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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 divorce pet custody attorneyEvery spouse has possessions they value more than others, and if divorce happens, these seemingly small differences will often take on a new significance when negotiating or litigating a property settlement. With most possessions, a level of detachment remains, even if a spouse does have an affinity for it in divorce. The same cannot be said for pets in most households, and many owners view pets as members of the family. Fortunately, Illinois is one of just a few states that has a law addressing the issue of pets in a divorce.

One woman wanted to prevent another occurrence of a sad situation she experienced at the end of her first marriage when her husband used her attachment to the family dog to get her to make concessions during divorce. When she decided to marry for a second time, she included the issue of pets in a prenuptial agreement so there would no question or fight about it if the marriage ended. Resolving this issue is a large concern for many divorcing couples, so it is important to understand how the law applies to these situations.

Illinois Pet Statute

Most animals that live in a household are there for companionship, and recognizing this distinction, the Illinois statute regarding pets and divorce only applies to pets that are considered companion animals and not those classified as service animals. Further, the animal must be a marital asset, meaning it belongs to both spouses. Assuming these prerequisites are satisfied, a court is empowered to award the pet solely to one spouse, or jointly to both, and is directed to take the well-being of the animal into consideration when making this decision. Thus, the analysis should include some consideration of where the pet would better adjust and thrive under the new circumstances.

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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

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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

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Palatine divorce attorney, valuing assets, high net-worth divorceA complex divorce tends to center around conflict and is related to two key issues — parenting responsibilities and property division. Both parties have a lot at stake and are invested in each matter. Hence, each party has much to lose if the outcome is not in his or her favor.

Specifically, with regard to property division, the number and type of property that is potentially subject to division can require a complicated analysis to determine if the property qualifies as marital and what the likely value is for that property. While one spouse may think he or she has a complete picture of all the property owned by the other party, analyzing and verifying the information listed in the mandatory financial affidavit must serve as the starting point for division.

The issue of property valuation is particularly important in divorces where considerable wealth has accumulated during the marriage. Securing proper valuations of all marital assets is crucial to ensuring that the division of property is fair and will provide the income/financial resources as intended.

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Posted on in Divorce

Palatine divorce attorney, mental health issuesDivorce is an emotional process that can sometimes bring out negative aspects of a person's personality. However, these behaviors are momentary lapses. When one spouse has a mental health issue, what is already a difficult process becomes exponentially more complicated.

Marriage to someone with mental health issues that manifest as erratic behavior, severe mood shifts and the potential to harm him/herself or others can quickly become overwhelming.

A study conducted in 2011 looked at the impact of mental health disorders on the rate of marriage and divorce found that these issues increased the likelihood of divorce from 20 to 80 percent, varying by the type and degree of disorder present. Mental health issues often result in high conflict relationships that are hard to endure long-term. If a couple shares children, the implications of mental health disorders on a spouse's ability to parent effectively and safely become a major concern that Courts do carefully consider.

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Palatine divorce attorney, temporary supportRegardless of whether the decision to divorce is mutual, at least one spouse will typically deal with substantial financial fallout. While some couples make enough money individually to weather the repercussions of divorce with minimal adjustment, in many households one spouse makes substantially more than the other. This disparity means that the lesser-earning spouse is forced to scramble for alternative ways to obtain money.

Borrowing from family and friends or selling possessions are methods commonly used to make up the shortfall. While this situation is hardly sustainable in the long-term, the situation should still be addressed in the short-term to prevent irreparable financial loss. Illinois allows parties with pending divorces to request temporary support until the dissolution is finalized and property division and spousal/child support is established on a more permanent basis.

Ex-U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. and his wife, former Ald. Sandi Jackson, are currently facing this situation. Sandi Jackson alleges Jackson Jr. is not contributing to household expenses while their divorce is pending, leaving her to ask friends for money and selling belongings to make ends meet. Given how contentious the issue of support is in divorce, understanding when support may be temporarily awarded is important.

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Palatine divorce attorney, legal separationWhen systemic problems appear in marriages that threaten their long-term survival, couples will typically try a number of palliative measures to fix these unhealthy issues. Divorce is not an option most go to easily or quickly but often sits as a possible remedy in the background.

Commonly, couples will look to the least disruptive method of resolving unhealthy issues before escalating to alternatives that may affect other family members, especially children. One option that is short of divorce, but allows struggling couples to obtain a formal arrangement to govern certain legalities as they live apart, is legal separation. This legal route differs from divorce because the marriage is not dissolved, but stills permits a Judge to impose legal obligations and property arrangements similar to those decided in divorce cases.

Legal separation requires the filing of a petition with the Family Court, so securing the services of an experienced family law attorney is the best way to ensure the procedure goes smoothly and results in the optimal outcome.

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formal divorce, Palatine divorce attorneyWhen couples decide to divorce, the belief that there is only one divorce form available is natural — especially considering the depictions of divorce on television. The typical TV version of divorce involves a long, drawn-out process that culminates in a trial where both parties verbally attack each other in Court. Certainly, this kind of divorce is possible, such as in the case of a divorcing couple who recently fought over Cubs World Series tickets. However, another way exists.

Traditional divorce cases are referred to as formal dissolution in Illinois. An easier, faster and less expensive way to end a marriage is called joint simplified dissolution. This option is not open to everyone because a number of requirements must be met to qualify. Yet for those who can use this type, joint simplified dissolution offers a streamlined route to divorce that could be important for parties who want a quick resolution to their case.

Formal Dissolution

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Palatine divorce attorney, parent decision making,No parent wants to tell his or her child the news of an impending divorce, especially if the child is young. There is no adequate way to explain why a divorce is happening, or to fully help the child understand what divorce actually means. In the best situations, parents try to make the process as stress-free as possible by making an effort to work together and actively attempt to minimize conflict.

Completely eliminating the disruption of the child's life is not realistic; however, taking steps to keep the child in the loop about changes in daily life, if age appropriate, will go a long way to mitigating some of the negative impacts of this decision. Deciding which parent will handle the bulk of the childcare responsibilities and who will make the major decisions related to the child's welfare, are key aspects of any divorce case. Typically, these obligations are shared by the parents. Still, situations exist that justify giving one parent full rights over a child.

Generally, people lump all child-related family law decisions under child custody, but Illinois no longer uses this phrase. Instead, the law divides these issues into two aspects of parental responsibilities: parenting time and decision-making authority. Much of the focus around the responsibilities of parents is on parenting time, which is certainly important. However, which parent has decision-making authority for the child is equally important.

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Palatine divorce attorney, file for divorceFor better or worse, divorce is an event and concept that is firmly rooted in modern life. Yet while divorce is not a recent invention, divorce does not hold the stigma of previous generations.

A recent article looked at the history of divorce in America and noted that Americans have looked to this legal remedy to end untenable marriages as early as the American Revolution. In fact, Americans connected the right to dissolve union with England with the analogous right to end unions as couples. However, divorce is never an easy decision, now or 200 years ago.

Struggling couples may spend tremendous amounts of time and effort trying to save their relationships, but sometimes remaining together is not a viable option. Once the decision to divorce is made, the practical consequences of untangling two lives come into focus. Who will keep the family car? Should the house be sold? Where will everyone live? These are all questions that must be answered in a relatively short period of time, perhaps even before filing for divorce. At some point, though, addressing the mechanics of asking a Court to end a marriage is necessary, and consequently, understanding what the law requires from a party seeking a divorce is important to the process.

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Palatine divorce attorney, marital propertyDivorce is a word with big meaning but even greater implications. At its most basic, divorce means the end of a marriage and the accompanying legal rights and obligations carried by married couples. However, when a couple initiates a divorce, they also unlock a series of legal issues that must be addressed before their divorce can be finalized.

Among these issues is the division of marital property — a considerable point of contention, given the importance of financial resources and contributions each spouse made to the marriage. Amassing assets requires hard work, time and sacrifice. Consequently, when divorce threatens to dismantle this hard-won structure, parties tend to push back against giving more than is absolutely necessary.

As a reflection of being a no-fault divorce state, Illinois divides property according to what is equitable or just. Only marital property is subject to distribution. Therefore, determining what exactly is marital property in a divorce case is a key issue.

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Palatine divorce attorney, educational support orders, college expensesAs children grow, their financial needs tend to increase. College tuition is no exception. In today’s world, student loan debts are staggering for new graduates, and many families struggle to financially help their children to go to college. When parents are divorced, the situation can be even trickier, especially when parents do not see eye to eye on the subject.

However, recent revisions to Illinois law have clarified the guidelines for educational support orders, allowing parents to better understand their future potential obligations.

Limits on Payment of College Expenses

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Palatine divorce attorney, foreign spouseWhile many foreign nationals marry U.S. citizens or permanent resident aliens solely for love, some see this type of marriage as a way to bypass the typically lengthy immigration laws and enter the U.S. quickly. In fact, some immigration officials estimate that fraudulent marriages may occur in anywhere from 5 to 15 percent of these types of marriages. While immigration authorities may never discover some fraudulent marriages, those that they do discover can result in serious consequences for the parties involved.

Obtaining a Temporary Green Card Through Marriage

In order to marry a foreign national, a U.S. citizen (or a permanent resident alien) must file an immigration application to sponsor a foreign spouse and grant him or her legal status to remain in the U.S. For a marriage that is less than two years old, immigration officials will grant the foreign spouse conditional permanent residence, or a temporary green card, which permits him or her to live in the U.S. on a temporary basis.

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Illinois spousal maintenance, Palatine divorce attorneysWhen a judge issues a spousal maintenance or spousal support order, one spouse must pay a certain amount of money on a regular basis to the other spouse. You only receive maintenance if the judge decides that you need it and your spouse has the ability to pay it. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) contains uniform guidelines for spousal maintenance orders in Illinois divorce proceedings. The goal of the guidelines is to make spousal maintenance awards in divorce more consistent and to let you know what to expect if you get spousal maintenance in your Illinois divorce.

Application of the Spousal Maintenance Guidelines

The spousal maintenance guidelines apply only when the judge already decided that maintenance is appropriate. To determine whether spousal maintenance is appropriate in your case, the judge must consider several factors, including the following for both parties:

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Posted on in Child Support

enforcing child support, Illinois divorce lawyersEvery child in Illinois has the legal right to receive financial support from both parents. This responsibility does not end simply because parents divorce or separate. The payment of child support can be extremely important for a child's or parent's financial stability, but sometimes, the payor parent fails to make payments. In Illinois, the custodial parent has several enforcement options.

Garnishing Wages

If a parent wants to enforce a child support order without going to court, he or she may send a Notice to Withhold Income for Support both to the parent and to the parent’s employer. The parent’s wages will be garnished, and the child support will be paid directly out of the parent’s paycheck. Sometimes, however, the parents have previously agreed not to pursue income withholding, and this option is not available. Fortunately, several other enforcement methods are possible in Illinois.

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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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Posted on in Divorce

no-fault divorce in Illinois, Palatine Divorce AttorneyIn addition to allowing for fault-based divorce, the state of Illinois allows no-fault divorce, based on a couple’s “irreconcilable differences.” A no-fault divorce may be pursued if neither spouse was at fault — there was no cruelty, infidelity, bigamy, abandonment, drug or alcohol abuse, etc.

If you simply do not want to air your dirty laundry in Court, or do not want to go through the stress of a trial and having to prove fault, then a no-fault divorce may be your best option.

Requirements

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Palatine divorce process, Palatine Divorce LawyerYour divorce decree is signed; however, the signature does not mean your work is finished. The signed order may end the marriage, but your responsibility is to tie up the loose ends.

Change Your Name

While your divorce decree may have included a provision allowing you to use a former name, there are steps you must take in order to legally change your name. To begin, you will first need to officially change your name with the Social Security Administration. A new Social Security card under your new name will be issued. Only then can you obtain a new driver’s license or state identification card and begin changing your name elsewhere.

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blame for divorce, social media and divorce, Palatine Divorce AttorneyIssues such as adultery, drug use or alcoholism may lead to a couple's divorce. However, a recent study has exposed one more cause — Facebook. According to the study, Facebook, which allows users to “friend” long-lost friends and ex-love interests, is the root cause of one out of every seven divorces.

Facebook and Divorce

One's casual “friend request” to a long-lost love could reignite an old flame. Another's connection with a stranger in a Facebook group might lead a spouse to abandon his or her marriage for a new “love.” Still, such scenarios do not mean that all married couples must give up Facebook or other social media sites entirely. Nor does it mean that you will leave your spouse just because your are in touch with an ex. However, if you are investing too much time on Facebook and not enough in your marriage, the following signs may suggest trouble.

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