Author Archives: John Martoccio

 hinsdale divorce lawyerPeople often work for the better part of their adult lives so they can look forward to retiring one day. Divorce can throw a shadow over your retirement prospects - after all, an important part of the divorce process is dividing marital assets. 

Retirement accounts, including government pensions, are generally considered marital assets. Even if you started working at your job before you got married, any contributions to a pension account - from you or the government - after the marriage began will be considered marital property. Pension accounts must be valued and then divided, which can present significant challenges during the divorce process. 

How Can I Know the Real Value of My Pension? 

A pension is different from other financial instruments, such as a 401(k). A 401(k) has a set amount of money, which grows over many years as employees and employers pay into it. After retirement, a retiree could spend down the entire balance of a 401(k). In contrast, pensions are a set amount of money paid to an employee after they retire for the remainder of their lives. Valuing a pension is a difficult and somewhat grim endeavor because it is not possible to predict how long the recipient will live. 

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b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_696808930-min.jpgAs couples choose to have children later and later in life, and some couples choose not to have children at all, many spouses opt for pet ownership instead. Indeed, pets can feel as though they are a member of the family, and pet parents are often understandably worried about what will happen to their pet if they get divorced. Families with children may also be concerned about who will keep the family pet. Fortunately, Illinois updated the relevant divorce laws in 2018 to allow pets to be treated in a more nuanced way than a car or savings account. 

What Does Illinois Law Say About Pets in Divorce? 

Although pets are still technically considered property under the 2018 changes, Illinois judges may now consider the emotional and physical best interests of a pet when determining pet ownership in a divorce.  Courts now consider each spouse’s ability to take care of the pet, and whether one spouse has been the pet’s primary caregiver during the marriage. 

If both spouses want to share custody of the pet, a judge can order joint “pet custody.” But couples are encouraged to come to an optimal resolution themselves so they can agree about who will provide certain things for the pet and who will have the pet during specific times. Couples should also consider an arrangement that causes the pet the least amount of disruption, as judges can also take this into account.

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hinsdale divorce lawyerSmall businesses owners in Illinois face enormous challenges when trying to make their business successful. Many years and countless hours spent finding clients, fixing problems, and doing paperwork are no guarantee of achieving wealth or ease. The prospect of divorce can threaten everything an entrepreneur has created, including his or her long-term financial stability. 

The process of valuing and dividing a business in divorce also poses unique challenges. Determining which valuation method to use, how to split the business or buy out a spouse, and what to do with a business after these changes occur often require help from a skilled Illinois divorce attorney. 

How Will Divorce Affect My Business? 

Small businesses must be addressed during the marital asset division process in a divorce. This begins by determining whether a business is marital property and is therefore subject to division. If the business began after the marriage began, then assume the business is marital property. If the business existed before the marriage and was not protected by something like a prenuptial agreement, then any income, growth, and assets acquired by the business during the marriage could also be viewed as marital property. This is especially true if the business owner’s spouse was involved in working for the business or otherwise influencing its growth. 

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dupage county divorce lawyerCouples in Illinois often still live together when one spouse files for divorce. Many reasons, including the financial impact of maintaining two households, compel them to continue living together while the divorce process is underway. However, divorces can be conflict-ridden, and living together may prove impossible. 

Spouses who find themselves in this situation but dislike the idea of leaving their children or fear the repercussions of leaving the home may wonder what to do. Can one spouse force the other to leave the home? Will leaving the home impact a court’s future decisions about parenting time or asset division? Understanding how Illinois law addresses these situations is important for making decisions about your future. 

Can My Spouse Force Me To Leave Our Home During Divorce? 

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act does allow for one spouse to ask the Court to require the other spouse to leave the marital home. This allows the remaining spouse to have what is known as “exclusive possession of the marital residence.” Such a requirement is only temporary while the divorce is ongoing. It does not mean that the spouse who is required to leave may never live in the house again or that they will not be awarded the house during the asset division process. 

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IL family lawyerOriginally instituted as a method by which gay and lesbian couples could get married in Illinois without federal approval, civil unions are now used by a wide variety of people for many reasons. Some couples are simply disinterested in the large ceremonies and expensive receptions that often accompany weddings, and some couples want to solidify their commitment to each other without affecting their federal tax filing status.

Although nobody enters into a civil union expecting that one day the relationship will fall apart, unfortunately, this does happen. Because civil unions are less common than marriages, partners may be left with many questions about how civil relationships come to an end and whether common aspects of divorce - child support, spousal maintenance, child custody issues - apply to them.

How Are Civil Unions Dissolved?

Dissolving a civil union in Illinois is almost the same as ending a marriage. One partner must file a Petition for Dissolution of a Civil Union, the other partner will be served the petition, and then together the partners begin the process of negotiating things like asset division and parental responsibilities.

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