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b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_252726718-min.jpg Divorced and unmarried parents of minor children in Illinois often rely on their child’s other parent to make timely child support payments. When the parent responsible for making payments falls behind on his or her payments or stops paying altogether, it can leave the receiving parent in a terrible bind. Parents who are desperate to get child support payments back may understandably want to escalate matters but may be reluctant to get a Court involved because they fear the expense and hassle that could ensue. 

Unfortunately, parents who stop following the parenting time schedule described in their Court-ordered parenting plan because of unpaid child support can face legal consequences, just as a parent who stops paying child support can. Instead, it is better to follow the law and allow a Court, with the help of an experienced attorney, to take action against someone whose child support payments are in arrears. 

Recovering Unpaid Child Support

Child support and parenting time are both contained within the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, but they are two separate statutes that are mostly decided independently of each other. While it is true that child support payments may be increased or decreased depending on the amount of time the paying parent spends with a child in shared parenting time scenarios, stopping one does not justify stopping the other.

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palatine divorce lawyerOver the course of many years of marriage, couples generally accumulate a large sum of money for retirement. Whether through careful saving and investment, working hard and earning a pension, or any combination of other investment strategies, Illinois couples depend upon their retirement plans to carry them throughout their later years. 

The prospect of divorce can feel very threatening to your retirement income, and rightfully so; marital assets must all be divided in divorce and this can leave both you and your spouse with more expenses and less resources. However, with careful planning, rigorous negotiation, and excellent legal representation, there are ways for you to protect your retirement goals during divorce. Here are three great steps to help you begin. 

Understand Your Retirement Plans and Administrative Rules

Couples often divide labor, leaving one spouse to manage certain parts of the household and one spouse to handle the rest. Finances are frequently managed by only one spouse, and if you are the spouse who is not very involved in handling money, now is the time to begin.

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palatine child support lawyerChild support payments help single and divorced parents cover child-related expenses. During these challenging times, financial assistance through child support is more important than ever. However, for various reasons, some parents stop paying child support. In some cases, a parent loses his or her job and can no longer afford support payments. Other parents are simply irresponsible or selfish and intentionally choose to ignore this important responsibility.

Whatever the cause, non-payment of child support is not taken lightly by Illinois Courts.

What to Do When a Parent Cannot or Will Not Pay Child Support

If you are an obligor, or payer, or child support and you cannot afford your current child support obligation, do not simply stop paying. The Court can take adverse actions against you, which will only make your situation worse. Depending on your circumstances, you may qualify for a child support order modification. For example, if you were laid off from your job and are genuinely trying to get a new job, you may be able to reduce your obligation for the time being.

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palatine divorce lawyerIf you share custody of your children with an ex-spouse and he or she wants to move away with the kids, you may be frustrated, worried, and unsure of what to do. Do I have a say in whether my ex moves?  Can I challenge a parental location in Illinois? It can be difficult to deal with a parental relocation if you are not sure what your legal options are. In this blog post, we will discuss parental relocation and how it is typically handled by the Court system. We will also provide some tips on how to challenge a parental location if you believe that it is not in the best interests of your children.

Parental Relocation Laws in Illinois

Moving to a new home can provide new opportunities and a fresh start. However, moves are not always in a child's best interests. Many divorced and unmarried parents worry that if the other parent moves away, it will negatively affect their relationship with their child. They may also worry that the child will struggle to adjust to a new home, school, neighborhood, and community.

Parents with the majority of the parenting time (formerly called the custodial parent) and parents in a shared parenting arrangement (relatively equal parenting time) must follow certain procedures to relocate. Under Illinois law, a parent who wants to move must notify the other parent of their plans and provide certain information, such as the address of the new home and a proposed parenting time schedule. If the other parent objects to the relocation, he or she can file a petition with the Court. The Court will then hold a hearing to determine whether the relocation is in the best interests of the child.

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palatine divorce lawyer Collaborative divorce is an alternative dispute resolution method divorcing couples can use to reach an agreement on the terms of their divorce. The collaborative process allows the spouses to negotiate issues such as the division of marital assets and debts, child custody, and spousal maintenance. Ideally, spouses can reach a settlement through the collaborative process and avoid the litigation process.

There are many benefits to the collaborative process. Spouses remain in control of the outcome of the divorce and keep the case out of Court. The process is also confidential, unlike many Court proceedings. Parents may find that working cooperatively during the collaborative divorce process also sets them up for a cooperative co-parenting relationship after the divorce. One of the most important benefits of a collaborative divorce is the insight provided by third-party professionals.

Collaborative Professionals Can Help You Reach a Mutually Agreeable Divorce Resolution

A collaborative divorce begins with each spouse retaining a collaborative attorney. The parties each have a lawyer who advises them and provides legal guidance, however, the attorneys are not pitted against each other. The attorneys are focused on negotiating a divorce resolution that both spouses agree to.

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palatine divorce lawyer Prenuptial agreements and premarital agreements allow engaged couples to define their financial rights and obligations before they get married. Most family law attorneys are seeing an increase in prenuptial agreements – especially among millennials. Modern couples are getting married later in life and often have significant assets, including business interests, cryptocurrency, and real estate. They may also have significant debts, including student loans and credit card debt.

A prenuptial agreement is a great way to protect financial interests and set the terms of spousal maintenance in the event of divorce. However, prenuptial agreements are not always enforceable by the court. This blog will discuss the requirements for prenuptial agreements in Illinois and some issues that can cause a prenuptial agreement to be unenforceable.

The Illinois Uniform Premarital Agreement Act

A prenuptial agreement provides a roadmap for how property and financial matters will be handled if the marriage ends through a divorce or the death of a spouse. Illinois courts follow the standards set forth in the Illinois Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (IUPAA): Illinois prenuptial agreements must be in writing. Each spouse must agree to the provisions in the agreement and sign the document.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_1482891575-min.jpgAny parent getting divorced worries about how the divorce will affect their children. Although divorce is common in our modern age, it still has massive repercussions for everyone in the family.  A parent may be especially concerned about how divorce will affect their child if the child has autism.

Children on the autism spectrum see the world through a different lens than those without the disorder. They are often highly sensitive and struggle to adapt to change. Some suffer from developmental delays, anxiety, or unpredictable mood swings. Others struggle to show emotion at all and appear completely disengaged from other people.

If your child has autism spectrum disorder (AUS) and you plan to end your marriage, it is important to plan the divorce with your child’s unique needs in mind.

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palatine divorce lawyerGetting divorced involves many specific procedures and processes. The petitioner is the spouse who files for divorce by submitting a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage to the Court. The respondent is the spouse who is served with divorce papers. The respondent has the opportunity to “respond” to the divorce petition and participate in the divorce proceedings. For example, the respondent may disagree with the petitioner’s choices regarding property division, parental responsibilities, or other divorce matters. Responding to the divorce petition gives the petitioner a chance to negotiate these issues with the other spouse and reach a settlement. If no agreement is reached, the case proceeds to trial, where a Judge makes a decision on the unresolved issues.

If a spouse forgoes his or her opportunity to participate in the divorce process, the Court may enter a default judgment against the spouse.

Default Judgments in Illinois Divorce Cases

Illinois law states that a respondent has 30 days to file an appearance and respond to a divorce summons. The respondent may request an extension. However, the respondent cannot prolong the divorce forever. If the respondent does not respond within the appropriate time frame, the petitioner may file a motion to hold the spouse in default. Essentially, filing a motion for a default divorce is asking the Court to proceed with the divorce case in the absence of the other spouse.

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palatine divorce lawyerIf we lived in a perfect world, every divorcing spouse would totally cooperate with the divorce process. They would freely provide the necessary documents, fully disclose their income and assets, and treat their soon-to-be-ex with respect and civility. Of course, we do not live in a perfect world. In reality, most divorce cases involve at least some degree of contention. In some cases, divorcing spouses refuse to cooperate or compromise, withhold important information, or hide assets.

Divorce discovery is the fact-finding aspect of a divorce case. Lawyers have many different legal tools at their disposal that they can use to obtain information and evidence in a divorce case. If you are getting divorced, it is important to know what to expect during divorce discovery.

Discovery Tools That May Be Used in Your Divorce

Each case is different, and divorce attorneys may use a variety of different legal tools and procedures to uncover information relevant to a case. Divorce discovery may involve:

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Wealth can complicate divorce significantly. Divorcing spouses with high-value assets may find themselves inundated with decisions during the divorce process. Should I keep the marital home? What about vacation properties? Do I have a right to a portion of my spouse’s business interests? Are investments and retirement accounts separate property or marital property? Questions like these can be confusing and overwhelming. If you are a high-net-worth individual getting divorced, reach out to an experienced high-net-worth divorce lawyer for help. Additionally, keep the following considerations in mind.

Tips for Divorce Involving Significant Wealth

Dissolving a marriage is even more complicated when one or both spouses have assets of significant value. The financial consequences of mistakes and oversights in a high-net-worth divorce are also amplified.

During a high asset divorce:

  • Do work with a divorce attorney experienced in complex property division and other high asset divorce concerns. High net worth divorce cases differ from typical divorce cases, and you will benefit by retaining a lawyer qualified to handle complicated financial and legal concerns. Your lawyer can help you make sound financial decisions that set you up for post-divorce success.
  • Do not let your emotions dictate your decision-making. Divorce can be an extremely emotional process. However, divorcing individuals must be careful not to let emotions get in the way of sensible decision-making.
  • Do make a comprehensive list of your assets, debts, and income sources. Taking a detailed inventory of your property and liabilities can put you in a better position to negotiate the terms of your divorce. The more educated you are regarding your current financial situation, the better.
  • Do not try to manipulate the divorce outcome by hiding assets or failing to disclose income sources. Lying on your financial affidavit or fabricating other financial information during divorce can lead to serious consequences, including contempt of Court charges.
  • Do consider the tax consequences of divorce options. The greater your wealth, the greater your tax liability. Work with your attorney to minimize taxes and penalties as much as possible.
  • Do not let an aggressive spouse talk you into divorce terms you do not fully agree to. Some divorcing spouses are so eager to get the process over with that they agree to unfair terms they later regret.
  • Do prioritize your mental and emotional health. Getting divorced is considered one of the most stressful life experiences a person can go through. Lean on trusted loved ones, take time to participate in hobbies and enjoyable activities, and consider seeking professional help from a therapist or counselor during the divorce.

Contact an Arlington Heights High Net Worth Divorce Lawyer

If you are getting divorced, contact our Palatine divorce attorney to get the legal help and support you need. Call the Law Office of Nicholas W. Richardson, P.C. at 847.873.6741 for a free, confidential initial consultation.

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Most people underestimate just how difficult it is to end a marriage. Divorce involves addressing multiple complex issues, including the division of marital property, parental responsibilities and parenting time allocation, and spousal maintenance. Spouses who can reach an agreement about how to handle these issues can avoid divorce litigation through the Court. However, discussing complex issues like these is difficult under the best of circumstances. Negotiating a divorce resolution with a soon-to-be-ex-spouse can be especially frustrating and complicated.

Fortunately, divorcing spouses have the option to attend divorce mediation and work with a professional mediator who will help them have productive, fruitful conversations regarding unresolved divorce concerns.

Receiving Professional Assistance When Reaching a Resolution

Mediators are trained professionals knowledgeable in communication, conflict de-escalation, and negotiation. Mediators do not make any decisions for the couple or tell them how to handle the end of their marriage. Instead, the mediators help the spouses reach their own conclusions by facilitating constructive discussions and reducing conflict during negotiations.

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palatine divorce lawyerIf you are getting divorced, you may have questions about spousal maintenance. Sometimes called alimony or spousal support, spousal maintenance aims to reduce the negative financial impact suffered by a spouse after a divorce. Whether you are the primary income earner in the marriage or you make less than your spouse, it is crucial to understand how spousal maintenance works in Illinois divorce cases.

Who Can Get Spousal Maintenance?

Typically, spousal maintenance is paid to lesser-earning spouses to offset the negative financial effects of divorce. While women have traditionally been the recipients of spousal maintenance, men and women can be both payers or recipients of maintenance.

How Can I Get Maintenance?

If you and your spouse have a prenuptial agreement entitling you to maintenance, the Court will most likely uphold this decision during your divorce. If you do not have a prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement in place, you can request spousal maintenance during your divorce. Some couples are able to reach an agreement on the terms of spousal support and avoid taking the matter to trial. For example, you may agree that you will receive maintenance for a one-year period to give you time to get back on your feet financially.

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palatine divorce lawyerDivorcing spouses must contend with several different financial issues during divorce. One of the most consequential of these issues is the division of marital property and debts. Almost all of the assets acquired by either spouse during the marriage are considered marital property. Illinois law states that marital property should be divided equitably. However, some divorcing spouses try to get an unfair advantage by hiding money or property during divorce.

Tactics Spouses May Use to Shield Assets From Division During Divorce

If you are getting divorced, any property division agreements or judgments you receive should be based on accurate financial information. Spouses in a divorce are asked to disclose all of their assets, including real estate property, bank accounts, retirement accounts, vehicles, business interests, and investments. However, spouses may fabricate financial information to try and gain an edge during property division.

Examples of tactics spouses may use to hide assets include:

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palatine divorce lawyerDuring the divorce process, many of the most difficult decisions for parents revolve around the living arrangements and care of their children. If divorcing spouses are on relatively amicable terms, compromise and cooperation may be possible. For those in a more contentious environment, reaching a mutually acceptable plan may be a struggle. No matter how strained their relationship is, there are some situations that all parents going through a divorce should plan for in their parenting plan. An experienced divorce attorney can help guide you through the process.

Parenting Plan Elements

Residence, Schedules, and Holidays - To keep both parents involved in a child’s life on a regular basis, children often split time between the homes of both parents. The parents should work together to determine the best schedule for the needs of the child while being cognizant of each other’s schedules as well as minimizing travel time back and forth. Dividing time around holidays should also be addressed well in advance since holidays have the potential to cause conflict.

Education – Parents should agree on what school their child should attend, be it public, private, or religious, and address payments for tuition or other fees if applicable. They should also coordinate their child’s participation in any school-related extracurricular activities and determine who is responsible for pick up and drop-offs.

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palatine divorce lawyerWhen parents divorce, they rarely walk away from the relationship entirely. Because they share children together, they will be in each other's lives at least until their children are grown. Co-parenting with an ex or soon-to-be-ex is not always easy, but there are steps parents can take to make co-parenting less stressful for everyone involved.

If you are recently divorced or intend to divorce soon, read on to learn some tips and tricks for co-parenting during summer vacation.

Effective Co-Parenting Starts with a Strong Parenting Plan

Divorcing parents in Illinois will create a parenting plan which describes parenting time, parental responsibilities, and other vital matters. Ideally, the parents will be able to agree on the terms of the parenting plan with help from their respective attorneys. However, if the parents cannot agree, they can submit separate parenting plans to the Court, and the Court will determine the best course of action.

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Arlington heights divorce lawyerEach state handles divorce slightly differently. Furthermore, divorce laws frequently change to better reflect the needs of modern families. Updates and modifications to divorce laws can make it difficult for some divorcing spouses to know which laws apply to them. The changes can also lead well-meaning friends and relatives to offer outdated or inaccurate divorce advice. If you are thinking about divorce, read on to learn about the grounds for divorce in 2022.

Illinois is Now a No-Fault State

The term “grounds” refers to the legal justification for an action. When someone files for divorce, he or she is effectively asking the Court to grant him or her a divorce. The person who files, called the petitioner, will need to list the ground on which he or she is basing his or her request.

Prior to 2016, Illinois had both fault-based and no-fault-based grounds for divorce. Fault-based grounds for divorce included things like adultery, habitual drunkenness, and mental cruelty. However, Illinois has since abolished all fault-based grounds for divorce and is now a no-fault divorce state.

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palatine child support lawyerChild support provides financial assistance to parents with the majority of the parenting time. The funds received through child support may be used for rent or mortgage payments, educational costs, groceries, and other expenses. Once the child becomes an adult, he or she is expected to become financially independent. Child support payments usually terminate when the child reaches adulthood and graduates high school. Sometimes, child support payments are extended until the child completes an undergraduate degree.

If a child has a disability, he or she may not be able to reach the same level of financial independence as a child without a disability. Disabled children and their parents may require financial support in the form of child support even after the child becomes an adult. Fortunately, Illinois law provides the opportunity for non-minor support in situations like this.

Extending a Child Support Order When a Child Has Disabilities

Children with disabilities often require extra medical care and educational services, which can become quite expensive. If your child has a disability, you may worry about how you will cover these costs once your child is an adult. Fortunately, you can petition the Court for non-minor support.

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palatine divorce lawyerGetting engaged to be married is one of the most exciting life experiences a person can have. If you are newly engaged, congratulations! You probably have a million things on your mind right now. You may be thinking about wedding plans, moving in with your partner, starting a family, and much more. You may also be thinking about whether you and your spouse should sign a prenuptial agreement. Premarital agreements or "prenups" offer numerous benefits to spouses. However, prenups are not exactly romantic. Bringing up the idea of a prenuptial agreement to your partner can be awkward. There is no way to eliminate the awkwardness entirely, but the following tips may help.

Make Sure You Both Understand The Benefits of a Prenup

Prenuptial agreements should benefit both parties in a marriage. These valuable legal tools can help you identify which assets and debts are marital and which are non-marital. This is very useful if either spouse has significant assets such as a business or professional practice. Prenups are also useful if one spouse has significant debts such as credit card debt or student loans. You can also use a prenuptial agreement to describe a spouse's right to spousal maintenance, keep family heirlooms in the family, and much more.

Think of a Prenuptial Agreement Like an Auto Insurance Policy

If you drive a car, you probably have auto insurance. Having insurance does not mean that you are more likely to get into a crash or that you are an unsafe driver. Insurance exists to provide financial security in the event of a crash. Similarly, signing a prenuptial agreement does not mean that the spouses intend to divorce or lack faith in their marriage. A prenuptial agreement can be thought of as an insurance policy that goes into effect if the marriage ends in divorce or the death of a spouse.

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Posted on in Divorce

palatine divorce lawyerThe end of a marriage is always sad. However, many separated and divorced people also see divorce as an opportunity for a happier future. For many divorcing couples, the split follows months, years, or even decades of a miserable marriage. Consequently, many divorcing spouses are excited about the prospect of reentering the dating world and finding someone who is a better fit for them. However, many people in this situation are also uncertain about the consequences of dating during the divorce proceedings. Can you date when you are separated but not yet divorced? Will dating affect the divorce process in any way? These are important questions that anyone considering dating during divorce should consider.

Going on Dates While Divorcing in Illinois

If you are getting divorced, you may be excited at the thought of meeting someone new. You may even already have someone special in your life other than your spouse.

There is no law prohibiting dating during the divorce process. Technically, infidelity is a criminal offense in Illinois, but this law is not enforced, and no one has been charged with adultery for decades. Illinois is also a no-fault divorce state, so dating during divorce will not influence the grounds or reasons for the divorce. However, it is possible for dating during divorce to influence the case's outcome.

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palatine child custody lawyerA child’s parents are arguably the most important individuals in his or her life. Consequently, Illinois Courts do not interfere with the parent-child relationship unless there are extreme circumstances. Parents have the right to spend time with their children and be involved in their children’s lives. However, there are situations in which a parent may lose some or all of his or her parental rights. Parental unfitness can take many different forms, but the consequences of being deemed unfit are usually profound.

What is an Unfit Parent?

An unfit parent is incapable or unwilling to provide for a child’s basic needs and keep the child safe. Illinois law specifically states that a parent may be considered unfit if he or she:

  • Abandons the child
  • Neglects the child
  • Mentally, emotionally, or physically abuses the child
  • Has a serious drug or alcohol addiction
  • Has a mental illness that prohibits him or her from carrying out parenting duties
  • Puts the child in a dangerous living environment
  • Is currently incarcerated
  • Is not concerned for the child’s welfare
  • Subjects the child to extreme or repeated cruelty
  • Has been convicted of certain violent criminal offenses

Failure to pay child support is not considered grounds to declare a parent unfit. Parental fitness is assessed on a case-by-case basis. For example, a parent’s incarceration does not automatically make him or her unfit. The Court will consider evidence and testimony from multiple sources before issuing a ruling about a parent’s fitness.

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Introducing The Law Office of Nicholas W. Richardson


Nicholas W. Richardson is an experienced divorce lawyer and mediator whose comprehensive legal knowledge, commitment to clients and reputation for results bring lasting solutions to your problems.

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