Recent blog posts

Rolling Meadows family law attorney, child custody disputes, child custody decisions, parental responsibilities, parenting timeChild custody is never an easy issue to resolve, even when parents form their own agreement, because the issue is intricately tied to powerful emotions and relationships that are central to the family structure. Settling parenting responsibilities on the heels of divorce becomes even more complex if the Court is asked to decide an arrangement that will govern future interactions.

Sometimes, when parents experience high amounts of conflict, or have legitimate concerns about the child’s welfare, Court intervention is necessary. Because of the importance of child custody, the impartiality of the Judge overseeing the disposition of the case is crucial.

Historically, and according to gender stereotypes, women are traditionally seen as the parent most suited to taking the primary role of caretaker in divorce, with the father receiving much less parenting time comparatively. Recent research into the gender bias affecting the Court system showed that Judges were highly prone to injecting personal bias into child custody decisions that favored the mother, and discouraged the father from taking a meaningful role as caretaker.

...

Schaumburg family law attorney, property division, marital property, real estate sales, property settlementsNo one wants to give up an item he or she worked hard to acquire, but divorce requires both spouses to relinquish a portion of the assets accumulated during marriage. Still, agreeing on an acceptable division of property is a huge challenge for many divorcing couples.

Illinois law requires property division to be equitable or fair. This often means spouses receive roughly equal amounts; however, the final outcome will depend upon the Court’s evaluation of factors that examine the circumstances of the marriage and the financial position of each party. While a Judge can settle the issue if requested, couples may be better off finding a private compromise in cases of extreme disagreement.

Personal items and collectibles can be particularly hard to divide due to the sentimentality people often attach to them. One example of a creative solution to this dilemma is the auction Russell Crowe plans to have as part of the divorce settlement he will pay to his soon-to-be ex-wife.

...

Schaumburg family law attorney, domestic violence, divorce process, protective orders, parenting timeDomestic violence is a tragic and intolerable situation experienced by millions of spouses each year, and attempting to leave a marriage by filing for divorce can be complicated by potential retaliation from the abuser and a general fear about the circumstances. Officials recognize the hardships faced by spouses in such a relationship. Thus, they provide the ability to get protection from the abusive individual, so other legal steps, like divorce, become viable options that allow more permanent ways to sever ties.

The persistent dangers of domestic violence are apparent in a recent news story out of the Rockford Register Star that discusses the disappearance of three individuals — a married couple with domestic violence issues that was in the process of divorce, and the wife’s new boyfriend. The likelihood of foul play in this situation is high and underscores the need to take decisive action as soon as possible to avoid a worst case scenario.

Protection Order

...

Posted on in Divorce

divorce agreement, divorce settlement, divorce decree, Hoffman estates family law lawyer, parental responsibilitiesWhen parents decide to divorce, the process consists of more than simply deciding who will move out and how time with their children will be shared. The heart of any divorce decree is the settlement that outlines how a couple will address support, property division and child custody. Settling these issues is pivotal to concluding this process. However, due to the sensitive nature, these issues are some of the most difficult matters a person will ever consider.

Courts can be tasked with creating a settlement; however, they will be restricted by the confines of the law and the Judge’s limited knowledge about the parties’ needs and expectations. A better alternative is to negotiate a private settlement agreement that serves to keep the details of the divorce confidential and grants spouses more control over the outcome. Couples tend to underestimate how much work these endeavors require, as well as the approach most likely to lead to a fair and workable agreement.

What Goes into a Divorce Settlement?

...

Posted on in Divorce

start of divorce, divorce process, divorce and finances, marital property, children and divorceThe road to divorce is rarely straight and clear and often involves a number of deviations and recalibrations as couples try to work through difficulties. When divorce is imminent, spouses may think that the hard part of the process is over. Yet while ending a marriage is extremely painful and complicated, deciding to move on is the just first step.

A spouse can certainly walk into a divorce attorney’s office without doing anything more than deciding to divorce, even before telling the other spouse. However, entering the divorce process without significant advance planning is likely to set a person up for a much harder transition, as well as a longer period of time to conclude the divorce case.

Taking the time to put key pieces of information together will allow consultations with a divorce attorney to be more productive and will make obtaining the result a person may want much easier. This approach may appear to involve more work than anticipated, but walking into the process without a clear picture of one’s starting position can greatly complicate things.

...

discovery in divorce, Hoffman Estates family law attorney, divorce process, divorce requirementsWhen couples think about divorce, they usually focus on the emotional and financial repercussions of the decision and leave the procedural and legal requirements to a divorce attorney. Spouses generally have an idea about the need to produce and submit certain documents to the Court so the case can proceed. However, they may not realize that the other side is also entitled to request, and if necessary forcibly demand, the production of information as a routine part of divorce. This process is referred to as discovery, and typically takes the most time, resources and expenses to complete. In fact, this step is a necessary prelude to negotiation; therefore, any meaningful advancement of a divorce petition hinges on successfully completing this part of the process.

In an unusual move, a California U.S. Representative is seeking to depose a representative in Ohio in connection with his divorce case, which includes allegations of adulterous behavior. Given how integral discovery is to the progression and completion of a divorce case, understanding how this process works and the underlying purpose is an important part of moving through this transition as seamlessly as possible.

The Purpose of Discovery

...

Posted on in Divorce

division of property, Schaumburg family law attorney, engagement ring, marital property, non-marital propertyWhen a couple decides to marry, no object is more symbolic of this commitment than an engagement ring. The level of commitment this piece of jewelry represents is reflected in the thousands of dollars typically spent. Consequently, if the marriage does not occur, or the relationship ends in divorce, the purchaser of the engagement may want the item back, particularly if the piece of jewelry is a family heirloom. However, the receiver may conceivably view the ring as a gift that was freely given, and thus, not necessary to return. 

These differing points of view can add more tension to an already combustible situation, and while filing a lawsuit to demand the return of the ring may seem tempting, resolving the situation privately is best for reducing additional emotional pain and unnecessary expense. However, in the context of divorce, fighting over a ring is often connected with the bigger question of which assets are considered marital property. An engagement ring, though, maintains a unique status under the law, and thus the right to possession is treated somewhat differently than other kinds of gifts.

Keeping Gifts Generally

...

Hoffman Estates divorce attorney, marital assets, dissipation of marital assets,  property division,  equitable distributionA large and overarching issue in many divorce cases is the division of assets and more specifically, what to do with the marital home. This asset has a lot of sentimental value. Often, the marital home represents a substantial portion of a couple’s net worth. Couples should attempt to settle this issue without the Court’s involvement.

The importance of resolving this issue in the best possible way is quite high, as the outcome is typically tied to the future financial security of both spouses. However, if mutual agreement is not forthcoming, looking to a Court to decide the matter is usually the next step.

Equitable Distribution

...

Inverness family law attorney, property division, divorce and retirement benefits, equitable division, retirement incomeOne event that has reverberating and long-term effects on an individual’s ability to implement and maintain a viable plan for retirement is divorce. Divorce is one of the single most financially damaging events a person may experience. In order to mitigate the negative consequences, one needs to understand how retirement benefits fit within the division of property generally and the specific rules that govern how Courts may treat these benefits. Dividing retirement benefits is frequently much more complicated than other assets because of the numerous laws and regulations that control when and how they may be transferred and accessed.

Property Division Generally

Illinois, like many other states, follows a standard for dividing property in divorce called equitable division. This standard requires all marital property to be distributed according to what is most fair under the circumstances. Hence, not all divorces will result in an equal split of assets and liabilities.

...

Schaumberg family law attorney, file for divorce, contested divorce, Illinois divorce process, divorce courtMany considerations go into the decision to get divorced; family, finances and personal happiness are important drivers. Making this momentous decision often feels like the hardest part of the process; however, deciding to divorce is just the first of many decisions couples must make as they transition to single adulthood.

One of the earliest and most important decisions in the divorce process is where to file the case. For many couples, this issue is not terribly complicated if both parties live in close proximity. Yet knowing where to file is not so straightforward for those who live in different states or in different parts of the same state.

One example of how contested this issue can become is seen in the highly contested divorce case of former House Representative Jesse Jackson, Jr., who is in the middle of a months-long battle with his wife, former Chicago Alderman Sandi Jackson, over whether the divorce should be granted in Illinois or Washington, D.C.

...

Posted on in Divorce

Inverness family law attorney, divorce settlement, family law litigation, divorce negotiation, collaborative divorceInitiating the divorce process, once the decision to end a marriage has been made, can quickly overwhelm many people. Divorce is unavoidably emotional, and adding in the often-mysterious legal process to achieve an uncomfortable end can be daunting. The traditional image of a bitter and protracted trial to resolve disputed issues does not help alleviate this natural trepidation. Negotiating a private settlement is more naturally associated with divorces that have no or few issues to resolve. However, this much less contentious method of working through disagreements is also available for couples with complex matters to sort out, and may offer a better alternative in the long-run, compared with the restraints of letting a judge decide the outcome.

Former power couple Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin, who are likely to have a number of high-conflict issues, recently decided to take their divorce into private negotiations to avoid the spotlight of a public trial that serves as an example of the benefits of this process in hotly contested divorces. Consider the following information on how the negotiation process works, and important advantages this alternative has over litigation.

What Negotiation Looks Like

...

Posted on in Divorce

Palatine divorce attorney, digital assets, digital snooping, online accounts, divorce and social mediaPeople keep much of their personal and sensitive information online and often share accounts and passwords with partners and spouses. Sharing access tends to be more efficient for keeping up-to-date on personal and financial matters, but can become a point of concern if divorce or separation enter the picture. Because so much of one’s life exists exclusively in the digital realm, spouses getting divorced could use this knowledge to search for damaging information against the legal position of the other side.

Misconduct, evidence of infidelity or financial waste/theft are the primary concerns of spouses in the divorce process. Hiding such activity is distinctly more difficult in the transparent world of today. However, while the temptation to delve into the digital accounts of a spouse may exist, the ramifications of this choice, both legal and relational, should be taken into account so decisions are not later regretted.

How Snooping May Occur

...

Posted on in Divorce

Inverness family law attorney, cost of divorce, divorce and finances, attorney fees, collaborative divorceFinancially, divorce can be expensive. Hence, the cost can deter some spouses from pursuing the dissolution of marriage. Various costs associated with divorce are unavoidable, but generally, choosing a process other than litigation to accomplish the dissolution of the marriage can greatly reduce the overall financial outlay. Such financial considerations may be of high importance if there is significant concern over maintaining financial stability after divorce.

Mediation and collaborative divorce give spouses more control over what expenses are incurred, and more easily allow couples to share costs. These options also give the parties more control over the outcome. Further, if a divorce is uncontested, i.e., all relevant issues are settled, the costs are relatively minimal. However, the more traditional route to divorce through litigation is sometimes necessary if the parties want very different outcomes, or if concerns over misconduct/misrepresentation are present.

Since one spouse is typically at a financial disadvantage, the prospect of litigation can be daunting, and potentially push him or her to agree to a quick settlement to avoid high legal fees and Court costs.

...

establishing paternity, parental rights, Palatine family law attorney, young parents, parentagePaternity is a process unmarried men must go through to gain legal recognition as a child’s parent in order to receive and assume all of the associated rights and obligations. Parenthood can be a daunting responsibility, and sometimes young men and women facing an unexpected pregnancy lack motivation or support for undertaking this central role.

Young men, in particular, may have a hard time adjusting to the news of an unexpected pregnancy, since they can more easily remove themselves from the situation. However, many young parents do want the chance to actively and responsibly raise their children. Young, single parents are at a particular disadvantage. However, a program offered by a Chicago-based organization, One United Hope, gives young parents parenting education and continuing support through in-home visits until a child is three years of age.

Young, unmarried fathers may not realize they do not automatically receive parental rights, despite the financial and physical efforts they provide to care for the child. Establishing paternity gives important rights to the father and provides critical financial benefits to the child meant to create a level of financial security until age 18.

...

federal tax reform, Schaumburg family law attorney, spousal maintenance awards, federal tax reform law, maintenance obligationsThe implications of divorce do not end when a marriage is formally dissolved. Parents must still interact with each other as they work to share custody in a manageable fashion. Moreover, the financial adjustments required as cash flow shifts to account for new expenses and reduced income are very necessary and long lasting.

A divorced individual’s tax liability is often directly impacted by divorce but frequently receives much less attention and consideration in the settlement process than this issue deserves. How property distribution and the method of disposition is structured, as well as support paid and received by each party, can produce serious tax consequences in the short- and long- term.

Spousal maintenance, or alimony, is an area that is particularly affected by the tax rules, and changes to the federal tax reform law are primed to directly influence how divorcing couples handle this already contentious issue.

...

allocating parental responsibilities, Hoffman Estates family law attorney, parental rights, temporary custody order, emergency temporary custody orderTaking care of a child’s needs during the divorce process is challenging and not always easy to ascertain. If the parents are experiencing a high amount of conflict, this can compound and complicate how a parent should approach protecting his or her child from negative consequences. Depending on the source of the conflict, requesting a Court implement a temporary order allocating parental responsibilities (how Courts now refer to child custody matters) may be necessary to protect the child’s wellbeing. In addition, emergency motions governing parental access and/or authority over the child may also be filed if there is an immediate threat to the child’s health or safety.

While not uncommon, requests for temporary custody arrangements are not a standard practice in divorce cases, and Courts will expect to see some basis for such a request, and ideally, some agreement on the terms. Actress Jennifer Hudson is currently battling over custody of her son, and recently agreed to give her ex-fiancé temporary custody due to her work-related travel schedule that left the father as the primary caretaker, in spite of a previous protective order for physical and emotional abuse.

Consider the following information regarding how Courts evaluate requests for temporary custody, and how these orders can influence the terms of the final child custody.

...

parenting responsibilities, Schaumburg divorce attorney, child custody, split parenting time, equal parenting timeHaving an active and important role in a child’s life is the principal goal and priority of parents. However, maintaining this level of involvement can become tricky after divorce when child custody, or, as custody is now called, parental responsibility, determines when and how much time each parent has with the child. Children generally have less negative long-term effects from a divorce if both parents remain a continuing and supportive aspect of their lives.

A group of fathers in Illinois think the current laws on child custody often leave them with a much smaller opportunity to see and engage with their child on a regular basis when a Judge decides this issue. In hopes of changing this perceived paradigm, the Illinois Fathers for Equality is currently pushing for the passage of a law that would favor splitting responsibilities between parents 50/50.

Proposed Revisions to Child Custody Law

...

Schaumburg family law attorney, divorce case, litigated divorce, Family Court, divorce processDivorce is a process full of issues that can push a couple into heated disputes. The matters that must be settled are central to a person’s well being and the life of his or her child. Thus, resolving these issues through mediation or the collaborative process is not always an option.

If less contentious alternatives to litigation have any chance at working, each party must approach the process willing to engage in some amount of compromise, and hold reasonable expectations for the settlement he or she is willing to accept. Unfortunately, some spouses enter divorce with a hard stance that the other side is unable to persuade to compromise.

Additionally, other cases involve disputes where each party holds views that cannot be jointly reconciled. In these situations, litigation may be the only viable option for resolving a disagreement, and understanding the various stages of a typical litigated divorce should help spouses recognize the complexity involved and could even spur some to reconsider attempting a negotiated settlement.

...

property division, marital assets, asset valuation, Barrington divorce attorney, divorce processThe variety of items married couples accumulate is often large and expansive, with each spouse typically holding a stronger attachment for certain things over others. Some items are purchased, while other items may come through a gift or sheer chance. Deciding how to divide these items in divorce creates the potential for considerable conflict. Certain assets may be easily identifiable as belonging to the marital estate; however, others, which may be highly valued, are easy to miss. One example of these less-obvious marital assets are season tickets for sporting events, concerts, theater and other entertainment-related occasions.

Typically, one spouse frequently holds particularly strong feelings about keeping certain tickets to the exclusion of the other party. Even if a spouse is not interested in keeping a season ticket package personally, he or she may still be entitled to portion of the value if the item qualifies as a marital asset. Various factors can affect how these types of assets are divided, including issues related to valuation.

Considerations for Options to Divide Tickets

...

visitation, child custody rights, Inverness family law attorney, non-parent custody, non-parent visitationProtecting a child from the harshness that life sometimes brings is a primary goal for parents, which requires exercising control over the things and people a child experiences. Parents are granted a lot of leeway in determining who has access to their child as individuals who legally and naturally hold child custody rights. This deference is based upon the presumption that parents are best suited to decide whether exposure to specific individuals is detrimental to their child. In practice, this means relatives and other significant adults may be blocked from communicating and/or seeing a child. Moreover, in most circumstances, Courts will not question this decision absent certain specific facts.

A parent’s decision to block or limit the access of another person often has much to do with the relationship the two persons share, as well as the parenting style used to raise the child. The question of whether a non-parent has the right to ask for visitation or custody rights depends on whether he or she has standing — a legal concept related to a party’s ability to ask a Court to settle a dispute.

Illinois law permits some non-parents to petition for custody or visitation if the natural parents are divorced or otherwise share parental responsibilities. These cases tend to be contentious because attempts to assert rights normally reserved for parents are frequently viewed as over-stepping well-established bounds, and put a parent in the role of having to defend his or her child rearing decisions.

...
 

Call Today at 847.873.6741 for Your FREE Initial Consultation

We Accept:Credit Cards

Address800 E. Northwest Highway, Suite 321, Palatine, IL 60074

Phone847.873.6741     Fax847.221.3626

Facebook Google+ LinkedIn

Resources Privacy Policy Disclaimer Sitemap

© 2018 The Law Office of Nicholas W. Richardson, P.C.
800 E. Northwest Highway, Suite 321, Palatine, IL 60074 | 847.873.6741

OVC Logo