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dissipation of a marital estate, Palatine Divorce AttorneySomeone contemplating divorce is likely to hear this piece of advice from friends and family: “Before you file, make sure you start putting money away in a separate account for yourself. You do not want to be left with nothing.”

Although well-meaning, this is actually bad advice. Illinois prohibits intentional dissipation of a marital estate, and doing so could result in you receiving less when the marital estate is divided.

Use of Marital Funds during Palatine Divorce

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Illinois child custody cases, Palatine Child Custody AttorneyQuestions regarding jurisdiction in Palatine child custody cases are common. Based on the specific circumstances of each case, the answers to these questions can differ from person to person. However, several general questions have similar answers.

What is jurisdiction?

Jurisdiction gives a Court the authority to decide a case. In Illinois, a Court has jurisdiction to decide a child custody case if Illinois is the child's home state. Therefore, a child must live in Illinois for a six-month period immediately preceding the filing of a petition.

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Posted on in Child Custody

fertility treatment, Palatine Family Law Attorney, frozen embryosA well-known actress is currently at odds with her ex-fiancé regarding frozen embryos the couple created before parting ways. The ex-fiancé wants to implant the embryos in a surrogate. However, the actress, who is currently engaged, wants them frozen indefinitely.

If a petition is granted, what rights and responsibilities would the actress have regarding child custody and child support?

Illinois Law Regarding Embryos

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Palatine child custody cases, Palatine Child Custody AttorneyA Florida mother recently filed suit in Federal Court to prevent her ex-husband from having their four-year-old son circumcised. However, a lower Court has ordered the woman to turn the boy over for surgery — she had previously agreed to allow the circumcision in a child custody agreement.

Illinois Joint Legal Custody

The default under Illinois law is to grant a child’s parents joint legal custody — an arrangement that can be granted even if one parent has primary physical custody. Joint legal custody means both parents have a right to make decisions regarding all aspects of a child’s life, including religious upbringing, education and medical care. Parents who share legal custody are therefore required to talk and come to an agreement on all issues, just as they would if they were still married.

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platonic parenting, Palatine Divorce AttorneyCouples may commonly stay together for the “sake of the kids” rather than get a divorce. In fact, some couples are now choosing to emotionally and financially server a relationship but continue to live together. This type or parenting — platonic parenting — tries to combine what is best for a couple and their children.

Married While Separated

A couple, recognizing that their marital relationship is unsustainable, decide to end their relationship. However, in the interests of the children to be raised by both parents in the same household, the parents continue to live together in the family home. The marital relationship continues in a legal sense, but from an emotional (and often financial) standpoint, the relationship ends. There is no divorce proceeding, no arguing over child custody, and no dealing with child support payments. As far as the children are concerned, life continues as normal.

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moving out of Illinois following divorce, Palatine Divorce Lawyer

Order for Removal of Child in Illinois

After your divorce is final, you may find yourself wanting to move out of state. Perhaps you want to be closer to your family, or you have found a new job that will advance your career. Or, you may have remarried and your new spouse needs to relocate for work. The only problem is, you and your ex-spouse have a child custody agreement.

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equitable adoption, Palatine Adoption AttorneyIn an opinion issued in March of this year, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that the theory of equitable adoption does not apply in child custody cases, thus negating a man’s attempt to obtain custody and visitation with the child he helped raise.

Equitable Adoption in Illinois

Equitable adoption is an adoption made valid not by a Court order, but by the actions or promise of one or more parents to either adopt a child or treat a child as his or her natural, biological child.

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property division, Palatine divorce, commingling assetsGetting divorced means negotiating an equitable division of marital assets. Marital assets are any assets a couple acquired together during a marriage; everything else — assets either spouse came in to the marriage with, or assets received during the marriage by gift or inheritance — is separate. However, separate property can become a marital asset and is thus subject to division if the property is commingled with marital assets.

The following scenarios explore the concept of commingling and identify the types of situations in which separate property can become marital property.

Scenario 1: Pete and Rose have been married for 10 years. When married, the couple moved into Pete’s home, which he had purchased eight years prior to the marriage. Pete never put Rose’s name on the home’s title, however, nor was her name ever placed on the mortgage. The couple did open a joint checking account that they both contributed to, and the mortgage was paid from the joint account. If they divorce, will the home be considered separate or marital property?

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hidden assets, Palatine Division of Marital Assets LawyerLocating Hidden Assets in a Palatine Divorce

Illinois law requires that parties in a divorce disclose all financial information to the other spouse in order to facilitate the division of assets. Most of the time this information exchange is done in the spirit of the law, since both parties have full knowledge of both the marital asset and their spouse’s non-marital assets.

However, in certain cases, one spouse purposely hides assets from his or her spouse. This may be done in anticipation of divorce, or a spouse may have secretly stashed money away throughout the marriage in the event of a divorce.

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failure to pay child support, Palatine child support attorneyThe divorce is finalized and child support, and custody orders are in place. Your ex has always been sporadic about making child support payments — some are on time, others are late. Yet the late payments are double what is required in order to make up for the missing payments. However, months have passed since you have received a check, and your ex will not return your calls.

What can be done to enforce payment, and what are the potential ramifications for your ex-spouse?

Illinois Child Support Enforcement

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cohabitation and alimony payments, Palatine Spousal Support AttorneyAwarding alimony to stay-at-home parents that terminates when their youngest child turns 18, or when they remarry — whichever comes first — is not an uncommon action by the Court. Not wanting to lose alimony payments, however, some decide to never marry again and intend on receiving the alimony payments for the duration of their entire lives.

But what if a spouse who receives alimony moves in and establishes a relationship with a new partner that is akin to marriage, minus the official papers? Can alimony be terminated?

Modification of Palatine Alimony Award Based on Cohabitation

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million dollar child support, Illinois divorce attorneyThe newest twist in the divorce of a Chicago hedge fund owner and his wife is her alleged request for $1 million a month in child support for their three children. To all but the most wealthy families (and even to most of them) $1 million per month seems excessive. But it raises the question, if child support is based on statutory guidelines, how can one parent request a certain amount of support, and what would it take for the Court to award it?

Children of Divorce Entitled to Same Lifestyle

Child support is based on a statutory formula that takes into consideration the net income of the obligor (the parent paying support) and the number of children to be supported. Once the Court determines the obligor’s net income, he/she must pay a percentage of his/her monthly net income based on the number of children he/she has. For example, an obligor with three children must pay 32 percent of the monthly net income.

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online document prep, divorce attorney, Palatine divorce attorneyThere are a variety of online companies that offer document preparation and do-it-yourself forms for couples going through a divorce or needing assistance with child custody issues. These sites promise to save users significant amounts of money in attorney fees and to resolve their issues amicably and without protracted litigation. However, document preparation sites are a poor substitute for the advice of a qualified, experienced legal professional.

Listed below are suggestions to consider before deciding to handle any family law issue on your own.

Individualized service. Every divorce is different. However, document preparation sites approach divorces the same way. These sites offer a simplified approach—users check a box to select and draft legal documents. Yet many people do not understand all of the issues that must settled in a divorce. Additionally, if users neglect to check an appropriate box, the proper forms will not be suggested, and they may find themselves in Court months or years later to resolve an issue they never knew they had.

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business valuation, Palatine divorce attorneyMany couples, especially those with a high-net worth, own a business that is not only their largest asset, but their sole source of income. When these couples divorce, difficult issues arise such as how to value the business, whether it should be sold or divided and, if divided, which spouse should receives the business and how should the other spouse be paid for his share.

Illinois Business Valuation

In order determine the division of assets in a divorce, the assets must first be assigned a value. However, determining the value of a business is not as easy. For an investment account, you simply look at the balance on any given day, or for a vehicle, you can look up the Kelley Blue Book value.

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child-related expenses, Palatine child support attorneyIf you have children, getting divorced means you are never truly free of your ex. The child custody and child support agreements mean you will, at minimum, be dealing with your ex when it comes to exchanging the children for visitation and dealing with support payments.

Yet while those child support payments are determined by a statutory formula based on the parents’ income, deductions and the child custody schedule itself, there are several other child-related expenses that an agreement does not always cover. Hence, this means a lot of unnecessary friction that can often land parents back in court.

Payment of Child-Related Costs: There is an App for That

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gay and lesbian parents, Palatine adoption attorneySame-sex marriage has been legal in Illinois since June 2014. Hence, gay and lesbian couples who choose to raise a family together now have an easier road to parenthood — whether through adoption or conception of children following marriage.

Same-Sex Stepparent Adoption in Illinois

Since passage of the new law, Illinois same-sex couples who have children following their marriage, whether biological or adopted, may place each partner’s name on a birth certificate. This is a change from prior law, when only a biological parent’s name was permitted to be listed.

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marital home, Palatine divorce attorneyIf you have been following the divorce saga of Illinois’ richest man, hedge-fund billionaire Ken Griffin, you may have read that his wife recently filed Court documents alleging that Griffin plans to end her exclusive occupancy of the couple’s marital home and will no longer pay upkeep costs.

While many of us cannot relate to the lives of the very wealthy, the case raises a question that comes up almost every time when meeting with a client for the first time — who gets to live in the marital home during the divorce?

Temporary Relief for Possession of Marital Home

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divorce and social media, Palatine family law attorneyFacebook. Twitter. Instagram. If you have access to a computer or smartphone, you most likely have an account on at least one social media site. They are a great way to connect with far-flung family and friends, post photos and updates about what is going on in your life, and even vent now and again. However, if you are involved in a divorce or child custody case, what you post on social media could negatively impact the outcome of those cases.

Many people believe that what they post on social media is a private interaction between them and 350 of their closest friends. And while there are privacy settings users can put in place to restrict non-friends or followers to see their photos or read their updates, many people’s pages do not employ these privacy settings. In fact, 80 percent of attorneys report combing through social media sites for evidence that can be used against the opposing party. Hence, even if your accounts are set to private, family, friends or even members of private online groups may be sharing information with your significant other.

Stories often surface of friends sharing the details of a husband’s life with his soon-to-be ex-wife. Members of online parenting groups may even share the information a mom posts with her soon to be ex-husband. Therefore, be smart about what you post.

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enforce property claims, Palatine division of assets attorneyTaboos regarding cohabitation are quickly becoming passe as many of today’s couples are opting to live together before – and sometimes in lieu of – marriage. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, unmarried couples comprised 45 percent of all U.S. households in 2010. But until recently, unmarried Illinois couples who ended a relationship had no rights to enforce property claims against an ex-partner, or otherwise divide assets, due to their unmarried status.

Blumenthal v. Brewer: Allowing Property Claims against Unmarried Ex-Partner

In Blumenthal v. Brewer, the Chicago couple had been in a committed relationship for 26 years. They lived together, commingled assets, and raised three children. In all ways, they acted as a married couple. Yet they were unmarried due to same-sex marriage being illegal in Illinois. Brewer, an attorney, had stayed home for several years to raise the children. Her partner, however, built a lucrative medical practice. At the end of the relationship, Blumenthal’s net worth was $500,000 more than Brewer’s.

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division of assets, Palatine divorce attorneyMy spouse and I have been married 15 years. I want to get a divorce, but I have been a stay-at-home mom for the past 10 years. I have no money, and everything is in my spouse's name. I do not know how I will be able to start over from scratch.

Questions similar to the one above are often posted to social media and divorce-related websites, and understandably, those in these situations are concerned. When it comes to divorce, there is a difference between marital and separate property, and separate property is not involved in the division of property. But simply because one spouse's name is not on a title does not make it separate property.

Property Division in Illinois Divorce

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