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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.


Posted on in Divorce

co-parenting, Schaumburg divorce attorney, parenting plan, parenting time, parenting responsibilitiesParenting a child under the best of circumstances, when parents are together and united, continually presents challenges that can divide couples if they disagree on the proper response. However, these challenges become markedly more complex following divorce and the division of parenting responsibilities.

Many relationship and situational issues can lead to disputes about childrearing, but one of the most disruptive and pervasive issues that can bring effective parenting to a halt is violence. A recent study published by a professor at the University of Illinois examined how different types of violence affected co-parenting in the first year after divorce.

The findings suggested spouses who experience control-based violence, which tends to be more constant and encompassing, were more likely to have significant co-parenting problems compared with spouses who saw violence based on situations, such as an affair or money problems, who seemed to have more support and cooperation from the other parent.


Posted on in Divorce

default judgments, Palatine divorce attorney, Illinois divorce process, divorce petition, divorce processDisagreements and a lack of cooperation are two of the primary catalysts for divorce, as both spouses experience a loss of connection with one another. While either spouse can initiate the legal process to end the marriage, some amount of cooperation is expected and almost required from both to conclude a divorce case in a timely and efficient manner. However, a Judge cannot force a party to respond or participate in a divorce proceeding if he or she refuses to do so.

A lack of participation by a spouse does not doom a case but puts a Court in a somewhat uncomfortable position. Courts do not like to conclude cases without hearing something from each side; however, if notice of a petition is sent and ignored, a Court will enter a default judgment in favor of the petitioning spouse. A default judgment has serious and permanent consequences for both spouses and is far from an ideal or even fair result.

When Default Judgments Are Entered


Posted on in Divorce

divorce process, divorce tips, Inverness divorce attorney, divorce and finances, divorce optionsDivorce reaches every aspect of a person's life, and often requires adjustments in both behavior and outlook to make the transition possible. People tend to focus on the legal procedure, since divorce has such a pivotal role in finalizing the outcome, but this tendency can make addressing the practical issues of divorce more difficult, as well as ways of approaching the divorce process itself.

The purpose of divorce is to legally end a marriage, but the route taken to arrive at that point does not necessarily need to involve a drawn out, highly-litigated case, though litigation is sometimes necessary. Other, less contentious options are available and worth exploring for some couples.

Practical Tips


Posted on in Divorce

premarital agreements,  division of assets, divorce process, Illinois prenuptial agreement, prenuptial agreementOutside of the emotional benefits that most people connect with marriage, being married also offers financial advantages for central issues, such as health insurance and tax liability. However, these advantages can turn into detriments if a marriage ends in divorce. Without a prenuptial agreement, parties are expected to divide their assets in roughly equal proportions.

While predicting financial success at the outset of marriage is nearly impossible, couples expecting productive careers and those with substantial assets at the beginning of the marriage often consider premarital agreements to iron out the division of assets and maintenance (spousal support) in case divorce does occur.

The underlying assumption is that both parties enter into these agreements freely and with sufficient information to make an informed decision about the fairness of the arrangement. The reality, of course, is not always so simple, and circumstances may motivate a spouse to challenge the validity of such an agreement when divorce enters the picture.


Inverness family law attorney, unemployed parents, underemployed parents, child support payments, parental responsibilitiesRaising a child requires a parent to dedicate a large portion of his or her resources to adequately provide for the child's welfare, not least of which is a large financial obligation. Both parents are supposed to share this responsibility. However, this mutual obligation can become a point of contention between divorced and separated parents.

Child support is a Court-ordered duty to pay a set amount for a child's needs that is most commonly issued when parents get divorced or file a paternity a claim against a former partner. Typically, the legal process used to settle child support and custody claims are handled exactly the same, regardless of the marital status of the parties. Until earlier this year, however, Cook County had separate courtrooms for married and single parents. These facilities, which some claimed were dilapidated and imposed an unfair bias on unmarried parties, were shut down in February.

Apart from procedural issues, parents generally tend to disagree about how much money is being paid as well as how the funds are being used. Still, legitimate concerns can arise about a parent's ability to pay anything at all when he or she is under- or unemployed for significant periods of time.


Posted on in Child Support

spousal support modification, spousal support, Palatine family law attorney, Illinois divorce, divorce processFinances during and after divorce are a concern for many when adjusting to single life on one income. While this change is challenging for those with established careers and secure employment, those who worked only part-time or stayed at home to raise children face a daunting task that is likely to extend into the foreseeable future.

To make this transition easier and to ward off the possibility of falling into destitution following divorce, a spouse has the right to request spousal support or maintenance from the other party. Some couples settle this issue in advance by executing a prenuptial agreement. However, the majority of couples do not address this issue until the marriage is coming to an end, especially if the parties married young or before a spouse achieved financial success in his or her career.

The founder of the Cancer Treatment Centers of America was recently ordered by an Illinois Court to pay his ex-wife $28,000 per month in spousal support, substantially down from the $400,000 she requested. For the party ordered to pay support, this obligation can feel like a never-ending burden that permanently keeps him or her tied to an ex-spouse. However, in some cases, spousal support orders can be modified, or even terminated, if the circumstances are right.


parental kidnapping, Inverness family law attorney, child custody, custody rights,  concealing a childWhile parents who share child custody have to negotiate and compromise when disagreements arise, generally they are able to cooperate and keep the needs of the child a priority when making decisions. However, when parents who share childcare responsibilities with a former spouse or partner are asked what their greatest fear of the arrangement is, they will likely respond with having the other parent take their child out of the state or country.

Individuals recognized as parents under the law, usually through marriage or a paternity claim, have equal rights and access over their child. Therefore, they do not need permission from the other parent or a Court to see their child or travel with their child. However, when an enforceable parenting plan is in place governing when and how a parent can exercise his or her rights, the extent of that access and right to transport the child is restrained. In this situation, parents are required to abide by the terms of the parenting order, specifically, the allocation of parenting time.

Unfortunately, some parents decide not to follow these rules and become determined to take the child out of the state or country, or otherwise conceal him or her from the other parent. Typically, such action is precipitated by warning signs.


divorce cases, alternative dispute resolution, collaborative divorce, Barrington family law attorney, collaborative law processDivorce does not have the best reputation for promoting civil and cooperative relationships between spouses. Traditional divorce actions pit the parties against each other in an adversarial process that does everything possible to limit — or completely cut off — direct contact. While this can make moving from the marriage easier, both emotionally and physically, the litigation model of standard divorce cases does not prepare the parties for working together over child custody, or allow them to have much a say in the terms of the divorce decree.

In recent years, the legal system has increasingly favored settling divorce cases in less contentious environments due to the practicalities of limited Court resources and also to facilitate a better outcome for the parties. This reduces the likelihood of needing to return to Court to settle additional issues.

A fairly new process in the alternative dispute resolution realm is collaborative divorce — mediation being the form with which most people are familiar— which was formalized into Illinois law this summer and will become effective January 1, 2018. Collaborative divorce is the least combative way to end a marriage, and in fact tries to give the parties a firm foundation for future interactions by teaching them more effective ways to communicate and cooperate.


Arlington Heights divorce attorney, family business, family businesses in divorce, divorcing couple, divorce processOne of the largest challenges of divorce is dividing marital property. Each party typically has a legitimate claim to assets acquired during the marriage, and the need to relinquish rights over some of this property can be difficult to negotiate and settle. Dividing marital assets becomes significantly more complex if there is a family business involved.

Family businesses constitute a considerable portion of this country's employment and economic growth, but a good number are vulnerable to internal and external changes that threaten their survival, including divorce. The potential risk to a family business's stability following divorce requires obtaining a divorce attorney with experience dividing complex assets to ensure the division is handled properly.

Settlements and divorce orders pertaining to property division should be treated as the final word on this issue, as the Courts will only revisit the division of marital assets in rare and very limited circumstances. Thus, addressing this matter correctly on the first attempt is crucial.


parental responsibilities, divorcing spouse, spouse lies during divorce, Inverness divorce attorney, Illinois divorce lawThe stereotypical image of a divorcing spouse doing everything possible to make the other party look bad is, unfortunately, not always an exaggeration. However, Courts are not interested in hearing divorcing spouses badmouth one another and will generally not give this type of information any consideration unless false allegations are made that significantly affect a party's rights. Under these circumstances, the situation changes and becomes more than bickering that may be disregarded.

Falsifying documents or making untrue allegations principally affects a party's rights in property distribution and the allocation of parental responsibilities. Typically, false allegations come in the form of claims of abuse (child and/or domestic), drug use and submissions of fabricated financial affidavits/documents.

While dishonesty between spouses is rarely worth taking legal action, lying or misleading a Court can result in serious consequences. Statements made directly to the Judge and documents filed with the Court all come with the stipulation that the information provided is true and accurate. If the Court later discovers a party intentionally lied or provided erroneous information, the potential consequences can reach both the outcome of the divorce case and include the imposition of criminal penalties.


Palatine family law attorney, end a marriage, divorce, annulment, seek an annulmentHearing that a family member, friend or acquaintance is ending his or her marriage automatically provokes the thought of divorce. Divorce is a legal process by which a Court says a couple is no longer married in the eyes of the state, and no longer has rights to the legal benefits granted to those in a valid marriage, such as the right to inherit a spouse’s property or have an ownership claim to the marital estate.

Divorce is the most popular method of ending a marriage, especially now that Illinois is a no-fault state. However, another possibility exists for ending a union — annulment.

Annulment is a concept many people take to be antiquated and associated with religion. However, while there is a separate religious procedure to annul a marriage, a Court also has the ability sever a marriage in a similar manner.


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