Divorces can be difficult, even under the best of circumstances, such as when both spouses come to the mutual decision to part ways. Dividing up property and assets may have its challenges, and in some cases, subpoenas might be necessary during the discovery phase of your divorce. This part of the process involves full financial disclosure by each spouse of all marital and non-marital assets and the income you both earn. If you believe your spouse is not being completely honest, an attorney can use various methods to uncover the truth. According to Illinois law, attorneys are allowed to issue subpoenas, which are basically formal requests from attorneys. The recipients of these legal documents must comply with them by law. The term subpoena means “under penalty.” Subpoenas can play crucial roles in ensuring both spouses receive their fair share of the marital estate.
In order to initiate a divorce in Illinois, one spouse must file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. The receiving spouse (respondent) is required to file a response to the petition. Both parties need to make sure their divorce papers are filed with the court and properly served or delivered to the other spouse. Next, either side can serve discovery requests and the court can issue orders regarding the disclosure of pertinent information and documents....
The divorce rate among those over 50 has skyrocketed in the past several years compared to decades ago. This is partly due to the fact that people are living longer in general, and they want to enjoy the time they have left instead of being in a toxic or loveless relationship. In addition, many couples who are unhappy may put off filing for divorce until their kids are grown. They think their children may be better equipped to handle the news later in life. However, this is not always realistic. Although younger kids may have a more difficult time understanding the reasons why mom and dad are splitting up, older children may suffer just as much emotional trauma. Questioning everything they thought to be true, older kids may have trouble accepting their parents’ divorce.
Honesty Is the Best Policy
Telling your children that you and your spouse are getting a divorce is not going to be easy, even if you both came to the decision mutually after careful consideration. If you went to marriage counseling over the years, your kids may still be shocked at the news. Although they may have suspected you had problems, deep down they had hoped for a reconciliation and a long future together....
During the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we live. While many businesses shuttered temporarily to stop the spread of the highly contagious virus, other companies have allowed their employees to work remotely from home. Likewise, many school districts have switched to online learning, so more people are home now than they would be normally. Some divorced parents are finding their income significantly reduced if their position was eliminated completely and they had to file for unemployment. With such a disruption to everyone’s regular routines, you may be wondering if you can modify your existing divorce orders, including child support, parenting time, and child custody. Under Illinois law, you can amend these types of orders depending on the circumstances.
Continuing to find ways to support your children after you get divorced can be very challenging, especially if you and your ex-spouse do not see eye to eye on certain matters. Illinois law requires divorcing parents to come to an agreement on the allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody) and parenting time (visitation). This parenting plan also includes who will have the authority to make decisions about the children’s educational opportunities and extracurricular activities such as sports, music, or theater. If the parents cannot reach an agreement, a judge will make decisions based on several factors, including the financial status of the spouses and the well-being of the children....
In today’s world, there is no such thing as a “typical” divorce. There are many ways a couple can end their marriage, and the outcomes will vary depending on the needs of each family. Some families are still traditional in the sense that the mother is the primary caregiver and is the one who spends the most time with the children. In other families, fathers are much more involved in the daily responsibilities of raising their children, which can cause tension and stress when it comes to making child-centered decisions during a divorce.
Though the law states that mothers and fathers should be treated equally, fathers are sometimes still seen as “second-class” parents, and some dads feel that they are not given the same consideration as mothers when it comes to issues such as parenting time. Divorce can be difficult for everyone, but its negative effects may be especially worrisome for fathers. Here are a few tips to help dads aim for success during and after a divorce:
Tip #1: Be Proactive
When you are involved in a custody dispute that requires intervention from the court, matters can quickly become complicated. You will need to prove to the judge that you deserve to have just as much parenting time as your former partner, if not more. To demonstrate this, you will need to be involved in your children’s lives, and be sure to confer with the other parent about things like doctor’s appointments, extracurricular activities, and school progress. The goal is to prove to the Judge that you contribute more to your children’s lives than just picking them up and dropping them off....
Most couples will experience some sort of conflict during a divorce. For many couples, the asset division process is one of the topics that bring about the most conflict. Prevailing during this process is important, because it can determine how financially stable you are after the divorce, and it can also affect your finances into the future. For many people, their retirement savings are among their most valuable assets.
In Illinois, retirement funds are considered to be marital property as long as they were acquired during the marriage. Marital assets may include individual retirement accounts, non-qualified plans, defined contribution plans and accounts, and pension benefits. These retirement funds must be divided between divorcing spouses, which can become tricky. In most cases, this is done using a Qualified Domestic Relations Order or QDRO.
What Is a QDRO?
A QDRO is a legal document that defines how retirement assets will be split between spouses. It acts as a set of instructions to use when the time comes to disburse retirement benefits from qualified retirement plans, such as a 401(k). Using a QDRO to transfer these funds will allow ex-spouses to avoid taxes on these amounts or penalties for withdrawing funds before reaching retirement age...
Couples get divorced for many reasons. Maybe you and your spouse have realized that you are two very different people who want very different things. Maybe you still love each other, but you have grown apart. Or, maybe some other type of conflict has occurred, such as infidelity or financial issues. Whatever the reason for the divorce might be, you and your spouse will probably not be on the best of terms.
Unfortunately, couples often experience contentious divorces, and issues involving children are often some of the most difficult matters to resolve. Sometimes, children can be caught in the crossfire of marital conflicts. However, there are a few things you can to help protect your children as much as possible during your divorce.
#1: Do Not Fight in Front of the Children
One of the most detrimental things children can experience is to witness their parents constantly fighting and arguing. High levels of conflict can create a sense of tension and unhappiness in the home, and this can manifest negatively in children. Kids who observe their parents’ arguments are more prone to behavioral problems and emotional issues. During your divorce, you should do your best to avoid arguing in front of your children, and you should not force them to take sides or ask them to relay messages between you and your spouse....
Everyone knows that raising children can be expensive. The costs of food, clothing, toys, and other needs can add up quickly. In fact, it is now estimated that the average cost of raising and supporting a child to age 18 is around $233,610, according to a 2017 U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) study. While this may not seem to all that much when spread out over 18 years, it can still be difficult for one parent to pay for all of the costs of raising a child. This is why child support is typically ordered in cases in which parents are divorced or separated, ensuring that both parents are responsible for financially providing for a child’s needs.
Extra Costs of Raising a Child
In Illinois, a basic child support obligation is typically determined during a divorce case, and this is meant to account for all of the child’s basic needs, such as food, clothing, and housing. However, any parent knows that there are many more expenses involved in raising a child. With this in mind, Illinois law also has provisions to account for other child-related expenses, such as:
- Education: A court can order one or both parents to provide for a child’s school tuition. If the child was already attending private school or has been in private school for the majority of their educational career, they will likely be allowed to continue their private school education, and the costs of tuition will be divided between the parents. Parents may also be required to divide other school-related costs, such as registration fees or expenses related to school supplies.
- Child-Care Expenses: Paying for daycare while parents are working can become expensive. Illinois courts can order one or both parents to contribute to “reasonable child care expenses” for the child, which can be payable to one of the parents or directly to the child care institution. The costs for child care will most likely be prorated in accordance with each spouse’s percentage of the combined household income.
- Extracurricular Activities: As with schooling expenses, Illinois courts may require parents to divide the costs of the other activities in which the children participate. The court can order these expenses to be covered as long as the activities are intended to enhance the educational, athletic, social, or cultural development of the child.
- Health Care: A portion of the basic child support obligation is intended to cover some of the out-of-pocket costs associated with health care. The court can also order either parent to initiate or continue health care coverage for the child through their own health insurance plans, and the costs of health insurance premiums will typically be divided between the parents. Based on the needs of the child, the court can also order each parent to contribute toward other health care costs.
Contact an Arlington Heights Child Support Lawyer
Raising a child is no easy task. Doing so can put a strain on both your finances and your emotions, but it is one of the most rewarding things in the world. If you are wondering how your child’s expenses will be taken care of after your divorce, contact an experienced Barrington family law attorney at the Law Office of Nicholas W. Richardson. Mr. Richardson has more than 15 years of family law experience, and he can help you address and resolve any child-related issues you may have. Our firm offers free consultations, so call 847-873-6741 to schedule an appointment today....
When you are facing the possibility of a divorce, you are likely to have many questions. Where will you live? Who will get the furniture? How will you share parenting responsibilities for your children? All of these, of course, are very valid questions. Many who are considering a divorce may also wonder if they will be ordered to pay alimony—known as “spousal maintenance” under Illinois law. If you are headed for a divorce, it is important to understand how maintenance-related decisions are made in Illinois.
A Brief Background
Spousal maintenance, in general, is intended to help minimize the effects of a divorce on a spouse who is at a comparative financial disadvantage. In previous generations, alimony payments were practically standard in most divorce cases, because a significant percentage of households relied on the income of just one spouse—most often the husband. Meanwhile, the other spouse—most often the wife—usually worked substantially less, if she worked at all. Instead, her primary role was to maintain the family home and care for the couple's children.
When this type of “traditional” couple got divorced, it was effectively impossible for the spouse with hardly any income to support herself, especially if she was given primary custody of the children. As a result, the couple’s divorce judgment generally contained provisions that required the higher-earning spouse to make support payments. Such payments could be temporary or permanent based on whether the lower-earning spouse could eventually support herself....
Couples who are considering getting a divorce have another option besides permanently dissolving their marriages. For some couples, a divorce is necessary and in their best interests, but for others, a legal separation may be a better solution. Legal separation shares some similarities with divorce, but it has certain differences, as well as some unique benefits.
Legal Separation Basics
In legal separation cases, a couple who is no longer living together has the option to make arrangements for property division and parental responsibilities without actually filing for divorce. The couple will remain legally married, and thus cannot remarry until a formal divorce has been finalized; however, each spouse will be granted certain rights, protections, and privileges when it comes to debts, assets, and children. Additionally, maintenance and child support concerns are typically discussed during legal separation proceedings. Couples may choose to divide marital property during the proceedings, but they can also delay these negotiations until a formal divorce is filed.
Illinois law requires that the couple be living apart to file for legal separation. Either spouse may file, and either spouse may ask the Court for “reasonable support and maintenance” while the pair is living apart. It is important to note that the Court will enter orders for maintenance, child support, and parental responsibilities, if necessary, but the Court will not order the division of marital property in a legal separation. An agreement between the spouses, however, may be approved by the Court....
There are a wide variety of reasons why you and your child’s other parent may not live in the same home. Following your break-up or divorce, you and the other parent will need to develop a cooperative parenting plan that outlines each of your responsibilities regarding your child. As part of your plan, you will also need to include direction over the time that each of you will get to spend with your child. Once known as visitation, the law in Illinois now refers to this as parenting time and recognizes the importance of quality parenting time in helping to foster a strong relationship between the child and both parents.
Get It in Writing and Get It Approved
If you are or were married to the other parent, Illinois law mandates that your divorce agreement will need to account for your child. The court will not enter a finalized divorce judgment until there is an approved parenting plan in place or, if necessary, an order for the allocation of parental responsibilities has been issued.
But what if you and the other parent were never married? While children born outside of marriage are far from uncommon, there are often more complex considerations needed to be sure that each parents’ rights are protected. Presuming paternity is not in question, and you have voluntarily acknowledged your parentage, the two of you will need to develop a parenting plan and a schedule for parenting time. No matter how rocky your relationship with the other parent may be, you are entitled to reasonable rights of parenting time....
If you are facing the possibility of a divorce, you and your spouse will need to address a number of important considerations along the way. For example, one or both of you will likely need to find someplace to live. If the two of you have children together, a parenting plan will need to be developed that includes arrangements for the allocation of parental responsibilities and each parent’s parenting time. Simply adjusting to everyday life as a single person is likely to present challenges in and of itself. However, many of the most difficult concerns in any divorce tend to focus on a couple’s finances, including how their marital property will be split and whether either spouse should expect spousal support payments.
Property Division and Maintenance Considerations
The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (750 ILCS 5) provides that decisions about money and property in an Illinois divorce are to be made based on the circumstances of each unique case. If you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse cannot come to a settlement agreement, it will be up to the court to identify and divide the marital estate, as well as to decide if there is a need for spousal support – known in the law as “maintenance.” In making these decisions, a family court judge is required by law to consider a variety of factors related to each. Such factors include:
- Each spouse’s income, earning capacity, and available resources
- The role each spouse played during the marriage, how that role affected the value of the marital property, and its effect on the earning ability of the other spouse
- How long the marriage lasted and the standard of living established in the marriage
- How maintenance and allocated property will affect each spouse’s tax obligations
- How parenting responsibilities are being divided
- Any valid agreements between the spouses, including prenuptial and postnuptial agreements
Putting the Pieces Together
Illinois law also directs a presiding judge to take into account the overall financial situation present during the marriage, as well as in the pending divorce. It is important to recognize that the asset division process and spousal support determinations are not independent considerations. In fact, the law specifies that each might affect the other. For example, if you have asked for spousal support in your divorce, and the court is deciding on how to divide your marital estate, the judge is statutorily obligated to consider whether property should be given to you “in lieu of or in addition to maintenance.”...
Divorce is an extremely emotional process that will affect almost every aspect of your life. The financial impact of divorce can leave some recently divorced individuals unsure of how to proceed. Getting a divorce is expensive and you may find that you have a much tighter budget afterward as well as additional ongoing costs, such as spousal maintenance or child support. When going through a divorce, it is crucial to take important steps that will protect your finances and help you start off your new life on the right foot.
Document All Marital Property
Illinois is an equitable distribution state that means that property in a divorce is divided fairly, but not necessarily equally. A judge will consider a number of factors when dividing marital property including the contribution of each spouse to the marriage, financial stability, and other factors. Marital property includes any assets that were obtained by the couple during the marriage. It is important to document all assets, debts, and other marital property so you can ensure all assets are accounted for....
Recently, English actress Danniella Westbrook and former husband Kevin Jenkins finally got a divorce after living apart for six years. Westbrook took to Twitter on Jenkins’ birthday to suggest that the perfect present would be to get a divorce since the pair had been separated for five years.
Although it is true that some people wait years before making a divorce final, most people want the entire process over with as soon as possible. After all, divorce can be messy and expensive, so few want it to drag on unnecessarily. Luckily, there are a few steps that you can take to shorten the length of your divorce proceedings.
Illinois’ Waiting Period
The waiting period to get a divorce in Illinois is six months, meaning that once you file your paperwork with the court, you typically have to wait a minimum of six months before the divorce is final. When Illinois allowed for grounds of fault, that waiting period was extended to two years, unless the two parties agreed to waive it and lived separate and apart for two years. However, now that Illinois solely recognizes no-fault divorce, there is only a six-month waiting period....
Dividing the marital home is a large part of many divorces and this is an extremely complex process. Couples typically have three choices when dividing the home—they can continue to be co-owners, one spouse may solely keep the home, or the couple can sell the home and divide the proceeds fairly. Regardless of the option the couple chooses, or a judge decides during property division hearings, it is important to have a professional appraisal performed on the home so everyone is aware of its current market value.
Reasons to Get an Appraisal
You may think you can estimate how much your home is worth but that number may not be accurate. Having a professional appraisal done on your home will provide you with a concrete number you can use when dividing or selling your house. This will also help avoid disputes if you and your spouse cannot agree on the value. If a dispute does arise about the value of the home, a family law judge may order you to have the home appraised anyway. Already having an appraisal in hand can help the divorce process move quicker. The value of homes changes regularly, depending on market conditions and the condition of the overall property. So, unless you have had it appraised very recently, your home’s value may have changed since your last appraisal....
If you are getting a divorce, you must make decisions based on reliable information. Unfortunately, there are many myths surrounding divorce in Illinois and the various issues people face during the process, such as child custody, visitation, and the division of marital assets. When going through the divorce process, recognize the common divorce myths that you may hear and understand the truth behind them.
You Must Prove Fault in a Divorce
When first considering divorce, you may think that you have to prove your spouse is at fault for the breakdown of the marriage. Oftentimes, the ending of the marriage is not anyone’s fault, people simply fall out of love or want to go in different directions. Fortunately, the only type of divorce you can file in Illinois is known as a no-fault divorce, which means you only have to state that the marital relationship has broken down and there is no chance of reconciliation. So, even if neither you nor your spouse was at fault for the divorce, you can still file to legally end your marriage....
There are more than 200 classified forms of mental illness, many of which do not affect your capabilities as a parent. However, you may be concerned that a diagnosis will affect your child custody case when going through a divorce. Generally speaking, suffering from mental health issues is not enough for you to lose your parental responsibilities in Illinois. However, how you treat and manage your mental illness can have an impact on the outcome of the legal proceedings. That is why it is critical to seek the legal guidance of a knowledgeable divorce attorney who can help protect your parental rights.
Factors Determining Child Custody in Illinois
A judge will consider several factors when determining child custody, also known as the allocation of parental responsibilities, under Illinois law. All of these factors center around what is in the best interests of the child. There are a number of issues a judge will take into consideration, including the following:...
Divorce can be an emotional process, and it also involves a wide variety of legal issues that can be difficult to understand. Both of these factors can cause people to make mistakes that may not only result in unfavorable decisions, but they can also make the divorce process more expensive. If you are going through a divorce, avoiding the following mistakes is crucial in order to protect your financial interests and future.
The stress of separating from your partner, when combined with the anger, sadness, or resentment you may be feeling, can result in fights that will not help your case. For example, you may argue about certain marital property based on a desire to win arguments with your spouse rather than out of a real need to keep these assets. Doing this can draw out the divorce process unnecessarily, resulting in higher costs that may leave you in a more difficult financial position following your divorce. While you may have to fight for what is rightfully yours, you should be sure to understand when these types of disputes will be necessary, and when they will be financially beneficial....
Recently, Kelly Clarkson filed for divorce from her husband, Brandon Blackstock, after nearly seven years of marriage. Clarkson is worth an estimated $45 million and is stating that she wants her prenuptial agreement enforced. Reportedly, the prenup outlines an arrangement for legal and physical joint custody of their children, and Clarkson is asking the court to terminate Blackstock’s right to ask for spousal support. The case was filed in a Los Angeles court, but would the court approve her requests if she filed in Illinois? How can you ensure that your premarital agreement is enforced in the Prairie State?
What Makes a Prenup Invalid in Illinois?
Generally speaking, premarital agreements in Illinois are enforceable as long as the agreement is in writing and both parties have willingly signed it. However, there are instances in which a premarital agreement may not be enforced. These include:...
During your divorce, you will want to be sure you are working with an attorney who is the right person for your case. In some situations, you may have personality conflicts with your divorce lawyer, or the trust or confidence in your attorney may have broken down. If you are not receiving the legal help you need, you may ask yourself if you should change divorce lawyers. However, before ending your relationship with your lawyer and hiring someone else to represent you, you should be aware of some important considerations.
Reasons to Look for a New Lawyer
There are many reasons you may want to change the divorce lawyer who is working on your case. These include:...
Property division is often one of the most contentious aspects of a divorce, particularly when it comes to the family home. You and your spouse will need to determine who will own your marital home, and many factors may come into play when making that decision. To help you decide what to do with the family home in your divorce, you can ask yourself the following questions:
Is the Home Separate or Marital Property?
In many situations, a husband and wife will purchase a home together after they have gotten married. If this is the case, the home is marital property, and it must therefore be included in the property division process during divorce. Illinois is an equitable distribution state, which means the home’s equity is subject to being divided between spouses. In some cases, one spouse will keep the home, while the other will receive other property of similar value. In other cases, the home may be sold, and the proceeds will be divided between the spouses.
If one spouse owned a home before getting married, it will likely be considered separate property and may not be subject to Illinois’ property division rules. However, if one spouse made contributions to a house owned by the other spouse, such as by sharing in mortgage payments or assisting with improvements that increased the value of the property, that spouse may be reimbursed for their contributions to non-marital property....