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....
There have been reports that divorce rates are increasing in China now that the spread of coronavirus has settled down. Typically, disasters tend to bring people together, so this current trend has many wondering why the virus seems to be tearing some couples apart. After an in-depth look, it is not difficult to understand why the coronavirus has caused the breakdown of some marriages.
While “social distancing” may be helping to slow the spread of the disease, it can cause a great deal of difficulty in a household. When spouses and family members are forced to spend 24 hours a day, 7 days a week together, they may begin to argue over a variety of issues. These fights may escalate into more serious disagreements, especially if a couple has unresolved issues or resentments that have been building for years. If remaining constantly together in close quarters has caused the cracks in a couple’s relationship to deepen, and resolution of these issues seems unlikely or impossible, divorce may be the best option.
The coronavirus has not only been a threat to the public’s health, but it has also caused a great deal of financial trouble for many families. Businesses such as restaurants and movie theaters have had to close, leaving the owners of those businesses struggling to make ends meet when they no longer have the income coming in that they once did. Many workers are also being told to stay home in order to limit the spread of the virus, leading to a loss of income that has affected their ability to make ends meet. Concerns about money are some of the primary issues that can lead to the breakdown of a marriage, and these financial difficulties may strain relationships past the breaking point, leading to more divorces....
If you are getting a divorce in Illinois, you may be expecting to receive an equal 50 percent of the property you and your spouse own. However, Illinois is an “equitable distribution” state when it comes to the division of marital property. This means that property is divided fairly, but not necessarily equally. Although many divorce cases are finalized with a 50/50 split, this is not always the end result. Judges may consider a variety of factors when determining how to fairly divide assets, including:
The Financial Position and Earning Power of Each Spouse
If one spouse is going to be in a bad financial position after the divorce, and the other spouse is very well off, a judge will take this into consideration. This is particularly true if the spouse that does not have a lot of finances stayed home to look after the household and take care of the children.
When one spouse did stay home, a judge will also consider their ability to find a well-paying job once the marriage ends. If a parent had stayed home for a very long time caring for children, they may find it difficult to get back into the workforce. Therefore, they may be awarded more in property or assets....
Most people know how much income they earn in a month or a year. Sometimes, however, determining the actual amount of income can become complicated. For example, what if you are an independent contractor, and your income is constantly in flux? Or, what if you are receiving Social Security benefits? These are just two situations in which determining how much income you have becomes tricky. However, your income will play a vital role in divorce proceedings, particularly when finalizing terms regarding child support and spousal maintenance. So, how do you define your income in divorce proceedings? In Illinois, these determinations are based on three different statutes: the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA), the Income Withholding for Support Act, and the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA).
The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act
The UIFSA governs financial support obligations for divorced spouses who live in different states, and it has the broadest definition of income. Under the UIFSA, income is considered any earnings or property subject to withholding for support.
To understand this vague definition, you must first determine what income and other property is subject to withholding for support. This is outlined in the Income Withholding for Support Act....
If you are going through a divorce, you will likely come across a variety of procedural rules that you will have to follow and many different legal terms you may not have heard before. One of these terms is “guardian ad litem.” Many divorcing couples do not understand the role of a guardian ad litem (GAL) or why one may be appointed by the court. However, this person can play an important part in decisions about child custody, so you will want to be sure to understand how to proceed if a GAL has been appointed.
What Is a Guardian Ad Litem?
In some divorce cases, matters related to the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time may need to be addressed by the judge. When making decisions about these issues, the judge must take a number of factors into consideration, including the home life of both parents, the financial situation of each parent and ultimately, what is best for the child.
While this information is all very important for a judge to have, he or she will be unable to perform extensive interviews with the parents, the child or other relevant parties, such as teachers, doctors, family members and counselors. To gather the required information, a judge may appoint a guardian ad litem who will investigate the case and report the findings to the judge. The GAL will typically prepare a written report, and each parent’s attorney may cross-examine the GAL in court. The judge is not bound by the recommendations made by the guardian ad litem, but he or she will usually take the report into great consideration when making decisions....
Getting a divorce is rarely easy. When a couple is facing divorce, they often envision lengthy legal battles in the courtroom. However, divorce proceedings do not have to involve the courtroom at all, and ex-spouses are often able to part ways amicably. When a couple wants to minimize the amount of conflict in a divorce while having control over the terms of their divorce settlement, they often turn toward mediation.
Mediation is a process in which the two divorcing spouses meet with a mediator to come to an agreement on all terms of the divorce, including child custody, child support and property division. Mediation often sounds like the ideal solution because these proceedings are civil and respectful. However, like anything else, mediation does have its own pros and cons. You should weigh these against each other when considering whether mediation is a viable solution for you....
A study conducted in 2012 showed that many couples choose not to get divorced because they believe it will be too expensive. Even though that study was done several years ago, the same holds true today, and those who are considering ending their marriage may be concerned about the cost of doing so. If you are thinking of getting a divorce in Illinois, you are likely wondering how much will it really cost?
The answer to that question can vary depending on the circumstances of each individual case. However, Illinois is one of the costliest states to get a divorce. In fact, in the Prairie State, the average cost of a divorce is $13,800. When factors such as child support and alimony are involved, the total costs can climb to approximately $35,300. Some factors that can affect these costs include:
The Filing Fee
One cost no couple can get around when filing for divorce is the filing fee. This fee is required in all cases, whether the divorce is contested or uncontested. In Illinois, this fee averages around $289, depending on which county you reside. This is higher than the national average but is still not the highest in the country. In certain situations, such as when a low-income couple is getting a divorce, these fees are sometimes waived....
The terms of a divorce settlement or judgment will attempt to cover the many different issues the two parties will face as a divorced couple. However, marital settlement agreements cannot possibly cover every situation. One of the most common situations divorced couples with children face is whether or not parents should leave their child alone with another person, such as a babysitter, when they cannot care for them.
It can be upsetting to hear that a child was left with someone other than their parent. This is particularly true when one parent does not personally know the person watching the child. While this type of situation can be stressful and sometimes cause arguments, is it against the law?
The Right of First Refusal
Historically, Illinois did not have many laws on the books pertaining to someone other than a parent watching a child. However, as of January 1, 2014, parents can choose to leave their child with someone else, but they may first have to ask the other parent. This is known as “right of first refusal,” and this right is covered under 750 ILCS 5/602.3. This statute simply requires that, in certain cases, the parent caring for the child could be required to give the other parent the first opportunity to watch them....
The end of a marriage can occur for a wide variety of reasons – from the somewhat innocuous and slow-developing issue of growing apart to extreme acts of betrayal and violence. Most couples are somewhere in the middle, but a legitimate question may arise when one spouse is convicted of a crime, and the other spouse must choose whether to continue the marriage or use this event to justify divorce. Depending upon the circumstances of the criminal conviction, the repercussions on the integrity of the marriage can be significant, and spouses may wonder what impact the conviction will have on the outcome of divorce.
Unless a person comes into a relationship with a criminal history, spouses typically do not anticipate this possibility nor necessarily know how to respond if it does happen. A recent example of this conundrum involves the marriage of a man accused of kidnapping and killing an international student at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. His wife filed for divorce recently, citing irreconcilable differences and no possibility of reconciliation in her petition.
When couples divorce, it is common and understandable that each side wants to offer his or her perception of why the marriage did not last, but understanding what factors matter and why they will help to produce a more favorable outcome is crucial....
The 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...
The payment of child support is an issue that commonly produces anxiety and agitation from both parents. The parent obligated to pay child support often believes the Court-ordered amount is too high and/or the money is not being used for the child's benefit. From the other side, the recipient parent frequently feels the required amount is too low, and the obligated parent creates unnecessary tension over this matter due to resentment.
Certainly, this situation could spill over to the child and leave a negative impression if one or both parents badmouth the other on financial issues. In hopes of reducing conflict over child support, Illinois implemented new child support calculation rules on July 1, 2017 that are supposed to bring a more balanced and fair approach to the division of support between parents.
Previously, Illinois employed a percentage model to calculate child support, which only took into consideration the non-custodial parent's income (the parent with less parenting time). This model calculated child support as a percentage of the parent's income, which was increased by the number of children he or she must support. The new child support model, income shares, is the method used in most states throughout the country....
Rarely does one single issue or event push a spouse to file for divorce. Usually, divorce comes as problems pile up over time until, one day, the couple realizes the marriage cannot continue. The typical slow buildup to divorce does not mean that some issues are not more pivotal than others or that one overarching problem was the main catalyst,. Yet do the reasons behind the decision to end a marriage have any effect on the outcome of the divorce case?
Illinois is a no-fault divorce state that means that all a spouse must claim in the divorce petition in order for a Court to dissolve the marriage is that irreconcilable differences led to the breakdown of the marriage. While no particular grounds are needed to justify divorce, this does not mean the Court will not look at the specific behavior of a spouse when evaluating the appropriate provisions of the final divorce order, especially as it concerns property division.
An article in the Chicago Tribune describes the most recent chapter in the ongoing divorce battle between former Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. and his wife, Sandi Jackson. Sandi Jackson now wants Jackson Jr. to provide the names and contact information of all his sexual partners during their 25-year marriage, which could be used later as a factor in the alimony award and property settlement. How and when do Courts examine a spouse's behavior as a factor during divorce?...
Avoiding the stress that accumulates prior to and during a divorce is not possible for most individuals. The issues surrounding divorce are sensitive, personal and have significant long-term implications that often overwhelm one's attempts to keep his or her emotions in check. Property division, especially among couples with substantial assets, is one of the more complex and contentious areas in divorce proceedings.
Disputes are particularly more likely if one spouse is the primary income-earner and controller of the assets. In this situation, the other spouse may have concerns about the concealment of assets in an effort to keep a spouse out the divorce settlement. The concealment or intentional omission of assets potentially subject to division in divorce will have serious financial consequences for the deceived spouse, and must be aggressively investigated if such action is suspected.
The former wife of Robert Foisie, a wealthy entrepreneur and benefactor of Worcester Polytechnic Institute, filed a lawsuit against Foisie and the school following discovery of a Swiss trust account containing $4.5 million that was not disclosed during their divorce — a trust that was later gifted to the school. Given how important accurate accountings of assets are to a fair divorce settlement, a understanding of the financial information all divorcing parties must disclose, and how to handle suspicions a spouse is hiding assets, is essential....