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Hoffman Estates family law attorney

Although many people who enter into marriage believe it will last their lifetime, that is not always the case. A couple may choose to get divorced for many reasons, such as infidelity, financial problems, mental illness, or simply because they grew apart. In some cases, they may have gotten married very young and as they matured, realized that they did not have anything in common or their interests or goals were not aligned. Some older couples may come to this realization after they raised their children and are empty nesters. Regardless of when you end your marriage or your age, you can find love again. In these situations, you may want to make your relationship legal by getting remarried. Even though you have been through it before, a remarriage can present its own set of challenges, especially if you have children. Talking with an experienced Illinois family law attorney can help make sure your rights are protected this second time around. 

Spousal Maintenance

In Illinois, spousal support may be awarded in certain divorce cases. For example, if one spouse stayed home to raise kids while the other spouse worked full-time, the stay-at-home parent is likely to receive payments as part of the divorce settlement until he or she can become self-sufficient. This financial relief can be paid out monthly or in one lump sum. However, it automatically ends when the receiving spouse gets remarried. The only exception to this rule would be if the former spouses agreed to a set duration regardless if either one remarries. On the other hand, if the paying spouse remarries, spousal maintenance may not be affected, unless the court determines that his or her former spouse is employable and should stop receiving payments. 

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Posted on in Divorce

Rolling Meadows fathers’ rights attorneyIn today’s world, there is no such thing as a “typical” divorce. There are many ways a couple can end their marriage, and the outcomes will vary depending on the needs of each family. Some families are still traditional in the sense that the mother is the primary caregiver and is the one who spends the most time with the children. In other families, fathers are much more involved in the daily responsibilities of raising their children, which can cause tension and stress when it comes to making child-centered decisions during a divorce.

Though the law states that mothers and fathers should be treated equally, fathers are sometimes still seen as “second-class” parents, and some dads feel that they are not given the same consideration as mothers when it comes to issues such as parenting time. Divorce can be difficult for everyone, but its negative effects may be especially worrisome for fathers. Here are a few tips to help dads aim for success during and after a divorce:

Tip #1: Be Proactive

When you are involved in a custody dispute that requires intervention from the court, matters can quickly become complicated. You will need to prove to the judge that you deserve to have just as much parenting time as your former partner, if not more. To demonstrate this, you will need to be involved in your children’s lives, and be sure to confer with the other parent about things like doctor’s appointments, extracurricular activities, and school progress. The goal is to prove to the Judge that you contribute more to your children’s lives than just picking them up and dropping them off.

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Inverness divorce attorney for child-related issuesCouples get divorced for many reasons. Maybe you and your spouse have realized that you are two very different people who want very different things. Maybe you still love each other, but you have grown apart. Or, maybe some other type of conflict has occurred, such as infidelity or financial issues. Whatever the reason for the divorce might be, you and your spouse will probably not be on the best of terms.

Unfortunately, couples often experience contentious divorces, and issues involving children are often some of the most difficult matters to resolve. Sometimes, children can be caught in the crossfire of marital conflicts. However, there are a few things you can to help protect your children as much as possible during your divorce.

#1: Do Not Fight in Front of the Children

One of the most detrimental things children can experience is to witness their parents constantly fighting and arguing. High levels of conflict can create a sense of tension and unhappiness in the home, and this can manifest negatively in children. Kids who observe their parents’ arguments are more prone to behavioral problems and emotional issues. During your divorce, you should do your best to avoid arguing in front of your children, and you should not force them to take sides or ask them to relay messages between you and your spouse.

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Northwest Cook County divorce and legal separation attorneyCouples who are considering getting a divorce have another option besides permanently dissolving their marriages. For some couples, a divorce is necessary and in their best interests, but for others, a legal separation may be a better solution. Legal separation shares some similarities with divorce, but it has certain differences, as well as some unique benefits.

Legal Separation Basics

In legal separation cases, a couple who is no longer living together has the option to make arrangements for property division and parental responsibilities without actually filing for divorce. The couple will remain legally married, and thus cannot remarry until a formal divorce has been finalized; however, each spouse will be granted certain rights, protections, and privileges when it comes to debts, assets, and children. Additionally, maintenance and child support concerns are typically discussed during legal separation proceedings. Couples may choose to divide marital property during the proceedings, but they can also delay these negotiations until a formal divorce is filed.

Illinois law requires that the couple be living apart to file for legal separation. Either spouse may file, and either spouse may ask the Court for “reasonable support and maintenance” while the pair is living apart. It is important to note that the Court will enter orders for maintenance, child support, and parental responsibilities, if necessary, but the Court will not order the division of marital property in a legal separation. An agreement between the spouses, however, may be approved by the Court.

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Inverness premarital agreement attorney

Recently, Kelly Clarkson filed for divorce from her husband, Brandon Blackstock, after nearly seven years of marriage. Clarkson is worth an estimated $45 million and is stating that she wants her prenuptial agreement enforced. Reportedly, the prenup outlines an arrangement for legal and physical joint custody of their children, and Clarkson is asking the court to terminate Blackstock’s right to ask for spousal support. The case was filed in a Los Angeles court, but would the court approve her requests if she filed in Illinois? How can you ensure that your premarital agreement is enforced in the Prairie State?

What Makes a Prenup Invalid in Illinois?

Generally speaking, premarital agreements in Illinois are enforceable as long as the agreement is in writing and both parties have willingly signed it. However, there are instances in which a premarital agreement may not be enforced. These include:

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Rolling Meadows divorce lawyerNo couple gets married thinking that they are going to divorce. Traditionally, the top reasons marriages fail have been considered to be mishandling money, marrying too young and suffering a loss of identity; however, a recent study found that those are no longer the most common reasons for divorce. Below are the three most common reasons why modern couples choose to end their marriage, according to the study:

Lack of Love and Intimacy

No matter how passionate a relationship is at the beginning of a marriage, this passion tends to diminish over time. This is normal and happens to many couples. However, intimacy is still an important part of marriage and includes much more than just what happens in the bedroom. When couples reach the point where they experience fewer acts of affection, including holding hands, kissing or even calling or texting just to express one’s love, this may be a sign that divorce is on the horizon.

Communication Problems

Communication is extremely important in a marriage. A couple must be able to not only talk to each other about everyday life, but also the big and small problems that may crop up during their marriage. Although different styles of communication are not necessarily a sign that a couple is going to divorce, each spouse will want to understand the other’s style of communication so he or she can adequately respond to it. In addition, both spouses should understand that talking and listening are equally important.

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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 child support lawyerA non-custodial parent who is ordered by a judge to pay child support may experience feelings of contempt and hostility toward his or her former partner. These strong emotions do not necessarily occur because a parent does not want to provide financially for his or her children, but they often result from a loss of control over one’s finances. With no way of knowing what those child support payments are being used for, a parent may worry about whether they are actually going toward the daily living expenses of the child or are being used to pay for other costs incurred by the custodial parent. A non-custodial may also wonder why he or she may be required to pay additional expenses as part of his or her child support obligations. So, what does child support actually pay for?

Basic Child Support Obligations

In Illinois, all parents have a legal obligation to provide for their children financially until the time a child turns 18. This support is meant to provide for the basic living expenses of the child, including food, clothing, housing and other basic needs. Essentially, child support payments are meant to provide for the child’s needs in a way that replicates a two-parent household. However, in addition to this basic support obligation, non-custodial parents may also be required to provide additional financial support that meets children’s other needs. 

Additional Child Support Obligations

While a basic child support obligation is meant to provide for a child’s daily living expenses, Illinois law outlines four categories for additional child support above and beyond the basic obligation:

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Rolling Meadows family law attorney deceased parent child custody

When parents are divorced, the death of a parent can create a number of difficulties. If the deceased ex-spouse was the custodial parent, this will likely mean that the other parent will have more parenting time with their child. However, it is important to understand how Illinois courts address child custody in cases in which a parent dies. 

The Courts Are Generally in Favor of the Surviving Parent

When a custodial parent dies, and the courts need to reassign custody of children (known as “allocation of parental responsibilities” in Illinois), they will generally give preference to the surviving parent. The court will typically assume that the surviving parent has a greater interest in the care, custody and control of the child than anyone else. This will generally hold true even when another person, such as a grandparent or stepparent, asserts rights over the child. 

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Rolling Meadows family law attorney Illinois taxesWhen Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker announced a proposal for his new tax plan in Illinois, he sparked debate throughout the state. Some praised what Pritzker called the fair tax law, saying it would only tax the rich and provide more money for low to middle wage earners. However, others have pointed to a major flaw in the proposal, and those opposed to it say it is going to hurt one more group: married couples.

The Marriage Penalty Under Fair Tax Law

Traditionally, when a couple jointly files their state or federal taxes, they file in separate tax brackets from those that file individually, allowing them to take advantage of tax savings. However, whenever two earners of the same household owe more taxes by filing jointly instead of separately, it is considered a marriage penalty. The new tax law proposed by Governor Pritzker does not provide different brackets that allow couples to reap more savings. Instead, couples are likely to owe higher taxes.

Under the proposed new tax law, when filing separately, each of the spouses’ first $10,000 earned is taxed at 4.75 percent. The next $90,000 earned is taxed at a rate of 4.9 percent. However, when a couple is married and filing jointly, the very first dollar made from the second income is taxed at an even higher rate of 4.95 percent.

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contested divorce, uncontested divorce, Palatine family lawyersDivorces can be contentious. The end of a marriage means separating two lives and involves many major decisions, from spousal and child support to property division. There are plenty of issues on which spouses can disagree, but when a divorcing couple can reach a compromise on as much as possible, they can save significant amounts of time and money.

Uncontested Divorce

An uncontested divorce means that the spouses reached an agreement on all the issues before beginning the divorce process, including property division, alimony, child support, child custody and parenting time. Uncontested divorces are both simpler and faster than contested divorces.

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divorce, estate plan, lawyer, attorney, family law, Palatine divorce attorneyThe divorce has been finalized; the property divided, and you and your ex-spouse have moved on to the next phase of your lives. There may be one thing you forgot though, something neither of you will remember until it is too late: updating the beneficiary designations on your retirement accounts and life insurance policies.

Most people designate their spouse as the beneficiary of retirement benefits and life insurance proceeds, and then promptly forget about it. Or they may think that the divorce automatically revoked the now ex-spouse’s right to receive these assets at death. In Illinois, this could be a costly mistake. Failure to update your beneficiary designations following a divorce, or failure to include specific waiver of these rights in the divorce decree, can result in your ex-spouse getting the assets at your death.

Automatic Revocation of Estate Plan After Illinois Divorce

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marital success, marriage trends, Illinois marriage laws, Illinois divorce lawyerMore than a quarter century ago, George Strait, an American country recording artist, released one of his most popular songs, All My Ex's Live in Texas. What may have been lyrical for Mr. Strait does not necessarily hit the high notes for the rest of U.S. divorcees.

Recently reported by The Huffington Post, Texas did not even rank in the top 10 states that may sway your marital success. The American Community Survey (ACS) ranked the following cities and their respected states as possibly hazardous to your wedded bliss:

1 Panama City, Florida
2 Sierra Vista, Arizona
3 Charleston, West Virginia
4 Medford, Oregon
5 Reno, Nevada
6 Deltona, Florida
7 Pueblo, Colorado
8 Palm Bay, Florida
9 Jacksonville, Florida
10 Grand Junction, Colorado

Texas may be off the hook, but for those couples residing in Panama City, Florida, or any of these top 10, perhaps a change in address may be a considerable option. So what about Illinois?

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domestic violence child custodyDespite implementation of tougher domestic violence laws in the past two decades, each year thousands of Illinois residents are victimized. In 2013, Illinois domestic violence programs served 44,318 adults and 8,168 children. Illinois child custody laws consider the presence of domestic violence when making an award of custody. Unfortunately, this means that some parents will make false allegations of abuse in an attempt to gain custody.

If you are in the midst of a child custody case that involves domestic violence allegations (whether you are the victim or the victim of false allegations), you need an experienced Palatine child custody attorney who understands the dynamics of domestic violence and the potential implications on your case.

Domestic Violence as Best Interest of the Child Factor

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Posted on in Divorce

file for divorce, Illinois divorce lawyer, Palatine divorce attorney, Illinois divorce, marriageWhile filing for a divorce is never easy, there are several things that you can do to make the process easier. According to Forbes magazine, you can give yourself a significant advantage in a divorce proceeding by filing first.

Being first to file for divorce has a few legal advantages in Illinois. Firstly, if you and your spouse have been separated and live in different counties, filing first allows you to have the divorce decided in the jurisdiction where you reside. Additionally, it allows you to be the first person to present your case at trial, if you should choose to do so.

Choosing to be the first to file for a divorce has several other serious advantages as well. First of all, you can assemble a file with copies of all of your important paperwork, including bank and income statements for both you and your spouse. This may prevent your spouse from attempting to hide assets later. It also allows you the time you need to prepare for the financial impact that divorce will have on your life, as well as save the funds you will need to hire your qualified divorce team.

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divorce mediation, collaborative law, Illinois divorce, family law, Filing for divorce is almost always a difficult and time-consuming process for all parties involved. When the parties cannot agree on various terms and conditions necessary to the finalization of the divorce, such as how to divide assets, child support, and child custody issues, emotions can get hot. The “traditional” divorce involves litigating the matter within the court system. The process of traditional litigation ultimately means that crucial decisions are made by a judge, and not by the individual parties. In addition, a litigated divorce is often more costly and time-consuming than one settled through other channels.

As a result of these challenges, many couples are now choosing to turn to mediation to settle the issues that accompany any divorce, including division of marital assets, benefits from pension funds, maintenance, issues regarding child support, custody, and visitation.

Divorce Mediation in Illinois

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