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Posted on in Divorce

Hoffman Estates divorce lawyer child custody alimonyUnder Illinois law, gender is not a factor that should be considered when deciding a divorce case; however, some may fear that the decisions made during divorce will favor their ex-spouse, and they will want to understand their rights and the best ways to achieve success during the divorce process. Below are some of the biggest myths that still surround men and divorce and the truth behind them:

When Men Do Not Pay Child Support, They Cannot See Their Child

Fathers may worry that if they fall behind on child support payments, the mother may be able to refuse to allow them to spend time with their child. Fortunately, this is not the case. There are serious consequences for not paying child support, including being held in contempt of court. However, the courts view child custody and child support as two separate issues, and a mother cannot punish a father for non-payment of child support by restricting parenting time. If a parent withholds visitation because their ex-spouse did not pay child support, she/he can face serious consequences themselves.

Mothers Are Always Awarded Primary Child Custody

This is perhaps the biggest myth surrounding men and divorce. Although it is true that at one time, the courts were more likely to award child custody to mothers, this is no longer the case. Today, decisions about child custody are based on what is in the child’s best interests. The gender of the two spouses has nothing to do with child custody hearings. Instead, courts will consider factors such as the health of the parents, the children’s wishes, and how parents acted in the past when providing care for their children.

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Posted on in Divorce

Rolling Meadows divorce attorney irreconcilable differencesMany states have adopted a no-fault system for divorce. This means that when one spouse wants to get divorced, he/she does not have to prove that the other spouse did anything wrong. One spouse simply states that there was a breakdown in the marital relationship and attempts to reconcile would not be in the best interests of the family.

Those in Illinois wanting to divorce may wonder whether the process of filing for divorce is this simple. Fortunately, Illinois law allows for no-fault divorces. If you are considering divorce, there are some issues you should consider before filing your divorce petition.

Grounds for Divorce in Illinois

In the past, Illinois law allowed a person to state that his/her spouse was at fault for the breakdown of the marriage. The law recognized a number of grounds for divorce, including:

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Inverness parenting time attorney for marijuana useAs of January 1, 2020, marijuana is legal in Illinois for both medical and recreational use. However, even though the possession and use of this drug is no longer a criminal offense, people who have gotten a divorce and have at least partial custody of their children should think carefully before using marijuana. Irresponsible use of drugs or alcohol could negatively affect the amount of time you are able to spend with your child. 

How Marijuana Use May Affect Parenting Time and Parental Responsibility

In Illinois, child custody is referred to as the allocation of parental responsibilities, and visitation is referred to as parenting time. When determining how much time each parent will spend with their child, the court will consider what is in the child’s best interests. If one parent is concerned that the other parent is using marijuana when the child is in his or her care, this issue can be brought to the attention of the courts, and the parent may ask for a modification of the parenting plan. For example, a parent may ask that the other parent’s parenting time be reduced or that the parent be prohibited from using marijuana during his or her parenting time.

Understanding this issue is important for anyone who currently has parenting time with a child. Sometimes, a bitter ex will tell the court that a parent is using marijuana excessively around the child as a means of obtaining a greater allocation of parenting time. A parent may claim that the other parent’s use of marijuana is endangering the child, and the other parent may be required to prove that he or she has not acted in a way that has harmed the child.

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Inverness parenting plan attorneyAfter getting a divorce as a parent, you and your ex-spouse will typically have to work together to co-parent your children. This can be difficult, particularly if the divorce was bitter or messy, and there are still feelings of resentment. However, it is best if you are able to work together with your ex-spouse as peacefully and respectfully as possible. Not only will everyone benefit from this cooperation, but it can help you demonstrate that you are willing to put your children’s interests first, which may work in your favor if you need to modify the terms of your parenting plan in the future. Here are some ways you can encourage ongoing cooperation between co-parents after getting divorced:

Solve Problems Together

Although you and your ex-spouse have agreed to work together as co-parents, this does not mean that any hurt or anger that built up during the divorce will just go away. However, you will still need to be able to cooperate to meet your children’s needs and address any problems that may arise. When working to resolve these issues, you should try to put your feelings about your former spouse to the side and focus on how the two of you can reach a solution that will provide for your children’s best interests. 

Maintain Open Communication

Communication about what is going on in children’s lives is one of the most important factors in successful co-parenting. By keeping your children the focal point of every conversation, the two of you can ensure that you understand their needs and are prepared to address any ongoing concerns. This will also allow you both to remain informed about what is going on in your children’s lives, including any medical or educational matters that you and your ex-spouse both need to be aware of. 

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Barrington divorce lawyer for marital property divisionIf 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. 

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Hoffman Estates child support modification attorney

During a divorce that involves children, one parent (typically the non-custodial parent) will usually be ordered to pay child support to the other parent. However, the one constant in life is change. When life changes affect a parent’s employment and the income he or she earns, modifications to child support orders may be necessary. This can ensure that a parent will not be required to make payments that he or she cannot afford, and it can make sure that both parents are continuing to meet their children’s financial needs. 

Since Illinois law takes both parents’ incomes into account when determining child support, if either parent receives a promotion or an increase in pay, the amount of the parents’ child support obligations may need to be recalculated. If you need help modifying your child support order, you should work with an experienced family law attorney.

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Arlington Heights spousal maintenance attorney high net worth

Following a divorce, ex-spouses should be able to maintain the lifestyle they enjoyed during their marriage. When one spouse earns a large income, he or she may be required to pay spousal maintenance to his or her former partner. However, a maintenance award is not guaranteed, and this issue often results in contentious battles in divorces that involve a high net worth, particularly when one spouse has a high net worth and the other, on paper at least, does not. 

If you have stayed home to care for children, or if you have been trying to get an education while your spouse has earned the majority of the family’s income, you may be able to receive maintenance (formerly known as alimony) following your divorce. In order to ensure that you receive the spousal support you deserve, you will need to keep the following tips in mind: 

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Inverness divorce attorney for substance abuseSadly, substance abuse is prevalent in the United States and is the cause of many divorces. When one spouse abuses drugs or alcohol, this can make life very difficult for the other spouse. A family may struggle financially because one spouse has used marital funds to buy drugs or alcohol, and the abusive behavior of an addict may cause other family members to fear for their safety. These are just two of the issues that may present themselves in a marriage involving an addicted spouse. 

Before filing for divorce, many people only focus on how different their lives will be once the divorce is finalized. However, it is just as important to realize how substance abuse can affect the divorce process. 

Child-Related Matters

A judge will certainly consider substance abuse problems when determining how to allocate parental responsibility (formerly known as child custody in Illinois). A judge’s main consideration is always what is in the best interests of the child. If a parent has a substance abuse problem, the judge may feel that he or she is not able to properly care for a child. In fact, when the abuse is significant, it could endanger the child. 

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Barrington family law attorney for unmarried couplesWhen relationship issues occur between celebrities or high-profile couples, many people may wonder how the issues these people experience, such as divorce, would play out in their own lives. This was illustrated recently when Brody Jenner and his girlfriend, Kaitlynn Carter, broke up one year after their unofficial wedding ceremony in Indonesia. Many people thought the two were legally married, and the unofficial status of their marriage was not revealed until they split. 

The fact that Jenner and Carter lived together for at least a year would make their union common law in several states. However, since Illinois does not recognize common law marriage, couples who live together in the state may not be recognized as a married couple. Prior to 1905, couples in Illinois could decide to get married without any formal documentation. Today, those in Illinois wishing to marry must meet two requirements: solemnization and registration.

Solemnization

Under Illinois law, marriages are valid if they involved solemnization, in which a ceremony or exchange of vows took place. A solemnization is valid even if the person performing it was not legally qualified to do so. That is, the person marrying the two people does not have to be ordained in any way, and as long as a reasonable person believed the solemnization was legal, it is considered valid in Illinois. 

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Arlington Heights collaborative divorce attorneyWhen a couple chooses to get a divorce, there are many ways they can do so. They can go through litigation, arbitration, mediation, collaborative divorce, or cooperative divorce. These last two options are often confused, and the terms are sometimes used interchangeably. However, there are differences between the two, and divorcing couples should understand what those are before deciding what type of divorce to pursue. 

Collaborative Law 

During a collaborative divorce, each spouse will meet separately with his or her own attorney. He or she will outline what he or she wants from the divorce, and the minimum settlement he or she will accept. If both parties agree to pursue a collaborative divorce, they will enter into a Participation Agreement along with their respective attorneys. The agreement states that all parties are committed to the collaborative process and that they will freely and honestly exchange information with each other as they work to reach a divorce settlement. 

After the Participation Agreement is signed by both parties, meetings will begin. During these meetings, both sides and their attorneys will negotiate the terms of the divorce, addressing issues such as child custody and property division. Sometimes, outside experts and advisors are brought in to advise on issues such as finances and child development. 

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Palatine divorce lawyer for emotional issues

When most people think of grief, they think of losing a loved one. However, any major loss can cause a person to struggle with sadness, and divorce is certainly a traumatic event that can lead to this type of difficulty. People going through a divorce experience a wide range of emotions, and everyone processes emotions differently. However, people often progress through several stages dealing with grief, and understanding these stages can help you determine the best steps to take during the divorce process. By working with an experienced divorce attorney, you can understand your legal options and ensure that your rights are protected as you process these emotions. 

Denial

This stage is most likely to occur when one spouse wants a divorce, but the other does not. A person may believe that talk of divorce is just a phase the couple is going through and that everything will soon return to normal. In some cases, denial can be a very helpful emotion, serving as a natural defense mechanism that protects a person from feeling too many emotions all at once. However, even if you believe that your marriage can be saved, you should take steps to protect your rights, including addressing issues related to property ownership or child custody during the divorce process.

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Mt. Prospect divorce attorney for child support and spousalMost 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.

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Rolling Meadows divorce attorney missing spouseEven if your marriage has broken down, you may not want to go through the long, drawn-out process of divorce. You know you will have to see your ex in many unpleasant circumstances, and you may want to avoid interacting with him or her altogether. If you are in an abusive relationship, this can be a particularly important issue. 

You may have heard about the possibility of getting a divorce through the newspaper in which you simply publish the divorce announcement and have your marriage dissolved. Is this true, though? Can you really just publish that you want a divorce in a newspaper and have the process finalized? While this may be possible in Illinois, the process of doing so is not easy, and you will have to meet several criteria before you start paying for that ad space. 

What You Need to File Through Publication

In a few rare cases, you can get divorced through a publication in the newspaper in Illinois. Before you do so, you will need to file a petition for divorce with the court, ask the judge to allow you to serve the divorce papers through publication, and then prove why you need to do so. 

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Mt. Prospect divorce attorney adulteryIn April of 2019, daytime talk show host Wendy Williams filed for divorce from her husband, Kevin Hunter. During the divorce proceedings, Hunter requested a substantial amount in spousal support, as well as child support for the couple’s 18-year-old son, Kevin Junior. Hunter relied on his job as executive producer on Williams’ show for an income, and he was also her personal manager. Now, after being fired from both jobs, he has no source of income. 

This case is interesting, raising several questions. One significant issue involves Williams’ claim that she should not have to pay spousal support because Hunter cheated on her. Those who are divorcing in Illinois may wonder how the state’s laws would address these issues. Does adultery affect the terms of a divorce? 

Adultery as Grounds for Divorce

In Illinois, the only grounds for divorce is “irreconcilable differences.” This simply means that there has been a breakdown in the marriage and that there is no hope that the couple will reconcile. This is different than how divorce worked in Illinois historically, as previously, there was once a long list of grounds for divorce, including adultery. 

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Hoffman Estates divorce lawyer for modification of maintenanceThe completion of divorce proceedings has an air of finality. The marriage is officially over, the sometimes long and drawn out divorce process is finished, and both parties can move on with their lives. However, just because a divorce is final does not mean those involved will live by their divorce decree forever. Like everything else in life, the terms of a divorce often change, sometimes years after they were finalized. 

Remarriage is one of the biggest reasons the terms of a divorce will change. When one of the ex-spouses gets remarried, both parties will want to consider how spousal maintenance and child support will be affected.

Remarriage and Maintenance in Illinois

Generally speaking, when a person who is receiving maintenance gets remarried, their former spouse will no longer be required to pay alimony. The only exception is when the two parties have come to another agreement. The person making alimony payments can stop doing so upon the date of the remarriage. They do not have to return to court or ask for an order of termination of support.

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Schaumburg high asset divorce attorney

In any divorce, there are a wide variety of complicated issues that must be addressed and resolved, and disputes over child custody, child support and property division can make emotions run high. However, there are some divorce cases that have all of these issues and even more. High net worth divorces can be extremely complex, since they will have the same issues as any other divorce, along with additional factors that can make resolving these cases more challenging. These factors may include:

The Scope of Assets

Typically, there are many assets in a high net worth divorce, and determining how to divide marital property can be difficult, especially when this property includes assets such as real estate, investments and retirement accounts. An asset acquired before the marriage will typically be considered separate property that is not divided during the divorce process. However, if a non-marital asset appreciated in value during the marriage, the courts may view this appreciation as marital property. Determining what assets are considered marital property and how to divide them fairly and equitably during divorce can be a complicated undertaking. 

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Hoffman Estates divorce attorney

If you feel that your marriage may end in divorce, you are probably wondering about the steps that you will need to follow to complete the process of dissolving your marriage. Since divorce almost always causes financial upheaval, you also may be wondering if you can save money by attempting to complete the process without being represented by an attorney.

Should I File for Divorce Without a Lawyer?

In Illinois, everyone has the right to represent themselves in court and that includes while getting a divorce; however, if you and your ex-spouse will need to resolve disputes through litigation in court, you should seek the help of an attorney. A lawyer will ensure that your rights are protected throughout the legal process and help you understand the steps that will be followed and the requirements.

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Barrington divorce attorney frozen embryos

Illinois is an equitable distribution state. This means that when two people get divorced, the courts will divide their marital property equitably, or fairly. This type of property division is usually fairly straightforward, but there are certain factors that can make it more complicated. Today, frozen embryos are one issue that can make a divorce case especially complex.

There are currently hundreds of thousands of frozen embryos in the United States, and because of this, the number of divorces involving frozen embryos is likely to increase. Since the courts in Illinois have not yet set a precedent for dividing frozen embryos between divorcing spouses, the decisions made during a divorce will likely depend on the facts of the case. So, what facts are taken into consideration when frozen embryos were part of a marriage and are now part of a divorce?

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Arlington Heights uncontested divorce lawyerDivorce is rarely easy, but there are ways to manage stress and create an amicable separation. Like any other contract, there are ways to leave marriage on secure and reciprocal terms, which is why many married couples choose to pursue an uncontested divorce in Illinois. By doing so, they are reducing the amount of stress felt by both the couple and any children they share. An uncontested divorce can also save both parties time and money.

What Is an Uncontested Divorce?

In an uncontested divorce, both parties agree to the terms of dissolving the marriage. These terms can include everything from the division of property to child custody and child support arrangements. For a divorce to be considered uncontested, both spouses must agree on all terms. If there is even one point of contention, the divorce will be considered contested. At that point, the couple will then need to determine if they wish to use mediation, get a collaborative divorce, or go through litigation in court.

An uncontested divorce is the fastest way to get a divorce in Illinois, often taking as little as a few weeks or months. Getting a divorce any other way can take many months, and it may sometimes take years before the divorce is finalized.

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Mt. Prospect collaborative divorce attorneyWhen a couple chooses to get a divorce, it can be one of the most difficult decisions to make. However, once this decision is made, spouses quickly learn that they must also decide how to proceed with their divorce. In many cases, they will want to work together to settle their differences rather than pursuing costly litigation in court. Two methods of alternative dispute resolution are mediation and collaborative law. So, which is best for a couple to choose?

Mediation

During divorce mediation, a couple will work with a qualified mediator. The full mediation process is outlined in the Uniform Mediation Act, found in the Illinois Compiled Statutes. Over the course of several meetings, the mediator will help the couple come to an agreement about the outstanding issues in their divorce. The agreement will include many different terms, including a parenting plan, child support and alimony obligations, and decisions about the division of property and debts.

The mediator will remain neutral throughout the proceedings, and he or she will not make any decisions for the couple. Instead, the spouses will have full control over the decisions made, and the settlement will only be legally binding if both spouses agree on its terms. After an agreement has been reached, the mediator will draft any paperwork that is required. This will include a Memorandum of Understanding that will outline the terms agreed upon.

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