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630-575-8585

2015 Spring Road, Oak Brook, IL 60523

Top Chicago Area Divorce Lawyers
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shutterstock_627696287.jpg In Illinois, legal paternity is not assumed, but rather, it must be affirmatively acknowledged. It is imperative that you understand how to establish paternity so that you do not wind up with limited rights to see your children. A failure to acknowledge paternity at the appropriate time can severely restrict your right not only to see the children, but to exercise a father’s rights with regard to their lives and welfare.

Illinois Paternity Process

The procedure to formally acknowledge paternity differs, depending on whether the father is married to the child’s mother. If the couple is married at the time of the child’s birth, then the husband is presumed by law to be the father of that child, unless the father completes a Denial of Paternity form.

If the couple is not married when the child is born, and the mother is married to someone else, her husband must complete the Denial of Paternity, and both father and the mother must sign a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity. Failure to do so will place the husband by default as the father.

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shutterstock_1695503737.jpgIn the United States, a woman is killed as a result of domestic violence every six hours. One in four women in this country will be a victim of domestic violence at some point in their lives. Statistics show that every nine seconds, a woman is battered by her partner. Seventy-five percent of domestic violence victims have children living in their homes. Studies show that the closer a woman is to leaving and divorcing her abuser, the more dangerous the situation becomes.

At Botti Marinaccio, LTD., our legal team is well aware of these tragic statistics. If you are a victim, a family lawyer from our firm may be able to help you take legal action against your abuser.

The Effects of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence can result in complex psychological damage for the women who are its victims. Many times, they do not want their abuser arrested and jailed; they only want the abuse to stop. As a result, many victims suffer in silence for years, not sharing with anyone the abuse they are experiencing. Restraining orders can be obtained to keep the abuser away from the victim, but victims need to depend on police departments and the court system to uphold those orders.

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oak brook divorce lawyerIt is fairly common when a person is going through a divorce to vent about their frustrations about their soon-to-be-ex on social media. Many people who do this believe that since they are in control of their privacy setting, what they are posting is not “public” view, not realizing that their spouse’s attorney can actually gain legal access to these posts if they feel it would be useful evidence in the divorce. This is why it is important to be cognizant of everything you post since it could end up costing you money or even parenting time.

Understanding the Full Scope of Social Media

One of the biggest misconceptions people have about social media evidence is that they think it only applies to sites like Facebook and Instagram when it comes to divorce. However, even things like emails, text messages, and any other forms of electronic communication can be used. Whether communication is sent or viewed on a laptop or a cell phone, a family court judge can allow it to be introduced as evidence.

Text messages and private messages are especially common forms of divorce evidence. In fact, in a well-known survey conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML), 97 percent of all attorneys surveyed said they had seen a significant increase in the use of text messages in divorce cases they handled.

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oak brook divorce lawyerMany people would like to believe that once their divorce decree is final, they will never have to deal with their ex in a courtroom again. The truth of the matter, however, is that there are several issues that could come up that may necessitate a modification to the couple’s divorce judgment. Whatever the reason for the modification petition, there are requirements set forth by the state of Illinois that must be shown to the court to be granted the requested modification.

What Can Be Modified?

Under Illinois law, almost every part of a divorce decree can be modified if sufficient evidence is shown for its necessity. In the majority of cases, changes are requested due to alterations in living conditions, such as the loss of a job or a relocation. Generally, however, the most common type of change requested is support modification. In Illinois, child support, in particular, is often the subject of modification requests.

To have a modification granted, the individual requesting the change must show a substantial change in circumstances. That substantial change must be shown even if your situation is in dire need of adjustment, because without that requirement, in theory, any spouse could just appear in court and demand a change without justification.

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oak brook family law attorneyIn today’s society, we see all types of blended families. There are often many different people who are involved in the raising of a child, including stepparents and grandparents. Unfortunately, it is also not uncommon for there to be a change in familial circumstances and because of the wishes of the child’s biological parents or other legal issues, these adults find themselves shut out of the child’s life. In some circumstances, they may have legal recourse under Illinois law.

Visitation and Blood Relatives

Under current Illinois law, a non-custodial parent is entitled to reasonable visitation rights unless the court determines visits would be determinantal or dangerous to the child’s wellbeing. The only other familial relations that the law recognizes as having a right to apply for visitation are grandparents and siblings (including stepsiblings).  

In order to obtain legal visitation rights, the grandparent or sibling needs to petition the court for visitation. However, the law does have stringent limitations under which those visitations can be granted, regardless of prior living situations or relationships the child had with the adult who is filing the petition:

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illinois divorce lawyerIt is not uncommon after a divorce for one parent or the other to make the decision to move from the area they were living in while the divorce was taking place. If the move will only be in the same municipality or close by, then it should not pose any issues regarding the parenting plan that the ex-spouses have. But how do Illinois courts address parental relocation when one parent wants to move further away, and how much say does the other parent have?

Moving Versus Parental Relocation

Under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), there is a specific geographical radius a parent may move with their children without needing the court's permission prior to that move. However, if the planned move is outside the specific radius, then the parent must give proper notice to the other parent and the court, depending on the proposed relocation.

If the parent is moving from a residence in that is further than 25 miles from the child’s current residence in the following counties, they must seek permission:

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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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Botti Marinaccio, LTD.

630-575-8585

2015 Spring Road, Oak Brook, IL 60523

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