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Inverness family law attorney, parenting responsibilities, parental rights, child custody and religion, parental responsibilitiesFew topics arouse more tension and conflict than religion. Religious beliefs have fomented wars, destroyed countries and displaced countless people across the globe since ancient times. Religion is just one of many child rearing issues divorced parents must handle as part of sharing parenting responsibilities.

Due to the animosity, anger and resentment disagreements that religion tends to produce, Illinois family law provisions specifically address how to divide this responsibility in the hopes of reducing or preventing conflict when this subject arises. Conflict over religion is primarily generated when interfaith couples divorce and fail to clearly articulate and decide each parent’s expectations for the child’s religious upbringing. Regardless of the source, disagreements over religion and raising a child needs resolution, and Courts will establish guidelines if necessary.

Religion is especially a point of contention if one or both parents follow highly regulated belief systems, common among Judaism and Islam, that make compromise extremely difficult. Consider how Illinois Courts view religion in the context of divorce, and ways in which this responsibility may be divided.

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Inverness family law attorney, dividing cryptocurrencies, property division, marital property, non-marital propertyLooking for points of disagreement in a divorce is not particularly hard to do. Couples facing the end of a marriage often find the avoidance of giving in to volatile emotions that are easily triggered difficult. One area that is especially prone to the dispute is the division of marital assets. The more complex and valuable the property at stake is, the more invested each spouse is in getting the share he or she thinks is appropriate.

Property division is even more important now that federal tax law eliminates deductions for maintenance payments (spousal support), thus giving the higher-earning spouse much less incentive to agree to pay maintenance as part of a divorce settlement or pre-/post- marital agreement. This means the lower earning spouse will have to hope a large property settlement comes his or her way.

One additional asset that is becoming more of an issue among high net-worth couples is cryptocurrency. This digital currency is known for wild swings in value, but is gaining ever-growing traction among mainstream financial institutions and the federal and State governments. In fact, Illinois is considering allowing residents to pay their taxes with bitcoin. This lack of stability, as well as the ease of concealing its existence, can present challenges when evaluating how to address cryptocurrencies in a divorce.

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Inverness family law attorney, substance abuse, child custody issues, alcoholism, alcohol abuseCouples decide to divorce for a variety of reasons, though finances and the stresses of parenthood are often at the top of the list. However, one factor that greatly increases the likelihood a marriage will end is alcohol or other forms of substance abuse.

Forming and maintaining intimate relationships with spouses and children when judgment is routinely impaired, and priorities are more often focused on finding the next drink, is almost impossible. This behavior can leave other family members feeling unsupported and neglected. Moreover, these issues can be of particular importance if the addicted spouse is entitled to ask for parenting time in a divorce.

The safety and security of minor children is a general societal concern, and both the Courts and state agencies have a vested interest in protecting children from possible harm due to a parent’s alcoholic tendencies. One woman, who was recently arrested in the Chicago area for drunk driving and dubbed “one of the worst DUI offenders in the U.S.,” lost custody of her 11 children due to past behavior and the number of convictions and outstanding warrants on her record. Alcoholism can cause a huge disruption in a person’s life, and this does not end when a divorce case is filed.

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Inverness family law attorney, property division, divorce and retirement benefits, equitable division, retirement incomeOne event that has reverberating and long-term effects on an individual’s ability to implement and maintain a viable plan for retirement is divorce. Divorce is one of the single most financially damaging events a person may experience. In order to mitigate the negative consequences, one needs to understand how retirement benefits fit within the division of property generally and the specific rules that govern how Courts may treat these benefits. Dividing retirement benefits is frequently much more complicated than other assets because of the numerous laws and regulations that control when and how they may be transferred and accessed.

Property Division Generally

Illinois, like many other states, follows a standard for dividing property in divorce called equitable division. This standard requires all marital property to be distributed according to what is most fair under the circumstances. Hence, not all divorces will result in an equal split of assets and liabilities.

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Posted on in Divorce

Inverness family law attorney, divorce settlement, family law litigation, divorce negotiation, collaborative divorceInitiating the divorce process, once the decision to end a marriage has been made, can quickly overwhelm many people. Divorce is unavoidably emotional, and adding in the often-mysterious legal process to achieve an uncomfortable end can be daunting. The traditional image of a bitter and protracted trial to resolve disputed issues does not help alleviate this natural trepidation. Negotiating a private settlement is more naturally associated with divorces that have no or few issues to resolve. However, this much less contentious method of working through disagreements is also available for couples with complex matters to sort out, and may offer a better alternative in the long-run, compared with the restraints of letting a judge decide the outcome.

Former power couple Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin, who are likely to have a number of high-conflict issues, recently decided to take their divorce into private negotiations to avoid the spotlight of a public trial that serves as an example of the benefits of this process in hotly contested divorces. Consider the following information on how the negotiation process works, and important advantages this alternative has over litigation.

What Negotiation Looks Like

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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