenever possible. If you are an unmarried father living in Illinois and seeking a relationship with your child, this blog is for you. 

Establish Paternity

Unmarried fathers now have the same rights as mothers - but first, parents have to establish paternity. When a couple is married in Illinois, the mother’s husband is assumed to be the child’s father. However, when a couple is not married, the father will need to prove paternity in order to have parenting rights. There are a few ways to establish paternity: 

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Botti Marinaccio, LTD.

630-575-8585

2015 Spring Road, Oak Brook, IL 60523

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